GAAD 2020: Supercharge Your Brand with Accessibility

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Process, Strategy
Global Accessibility Awareness Day has us taking a long hard look at how we take accessibility into our brands and how that translates to very real business.

In April of 2018, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) published a study that analyzed the spending power of users with permanent disabilities across the nation. The study moved the conversation about websites being accessible out of the theoretical, moral and genuine legal concerns to instead focusing on why building an accessible website is just good business. One of the more important pieces of the study, however, wasn’t on spending power to grow the bottom line, but instead about how building your brand around digital inclusion was one of the most underutilized (or perhaps even unknown) brand enhancement tools in your arsenal.

Selling a good nights sleep, not a mattress

Profit-driven scenarios generally harp on how these numbers affect sales conversations since that’s the easiest way to the ‘show the proof in the pudding.’ The disabled user, with vast spending power, can no longer be ignored by businesses. The inclusive business model dives into every branch of business – marketing, design, engineering, etc. From a marketing perspective, you’re able to move the focus from just trying to create a product that will work for all, to intentionally attracting a more diverse audience. You engage with them through a thought-provoking experience you hope to achieve for all users, regardless of disability.

The AIR study documents how Walgreens incorporated models with down syndrome in their advertising. T.J. Maxx, Target and Suntrust airing television ads were showing disabled people using their products or Swiffer commercials are showing people with physical limitations using their product with ease and enjoyment. Finally, the study then delivers the effect of this type of advertising to people that don’t have disabilities: “a survey commissioned by the Marketing Anthropology Project suggests that people with disabilities are a market of interest to all U.S. consumers (National Business & Disability Council, 2017). The survey found that 66% of consumers will purchase goods and services from a business that features individuals with disabilities in their advertising. In comparison, 78% will purchase goods and services from a business that takes steps to ensure easy access for individuals with disabilities at their physical locations.”

Making your  website and organization more accessible

Building an accessible website is just the tip of the iceberg. To attract a more diverse audience, engage all departments in your organization equally to see how they can help supplement your accessibility program. From marketing to digital strategy, to physical print material creation, to choosing the right video hosting to promote your product/service – to make a long & lasting impact with your program and position yourself as an industry standard for accessible digital experiences, we challenge you to get creative. Consider an accessibility-first approach in your next promotional campaign. Work the numbers on what it would take to dedicate resources in the following quarters specifically to figure out where you stand on the spectrum of entirely accessible vs. inaccessible brands.

As always, if there’s any way we can help push your accessibility initiatives forward, head over to our contact page and drop us a note – we’d love to help.