We are delighted to see that more and more business people and marketing forums are talking about disability. Last week saw Dan Brooke, chief marketing and communications office of Channel 4 (pictured above) challenge the creative industries to do more to promote inclusivity for people with disabilities in this article in Campaign Live. This week’s Festival of Marketing features a session on the cost of ignoring consumers with disabilities which will explore how the disability market is expanding and why it’s worth investing in.
Inclusion Branding is also the subject of Debra Ruh’s forthcoming book, to be published in October 2017. Debra is the Founder and CEO of Ruh Global Communications, established to help organisations reduce compliance and brand risks associated with inclusion and create programs that act as a positive differentiator. The topics discussed in her latest book include how Corporate Brands are now expected to give back to society and humanize their brand and provides ideas and solutions for brands to include this important demographic in branding and marketing.
Big brands are listening, with companies such as Nike and Tommy Hilfiger now designing accessible clothing lines. Specialised consultancies including Global Disability Inclusion, Runway of Dreams and Think Designable work with mainstream brands to offer more inclusive products and services. Agencies like Starting with Julius promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream advertising, improving society’s relationship with disability. The tide is turning.
The story behind Nike FLYEASE
Things are looking up also in Accessible Tourism, with projects such as EUTravel an EU Funded Research Project – which aims to ensure people can book complete door-to-door transport routes via multiple modes of transport, including air, rail, coach and ferry, to and from all countries within the EU, via a single platform.
VisitScotland and VisitEngland are developing the Accessibility Guides initiative, an official site for industry providers, such as hotels, restaurants etc. to create and publish Accessibility Guides online. In March a consumer site will be launched allowing individuals to search by location service. All of the guides published are in accessible formats and there are case studies and other tools also available on the site.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government also recently announced an investment of 15.2 billion won ($13.3 million) over the next five years to make tourism resources in the capital equally accessible to people with disabilities. And Chester, which was awarded the 2017 Access City Award as the most accessible city in Europe, is serving as an example for other cities around the world.
Accessibility and Inclusive Design are now becoming a requirement in Technology. Companies are no longer wondering Why Bother with (web) Accessibility? Accessible Mobile technologies are also a business requirement. The business case better understood and in some countries legislation requires companies to have accessible websites and mobile applications. There are also many great resources out there for companies who don’t know where to start.
Global initiatives that have helped to promote the topic to business include AXSChat an online community that runs weekly video interviews followed by a twitter chat. AXSChat is one of the top 3 global twitter chats in the world and get thousands of tweets during the chat and between 13 to 20 million each week. Another is Global Accessibility Awareness Day which takes place on the third Thursday in May each year
Global technology leaders Apple – who believe that technology should be accessible to everyone – and Microsoft – who believe there are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it – are recognised leaders in accessible technology.
There are many more and we want you to tell us what your company is doing by answer the #valuable call to business.