• Qizhong Li

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


Inclusive marketing can be defined as the conscious creation of an advertising campaign that respectfully includes and considers the complexity of the individuals who make up the target audience (Pittaway, 2020). Inclusivity seeks appreciate and understand different identities and cultures (Fish, 2016). It intends to call for more inclusive marketing campaigns which takes people who have been or have been consistently marginalised or underrepresented into consideration. Looking at the history of social movements, being inclusive becomes social imperatives for fashions brands. There are different forms of inclusivity has been fought in the historical social movements including racial diversity, gender equality, feminism, LGBTQ+ and so on. Shifting to the contemporary context, social media has been demonstrated to have a substantial impact on how people perceive social norms and beauty standards and led to greater consumer activism. As consumer are willing to be featured on the platform of their daily life and feel good about themselves, fashion brands are expected to create more inclusive dialogues with consumers to depict and include various consumers. Therefore, in academic research, it is critical to understand how inclusivity is manifested on social media; in practices, brands need to find the proper ways of demonstrating inclusivity in marketing campaigns on social media. This critical review aims to contribute to the area of inclusive marketing, by building a holistic understanding of on inclusivity and inclusive marketing. Subsequently, this effort will uncover unexplored or underexplored areas of inquiry and prompt opportunities for scholarship regarding new research, theory development and consequential marketing practices. More specifically, this critical review focuses on addressing three main research gaps: lack of measures to evaluate the inclusiveness of marketing activities; limited research into diverse individual characteristics influencing consumers' perceived inclusion; lack of understanding into how inclusivity interacts with social media content. To fill in these research gap, this review chooses the critical approach to advance the knowledge of inclusivity in marketing literature, as critical review can synthesise and evaluate the existing sporadic literature of a new topic in mature area and then emerge a conceptual framework for future research. This review starts with searching the keywords of the forms of inclusivity manifested in social movements, such as inclusive marketing, inclusive advertising, gender stereotypes, stereotypes advertising, femvertising, LGBTQ+ advertising, race advertising, age advertising, etc. Through examining the titles, keywords, and abstracts, 42 articles are left for conducting critical review. Through a critical synthesis and evaluation of the literature, it concludes two main thematic topics: the different forms of inclusivity in marketing literature, and the discrimination and exclusivity in the marketplace. In addition, there are four thematic topics (i.e., racial identity, gender and feminism, sexual identity, and age) illustrated under the research branch of different forms of inclusivity in marketing literature. This review found that the dimensions of inclusivity have not been defined in any research. Moreover, there is no comprehensive framework discuss inclusivity in relation to consumer-related constructs such as brand attitudes. Regarding certain thematic topics of inclusivity, the research is not balanced. While there is majority of recent research focusing on gender and feminism, research on racial identity in marketing is more outdated and shift to ethnic identity with an emphasis on cultural differences rather than physical appearance. There are very few studies addressed age and disability inclusivity in marketing literature and the emerging context of social media for addressing this problem remain unexplored. Finally, a conceptual framework that introduces
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRosy Boardman (Supervisor) & Daniella Ryding (Supervisor)

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