Have you ever felt invisible? 

Can you remember a time when you wanted to be seen, but it felt like the people you were around either didn’t want to, weren’t equipped to, or couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to see you and all your glory, for who you really are. Boo.

That happens far too often for diverse and niche consumers. People who have differences that make them not so neatly fit into what is considered to be “mainstream.”

The challenge for brands is that people who have differences, those who color outside the lines, are growing rapidly. Soon, the “mainstream” will be the minority.

There’s plenty of data to back this up. Here’s some interesting tidbits for the U.S.:

  • Gen Z is 25% of the population, and 48% diverse
  • The average size of a woman in the U.S. is between sizes 16-18
  • The U.S. has the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world
  • Less than half of kids under 18 in the US live in what has long been thought of as the “traditional” family, with two heterosexual parents in the home
  • 6 Out of 10 households in the U.S. have at least one person who restricts a food from their diet

The customers you serve, especially those who have differences that cause them to be underserved, ignored, and in some cases mistreated, want you to see them.

Business is about belonging.

And increasingly, consumers are engaging in credit card advocacy to make it clear that they will only buy from and engage with the brands that make the effort to see them and make them feel like they belong.

Where things get sticky is that many brands struggle with how to engage with diverse and niche consumers authentically. They have the desire to “see” more of their customers, but fumble with how to send the signals that 

You have the right intentions. But intentions aren’t enough.

You have to actually send the signals along every part of your customer journey that makes diverse and niche consumers feel like they belong with you.

My job, and that of those I partner with here at Thompson Media Group, is to ensure that your brand intentionally and consistently sends the right signals to the customers you serve, that lets them know that you belong together.

Sonia Thompson: Your guide on delivering inclusive marketing and building an inclusive brand

I’m Sonia Thompson, a customer experience and inclusive marketing strategist and consultant, who helps brands win customers by delivering inclusive and remarkable experiences that make them feel like they belong. I’m also the founder of Thompson Media Group.

Before I started my own business, I spent nine years at Johnson & Johnson, helping grow various healthcare brands around the world. While there, I was a diversity and inclusion champion and employee resource group leader.

Now, as an entrepreneur, I write columns for Inc. and Forbes where I focus on how to use inclusive marketing, belonging, and remarkable customer experiences to grow. I also contribute to Entrepreneur, Success, and other publications.

I’ve keynoted conferences where I’ve taught tens of thousands of people how to be more inclusive with their marketing. And I’ve worked with brands 1:1 to help them do the same.

Aside from all that on the business front, I’ve also got a number of differences on a personal level, that makes me not fit so cleanly into what is considered to be the “mainstream.” 

I’m a Black woman, I have a Spanish-speaking Argentine husband, and together we have a mixed-race bi-lingual daughter. I follow a gluten-free diet, and I’m left-handed. These aspects of my life have impacted my experiences as a consumer.

And unfortunately, I’ve been frustrated by far too many brands who’ve ignored or underserved me and my unique needs, and ultimately sent me the signal “you don’t belong here.” I know I’m not the only one.

Everyone deserves to have a place where they belong. I’ve made it my mission to help ensure people find that place, especially at work, and as a consumer.