In parts two and three of this blog series, we discussed using respectful language in the topics of race and religion, and LGBT+ communities and gender.
This week, let's look at some more topics to consider in any piece of writing or marketing, to show respect and build the relationship between your brand and consumers.
As technology advances, we're seeing more ways to increase the accessibility of our products and services.
In marketing, we have to remember that not everyone lives without disability. We must be as inclusive as possible, and ensure products/services are available to everyone. Adding subtitles to videos and descriptions to images are two simple ways to start making your brand accessible.
When it comes to language and writing about disability, there are many ways we can change our words to ensure they aren't harmful. This quote from People with Disability Australia sums up the idea well:
"People with disability are often described in ways that are disempowering, discriminatory, degrading and offensive. Negative words such as ‘victim’ or ‘sufferer’ reinforce stereotypes that people with disability are unhappy about our lives, wish we were ‘normal’, and should be viewed as objects of pity. These harmful stereotypes are simply not true. People with disability are people first – people who have families, who work, and who participate in our communities. People with disability want our lives to be respected and affirmed. In addition, many people with disability are proud of being disabled, and want that identity respected."
When writing about disability, use positive, correct phrasing and stay respectful. For more resources, see: Disability Advocacy Resource Unit; Queensland Government Guidelines; Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.
You might want to label your latest sale 'crazy' or 'insane' but these words actually have implications on those dealing with mental health issues.
Avoid using terms that have connotations to mental illnesses or disorders when you're referring to something in a negative or funny/lighthearted way. These terms can hurt those living with mental illness and should not be made to sound bad or funny.
Trigger and Content Warnings are another way we can be responsible. If you're posting something that is potentially triggering to someone living with a mental health disorder (particularly PTSD or anxiety), consider adding a warning. These topics could include suicide, rape, drugs or other abuse. However, if possible, simply don't post about these topics.
There are many other ways we can make sure our language is respectful and responsible towards mental health. More resources: Mindframe Guidelines; Mental Health Coordinating Council Guidelines; Life in Mind Australia.
Please contact me if you would like to see an amendment to this blog.
For more help with your brand's language, see the All Write Digital Writing Style Guide.