Lloyds Banking Group has published a guide to how brands can better represent ethnic minorities in marketing communications, outlining eight guiding principles for its own teams and marketers across the industry.
Championing Modern Britain has been produced following a study across 16 ethnic focus groups, who were asked to look at previous campaigns for Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Scottish Widows and assess how "authentically and positively" people of their ethnicity had been portrayed.
The guide, which has a foreword by Catherine Kehoe, Lloyds Banking Group's chief customer officer, has condensed the study's findings and conclusions into eight guiding principles that it says "underpin marketing communications to nurse positive and progressive portrayals ethnicity and race".
The report also shines a light on changes that Lloyds has made internally to embed them into its decision-making. The report is the latest initiative in Lloyds' overarching "Race Action Plan".
The principles are:
- Portray me positively: present all people in a way they'd like to be seen, helping to challenge and defy restrictive stereotypes.
- Don't put me in a box: consider all the layers of identity of the people you portray.
- Authenticity is in the details: focus on the nuanced details for true-to-life representations – create good connections, not bad reactions.
- Word association counts: make sure the language you use alongside an image doesn't reinforce an unhelpful trope.
- Where am I in all of this? Try to represent all ethnicities – Asian and mixed heritage people are often underrepresented.
- Level the playing field: show that people from all ethnicities can have equal social status and are deserving of prominence.
- Sensitively challenge bias: take time to consider how communications could be interpreted by people with differing beliefs.
- Check in with an expert: enlist the support of an external cultural advisor, or establish your own diversity panel in-house.
Richard Warren, Lloyds Banking Group's director, marketing communications, said: "It is no longer sufficient for our marketing communications to merely represent modern Britain; rather we must go further and champion the modern, inclusive and diverse Britain that our customers want to see.
"Sharing examples of our own campaigns with 16 ethnically diverse groups helped us understand what more we can do to deliver positive and progressive representations of all of our customers...
"There is no doubt that as an industry we have taken steps to improve in the last few years, and it remains a path of learning for us all. We don't pretend to have all the answers and we know we won't always get it right, but we are keen to share what we have found and what we're doing as a result, so that the industry can move forward together."
This latest study, which is available to download here, follows the group's Reflecting Modern Britain and Ethnicity in Advertising reports, which concluded that negative stereotyping of people from ethnic minorities was still present in today's advertising.