What the US Could Learn About Digital Inclusion

BY: ASHLEY THORNHILL  |  NOV 22, 2022 – 5 MIN READ

Key Takeaways (5-minute read)

  • Brands need to be inclusive in all aspects, including digital strategy.
  • World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance launched a tool to share best practices in expanding digital inclusion—the Digital Inclusion Navigator.
  • Instead of an afterthought, digital inclusion should start at the beginning—with consumer insights.
  • The US digital economy can learn from global players such as Orange and healthcare providers such as JunoDx about anticipating customers’ needs and building a strategy around them.

“Inclusivity,” like many vital aspects of business or life, has become a buzzword lately. It’s been overused and needlessly politicized, but that doesn’t make it less important than it ever was. From ensuring representation of all communities in advertising and media to making sure the workplace is a safe and fair place for all, being inclusive is really just an extension of the golden rule. That goes for the digital world, as well. In fact, The World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance recently launched a new tool to share best practices in expanding digital inclusion—the Digital Inclusion Navigator.

Described as “a one-stop shop of curated, high-quality information, real-world case studies, leading best practices, and other evidence-based content from trusted sources,” the Digital Inclusion Navigator aims to help businesses in the fields of healthcare, finance, and education with best practices in assuring access to and use of digital connectivity and technologies.

One case study pulled by the Digital Inclusion Navigator details how India is on its way to universal healthcare through digital health technologies. According to the study, these technologies “act as health system strengthening tools and facilitate achievement of universal health coverage (UHC). In line with the United Nations sustainable Development Goals, India launched the Ayushman Bharat Programme (ABP) to strengthen health services and achieve UHC. Digital health technologies could be instrumental in improving the efficiency of ABP. Given that India is in the initial steps towards UHC and digital health deployment, synergy between health programmes and digital health policies is essential to realize the goal of UHC. This article aims to discuss the scope of digital health technologies for achieving UHC, their application, opportunities and challenges in the context of ABP in India.”

By sharing stories and advancements in digital inclusion technologies such as this, the Digital Inclusion Navigator can help people across the globe create and find solutions to human needs that have previously been inaccessible or nonexistent. 

For brands looking to be digitally inclusive with their offerings, services, products, platforms, and marketing, it’s not enough to seek out ways to make existing systems more inclusive. They really should start out that way or form a new system that does so. Digital inclusion starts at the beginning—with consumer insights.

Ideally, a company’s digital solution should be inclusive from the get-go if they listen to their customers, segments, and potential users outside the segment that should have accessibility to the new tech solution or digital strategy they are offering. A digital company, no matter its industry, should by definition be accessible and actively inclusive, thereby giving consumers from all segments a reliable, innovative piece of technology or digital service.

The World Benchmarking Alliance, while recognizing that most tech companies have not yet embraced their full responsibility toward digital inclusion, did list some clear leaders in the movement, most of which were telecommunications brands. Orange, the French telecoms company with around 266 million customers worldwide (mostly in France and Africa), was one of those leaders demonstrating how digital inclusion starts with the fundamentals of consumer research and VoC data gathering.

“No matter where we develop our activities, Orange’s philosophy remains the same: to make technology accessible to the masses,” the brand states. “We adapt to each requirement to offer our customers the best possible experience, in each of the 26 countries where we operate and in the 220 countries and territories where we operate as Orange Business Services.” 

Further, the brand aims to provide digital solutions in areas that may not otherwise be getting the access that more developed ones have received. “Orange stands firm as a partner of the digital transformation of Africa and the Middle East,” its website says. “With a presence in 18 countries [through those regions], we are listening to the markets and their specific characteristics in order to put forward an offer that is in line with expectations, lifestyles and consumption. We offer services that provide concrete answers to our customers’ needs.”

By paying attention to individual consumers’ needs, brands can always form the best foundation for operations and services to meet their goals of providing the best consumer experience possible—and therefore achieving benchmarks in revenue and growth, as well. It all starts at the source: the people who need your brand. 

JunoDx is a healthcare company that hired  A&P to help launch their brand and recorrect the injustice currently found in the system. They provide a suite of products targeting female reproductive health, which historically has under-delivered on care to black and brown women. Our agency developed their branding and consumer messaging architecture, which were informed by our research hearing from women currently in the pregnancy journey. In those sessions we brought up the topic of inequality in maternal care, and asked the women what level of inclusion they need a company to tell them and show them through imagery. They responded that inclusivity was paramount to them choosing to buy a brand, but it needed to feel authentic and honest. No matter the product or service, most consumers need a brand to show inclusivity, and therefore morality, in today’s world. This need increases the younger the audience.  

By putting humans first, even in a digital world, you are creating a consumer journey that will fulfill needs and help people. Align yourself with only stats, numbers, and digital data as opposed to that coming directly from those you serve, and you’ll end up with a stale business model, lack of consumer engagement, and dwindling satisfaction.

About A&P

A&P, a brand agency, excels in finding innovative ways for clients to provide exceptional experiences to their customers. Their work includes consumer insight, brand innovation, creative development, mobile and technology solutions for global brands such as AT&T, Mini USA, DIRECTV, Newell Rubbermaid, Tenet Healthcare, and Barco Escape. For more information about A&P, visit them on Facebook, Twitter or antonioandparis.com.

Ashley blog profile image

WRITTEN BY
Ashley Thornhill

Short Bio — Ashley came to Antonio & Paris in 2014 following a successful career marketing both off and online art and antique auctions for one of the major global auction houses. After nearly a decade of managing countless estate sales and significant collections, overseeing complex client projects came like second nature. Ashley has a hand in every project that A&P undertakes from consumer apps for AT&T to positioning political campaigns to new product development for Wrigley Gum to re-defining aging for Brookdale Senior Living or launching a fully integrated marketing campaign for Star Trek Beyond in seven countries.

Ashley blog profile image

WRITTEN BY
Ashley Thornhill

Short Bio — Ashley came to Antonio & Paris in 2014 following a successful career marketing both off and online art and antique auctions for one of the major global auction houses. After nearly a decade of managing countless estate sales and significant collections, overseeing complex client projects came like second nature. Ashley has a hand in every project that A&P undertakes from consumer apps for AT&T to positioning political campaigns to new product development for Wrigley Gum to re-defining aging for Brookdale Senior Living or launching a fully integrated marketing campaign for Star Trek Beyond in seven countries.

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