The continuous growth of influencer and brand partnerships creates an increasing need for diversity in influencer marketing. Many brands, recently and in the past, were called out due to a lack of inclusivity in their choice of influencer brand endorsers. Hence, the call for diversity in influencer marketing became loud as ever.

While a number of brands were receiving pushbacks for being exclusive on their influencer choices and programs, some stood out with their outstanding inclusive marketing campaigns. This post shares why and how brands can incorporate diversity in influencer marketing strategies.

Why Brands Should Embrace Diversity in Influencer Marketing

Diversity in influencer marketing strategies is an important factor for brands to build connections with influencers and potential consumers. One reason why influencer marketing becomes an effective advertising tool is relatability. An influencer marketing statistic for 2019 shows that 49 percent of audiences are not in favor of brand-created ads and find them irrelevant. Influencers become successful brand endorsers because viewers can relate to them. Thus, if influencer brand campaigns show more diversity, followers will feel more associated with the brand and more likely try the products that influencers recommend. 

The 2019 influencer marketing statistic also reveals that 82 percent of audiences are likely to consider the following recommendations made by influencers. Hence, brands should take into consideration the buying power of minority groups. According to one Nielsen report, African Americans constitute 14 percent of the U.S. population with their spending power expected to reach $1.54 trillion. In addition, the LGBTQ+ community has a huge purchasing power of an estimated $3.7 trillion, globally and should also not be overlooked. Therefore, taking into account of different groups of people and incorporating diversity in influencer marketing strategies can help brands generate an increase in ROI.

6 Brands Integrating Diversity in Influencer Marketing Strategies

To succeed with diverse marketing tactics, brands must understand that inclusivity is not limited to race and color. Thus, diversity in influencer marketing plans should highlight people of all races, cultural backgrounds, social classes, ages, genders, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and more. Let’s take a look into 6 brands that successfully showcased diversity in their influencer marketing campaigns.

1) Sephora

Cultivating long-term relationships with influencers provides brands a number of benefits, including higher audience engagement and high-quality content. The French beauty brand, Sephora, aims to build long-term relationships by embracing diversity in influencer marketing campaigns. To achieve the brand’s objective, Sephora announced a search for #SephoraSquad as part of their new influencer program. To be more inclusive with the brand’s choice of ambassadors, Sephora welcomed all influencers, regardless of their followings, who wished to apply for the 24 available spots. Furthermore, the brand showed more diversity by involving influencer audiences to vouch for the influencers they follow. As a result, the brand accumulated 15,000 applications and 240,000 testimonials from audiences.

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Sephora picked influencers who represented a diverse range of ethnicities, ages, gender, nationality, and sexual orientation and who were authentic in their storytelling. Among the chosen brand ambassadors are Non-binary YouTuber Kevin Ninh; Kali Kushner, a social media star who communicates about acne positivity; and Aisha Mohamud, a hijab-wearing beauty influencer.

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With #SephoraSquad influencer program, Sephora aimed to choose a diverse group of influencers that consumers can identify with. The brand can better understand consumers’ perception of beauty and solve beauty-related issues because the brand influencers represent the brand’s customers. Deborah Yeh, Sephora’s CMO said, “The more inclusive we are, the more we can represent the excitement and diversity that we see in beauty.”

2) E.L.F. Cosmetics

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Cosmetic brand, E.L.F. Cosmetics, successfully welcomed diversity in the brand’s choice of influencers to represent the brand. For instance, the brand partnered with Bangladeshi-American Muslim YouTuber Nabela Noor who is an advocate of inclusivity and body acceptance. Last October, the cosmetic brand, Noor, came up with a makeup collection that celebrates Noor’s heritage. Additionally, the products created were available in a universal shade perfect for all skin tones.  By partnering with a social media influencer who actively supported inclusivity in body, skin, and cultural differences, E.L.F. Cosmetics sent a message of positivity and self-love among brand consumers. 

3) Aerie

Incorporating diversity in influencer marketing advertisements is not new for the undergarment brand Aerie. The brand started being inclusive of chosen brand influencers in 2014 with the release of the first #AerieReal campaign, featuring non-professional women models of all sizes on their unedited photos wearing Aerie underwear. As a result, Aerie stood out in being inclusive as they empowered all women to have confidence in their bodies, regardless of shape and size. 

