Article

Kevin Adema
Kevin Adema 14 November 2016

How Misunderstanding Equality Keeps Brands Irrelevant

You might have seen the popular cartoon image floating around on various social media channels depicting Equality vs. Equity. The image shows contrasting images of three people of different heights: one side shows all people, regardless of their height all standing on the same sized box trying to look over a fence (equality). The other side shows the shortest person standing on two boxes enabling all people to see over the fence (equity).

Albeit simplistic in design, it underlines a critical facet for digital marketers today: misunderstanding and misapplying the concept of equality in approach yields inequity of outcomes.

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Digging deeper and as discussed in previous posts pertaining to profiling, this entire topic of equality must – and should – be handled with utmost respect. First and foremost, regardless of age, monetary status, ethnic background or gender, all people are fundamentally created equal. However, equal does not mean same.

Sadly, most marketing efforts shy away from this entire topic for fear of offending however, taking a respectful approach towards human drivers and human filters will not only enable greater insight, it will drive greater results in engagement.

Echoing points made in earlier discussions, there are 5 universal drivers for all humans: Faith/beliefs, Food, Friends, Fitness and Focus. These are again categorical facets of life and pending a person’s emphasis in one or more of these categories will drive subsequent behavior and choices. 

But more than that, and this one scares most marketers completely is the topic of gender. Let’s again be abundantly clear:

MALE. FEMALE. EQUAL.

MALE. FEMALE. DIFFERENT.

We are not addressing competencies, abilities or rights but we are addressing core, innate filters to processing information and making decisions.

There are then 5 universal drivers and 1 set of filters.

In context of direct application, this again has nothing to do with sexism but rather, the refined and critical art of being conscientious. Consider how many literary works or relationship books exist revolving around the classic cliché: Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.

Male marketers needs to exercise conscientiousness towards women audiences.

Female marketers needs to exercise conscientiousness towards men audiences.

Granted, a host of juvenile stereotypes can slip into this exercise but:

If a brand shies away from the topics of drivers and filters in the feigned name of “equality”, that same brand overtly commits to marginal relevance and limited engagement.

One of the best insight authors on this exact topic is New York Times bestseller, John Eldredge. John unapologetically denotes how children, both boys and girls inherently crave and gravitate towards very different things. They also pursue things very differently, learn very differently and interpret situations very differently. (I think about my 2 daughters and 1 son and through countless anecdotal scenarios, John couldn’t be more correct).

If customer profiling seeks to truly understand a customer and bring about changed behavior in their lives (via marketing), we can’t be afraid of this topic. Our differences make us unique. Our uniqueness keeps us equal.

Like you, whether in business or everyday life, being respected, listened to and understood are the hallmarks of a long-term relationship. Respectful, equality-based profiling makes this happen.

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