As the Holy Month of Ramadan ends, iStock, a leading global source of visual content, can reveal more UK businesses are searching for content for advertising campaigns in support of “Ramadan” and “Eid.” Year on year iStock customers increased searches by 20% for visuals of “Ramadan” and an increase of over 80% for searches of the traditional Arabic greeting “Eid Mubarak”.
UK businesses are also increasing their searches for visual content that represents the UK Muslim community as a whole. From 2019 to 2020 iStock saw an increase in searches for visuals depicting “Muslim” (up by 83%), “Muslim Family” (up by 77%), “Muslim Man (up by 224%) and “Mosque” (up by 31%).
Jacqueline Bourke, Director, Creative Insights, EMEA, at iStock said, “It is reassuring to see an increase in UK businesses using Ramadan as a time to celebrate their Muslim customers and tailoring their campaigns to visualise this community. We know that increasing representation can have a tremendous impact on fighting stereotypes, celebrating diversity, and making communities feel empowered and represented in society. However, this can be viewed as tokenistic and temporary in the eyes of those being reflected. Our consumer data shows that 4 in 5 consumers expect brands to be consistently committed to diversity and inclusion, so a seasonal approach is insufficient.”
This shift towards placing more importance on diversity and inclusion is also reflected in what consumers are now expecting from brands’ visual content. According to data from iStock’s recent research endeavor Visual GPS, 80 percent of people globally have said it isn’t enough to have people of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and appearances in advertising but that they expect companies to do a better job at capturing people’s true lifestyles and cultures. In the UK, two-thirds (62%) of consumers say it’s important to them that the companies they buy from celebrate diversity of all kinds.
For UK businesses seeking to authentically depict underrepresented communities in their visual content, Jacqueline Bourke, Director, Creative Insights, EMEA, at iStock shared some key tips they should keep in mind when selecting inclusive visuals:
Avoid tokenism: If your brand tells a consistent and committed story, it is more likely that your potential customers will engage. To do so, it is crucial not to be tokenistic in your approach but ensure you represent different communities throughout the year, not only at times of key religious or cultural events and not only in communications speaking specifically to those communities.
Be inspired by real life: To create truly authentic and inclusive imagery, visuals must represent the lived experience of your customers. Listening to your customers and understanding their needs, is the best inspiration when it comes to creating visual content that is accurate and genuine in its representation. Show multidimensional lifestyles in the home, at school and work. Be intentional and show Muslims as bold leaders heading business meetings, adventurous explorers, and community members socialising with loved ones.
Consider these seven community characteristics: To create truly inclusive advertising, there are seven key communities we’ve outlined which should be considered. These are Race & Ethnicity, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Bodies, Ability, Age and Religion. Keeping these seven communities and intersecting factors in mind when building your campaigns will ensure that no customer segment feels excluded.
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