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#AerieReal campaigns in the succeeding years showed more inclusivity. For example, in 2018 Aerie sought to show more diversity by representing people with disabilities and physical or mental illnesses. The #AerieReal campaign featured women with vitiligo, chronic illness, diabetes, surgery scars, Ostomy, and arm crutches. Thus, Aerie became more relatable to consumers who were experiencing physical and mental illnesses.

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For this year’s #AerieReal campaign, the brand chose the most diverse group of influencers with different racial background, color, body type, sexual orientation, and age. Among the 2019 #AerieReal role models are blind YouTuber and motivational speaker Molly Burke; supporter of LGBTQ community and actress Samira Wiley; and curvy model Iskra Lawrence, who has been an Aerie ambassador since 2016. By embracing diversity in influencer marketing strategies, Aerie continues to spread the message of positivity and joy.

4) CoverGirl

The cosmetic brand, CoverGirl, proved to support inclusivity through a number of brand marketing programs. Firstly, CoverGirl underwent a rebranding of its iconic slogan “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” to “I am What I Make Up” in 2018. The rebranding supported the brand’s desire to represent differences in women’s ethnicity, physical traits, and backgrounds. Furthermore, CoverGirl partnered with an inclusive group of five celebrity ambassadors to form a new video ad campaign that encouraged women to be who they want to be. Among the brand’s new diverse endorsers were actress Issa Rae and 69-year-old model Maye Musk. Finally, CoverGirl matched the brand’s new diversity campaign with new makeup product releases available in more inclusive choices. 

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CoverGirl also showed diversity in influencer marketing campaigns. In 2016, the brand featured beauty social media star James Charles as the first boy CoverGirl model.  Since then, the cosmetic brand continues to be inclusive by partnering with more diverse influencers and models. 

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For the brand’s inclusive 2018 campaigns, CoverGirl chose influencers with physical conditions to represent the brand. The cosmetic brand collaborated with blind YouTuber Lucy Edwards to produce beauty content for the brand.  In addition, CoverGirl also partnered with model Amy Deanna as the face of TruBlend Liquid Makeup campaign and the first CoverGirl ambassador with vitiligo. Hence, with the brand’s campaigns, CoverGirl delivered a message that beauty is inclusive.

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5) BodyArmor 

BodyArmor, a sports drink brand, welcomed diversity in influencer marketing strategies by collaborating with non-athlete influencers. Similar to several sport beverage brands, BodyArmor is known to partner with athlete ambassadors like basketball player James Harden

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However, the sports drink brand made a difference by being inclusive through working with nonathlete ambassadors. BodyArmor enlisted mom health and wellness influencers for the brand’s influencer marketing campaigns in 2017. The brand, in partnership with Forward Influence, collaborated with mom influencers to share their experiences with the brand on their social media platforms. 

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Moreover, the brand embraced diversity in influencer marketing by supporting young athletes and featuring them in some of the brand’s social media content. Some of BodyArmor mom partners posted photos of their active and athletic kids loving the brand. Instead of being exclusive and choosing only famous athletes to represent the brand, BodyArmor promoted diversity through holding a social media contest where audiences had the chance to nominate a young athlete to be the new BODYARMOR athlete and partner.

6) Inc.redible

Another cosmetic brand that incorporates diversity in influencer marketing campaigns is Inc.redible. The brand supported diversity in influencer marketing by partnering with a 90-year-old Instagram beauty sensation, Baddie Winkle. Winkle is known for her colorful makeup, wardrobe, and personality. The 90-year-old influencer motivates followers to live with positivity and enjoy life to the fullest. 

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Inc.redible released three products under Baddie Winkle’s cosmetic line that represented her quirky personality while at the same time caters to both the older and younger consumer markets. The brand’s collaboration with Winkle showed how Inc.redible supports women of all ages and promotes confidence, regardless of one’s age. 

Wrap It All Up

Influencer marketing is here to stay and brands can build connections with their audiences and accumulate an increased ROI by incorporating diversity in influencer marketing campaigns. Brands can learn from the examples provided above on how to be inclusive in their influencer marketing strategies. 

How can your brand embrace diversity in influencer marketing campaigns? 


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