Did you know people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour, have a strong sensitivity towards light? It is estimated that 90-95% of those who are autistic have some form of external sensitivity, either to bright lights, fluorescent lights, bright colours, loud music, and sounds.
The holiday season is usually the time when marketers promote dazzling products using bright lights, music, and colour. While most people have no trouble consuming these products, for those with disabilities that are both visible and invisible, a trip to the local mall or a walk in the neighbourhood can be triggering.
How can marketers include them? There is an opportunity to reach out to an untapped market that is underserved.
The Numbers Say It All
According to the latest data from Stats Canada, one in five people, which is 22% of the Canadian population, have a disability that is both visible and invisible. The data found that approximately 6.2 million individuals between ages 15 and over, experience one or more disabilities.
StatsCan report reveals the most common types of disabilities people have are pain (15%), mobility (10%), mental health (7%), seeing, hearing and dexterity (5%), learning and memory (4%). In terms of demographics, data shows that women had a higher prevalence for disability.
Why Consumers With Disabilities Should Be a Priority
“Ensure your brand mission is expressed throughout how you do business – including your advertising- because how you do business in today’s world is your marketing, and that is authenticity by design,” observed MJ DePalma, Head of Multicultural and Inclusive Marketing at Microsoft in a marketing blog.
So, what are some ways marketers and organizations can ensure that the disability community feels as much part of the holiday season as everyone else?
– How about reaching out to Santa Clauses that are fluent in sign language and making sure the Santa photo sessions are wheelchair friendly.
– Create a special area within the mall with all the holiday trimmings but without flickering lights or loud music.
– Agencies, when creating visual campaigns should use a typeface called Dyslexie in their promotions because it makes it easier for those who have dyslexia (a disorder where it is difficult to read letters and symbols) to take in the message.
– Conduct a survey of employees and families beforehand to get an idea of what types of disabilities if any people have when planning office holiday parties or other events.
– Since disability is not one-size fits all thing, one great idea might be to host a holiday party including service animals with their humans.
Making the effort to go the extra mile in accommodating those with disabilities, both visible and non-visible, not only helps in appealing to a wider audience, but it shows that as a brand, you care about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). It’s important to remember that every customer is a human being regardless of certain visible or invisible challenges that are beyond their control.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are not buzzwords. They are becoming increasingly important for consumers, which is why marketers should pay attention. Diversity is important because it’s about creating an environment that is inclusive to all groups, regardless of their differences such as gender, age, race, sexual orientation, social economic status, and ability.
If you want to build a relationship with your consumer, we can help connect your brand with these diverse consumer groups, that exist within all ethnicities, in a meaningful manner. Diversity Beyond Ethnicity is a marketing program of Maple Diversity Communications providing advertising, marketing, and research solutions to enable your brand to successfully identify with these consumer groups and achieve your business objectives.
Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season.