Lloyds Banking Group on how it got diversity wrong

Lloyds Banking Group says that despite its progress on implementing diversity in its marketing it still has “a long way to go” in order to be more representative of its customers.

Speaking at the Marketing Academy partners bootcamp event today (30 November), the company’s head of culture and capability Antonia Bennett said that its marketing team has a responsibility to be represent “a modern Britain”. Something she believes makes good business sense.

“This for us is not a fluffy piece of HR or marketing or the politically correct thing to do, it’s about delivering our business strategy. We need to represent [our customers] and the UK population as a whole appropriately,” she said.

Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, reportedly has three million disabled customers, as well as two million LGBT customers.

She added: “If we don’t create services that suit our customers, they’ll leave us. Eighty percent of disabled customers said they’d change their bank if there were accessibility issues. That’s not just a disgraceful statistic, it’s a huge opportunity missed. It’s as simple as that.”

So far, the company has made various advances to ensure its brands are as inclusive as possible. It has launched talking ATMs for hard-sighted customers, as well as British sign language video calls. And its marketing campaigns also aim to reflect a diverse Britain, with disabled customers, a gay couple and mixed-race couples featuring prominently in the company’s latest communications.

“We want to launch services that empower our customers. But we also do lots of colleague engagement events; we recently organised a mental health week,” she explained.

Learning from its mistakes

But the company does not always get it right. It recently conducted a study around how it portrays gender in its communications by analysing the imagery it advertises with using semiotics. The results, Bennett said, were “startling”.

For Lloyds Bank, it used images of women to represent emotions like excitement and elation. It also showed them in protective roles that were often hyper-feminine. Meanwhile, men were portrayed as confident, intelligent and in control.

Halifax often represented women in domestic settings and were used to advertise low-risk products. Men were shown in more powerful positions and used for advertising high-risk products or services.

“These were unconscious decisions, and the result of cultural reinforcement time and time again. We need to constantly re-evaluate and question our communications. We’ve learned from this. Diversity mustn’t feel tokenistic, and we’ve updated our brand guidelines and told our agencies so it’s done in an authentic and inclusive way,” Bennett added.

“We need to keep listening. We don’t always get it right, but it’s important we keep trying and recognise that it’s a longer journey.”

The post Lloyds Banking Group on how it got diversity wrong appeared first on Marketing Week.

Source: Marketing Week
Lloyds Banking Group on how it got diversity wrong

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