Brussels Airport’s destination? Inclusive marketing! An interview with Betty van de Nobelen

Getting on board with inclusive marketing? Yes, please! We took that pretty literal in our collaboration with Brussels Airport. We asked Betty van de Nobelen, Passenger Marketing Manager, to tell us a bit more about how they experienced this journey. Takeoff in 1, 2, 3, …

What motivated you to choose Inclusive marketing over traditional marketing?

We are maybe atypical in this context because through data and research, we realized the VFR market to Morocco is a specific audience that we couldn’t reach through our usual way of communicating and advertising. It was clear that we needed a different approach with tailored content. On top of that, the type of content and the way in which this content was presented had to be even more relevant than for other campaigns. The audience really needed to be able to identify themselves with the content we offered.

What is inclusive marketing?

As society is changing, today’s market is becoming more and more diverse. Minorities that were once ignored due to their limited demographic size, unfavourable social status or limited purchasing power, now hold a stronger position in society and thus have grown into attractive target audiences. These societal changes challenge traditional advertising strategies and standards. Advertising isn’t only an economic means to market products, it plays an important social role too: both influencing and being influenced by society. The latter simply states that advertisements have to reflect society.

What are the steps you took/ what changes did you make internally, within the organization to ensure a smooth transition towards inclusive marketing?

The most important step was informing the different teams and departments about the project, the background where we were coming from, why we were doing this, and what the KPI’s were. Building awareness about the importance of this audience was key to getting people on board.

How do you feel about choosing inclusive marketing over traditional marketing?

Being relevant is the basis of all communication and marketing and results in higher effectiveness. In an ideal world, we would do much more in the same line. Unfortunately, there are limitations to our resources.

How do you define the success of your inclusive marketing campaigns?

Well, as mentioned before, there are a few KPI’s we applied:

  • Campaign awareness and evaluation by the audience
  • Additional passenger numbers and additional flight capacity
  • Marketshare

Awareness and evaluation were measured through research. For the other KPI’s we could use internal data records. We saw an improvement in all of the indicators.

In your opinion, what does the future hold for inclusive marketing domain?  How do you see it evolve?

For me, inclusive marketing is very strongly linked to relevant communication. Due to the growing volume of communication, especially online, it’s becoming increasingly important to be relevant, to know who your audience is, and to know how to connect and communicate with them. You really need to stand out in the overload of information, and the only way to do this is to show that you know who your audience is and to connect with them.

Your message to other business leaders who have not explored Inclusive Marketing yet?

Do not hesitate, we have received many positive reactions. Not only from our audience but also from within our organization. It has been a really nice project, one that started from knowledge, and then moved to development, execution, and adjusted where needed. All according to the knowledge that was generated. We felt so strongly about this project that we entered the case as a submission for the Effie Awards in 2020 (Ed: and we were a finalist!).

Want to create inclusive campaigns?

Are you thinking about making your campaigns more inclusive? That’s amazing! Whether you want to create messages that are more accessible, expand your audience or just crave that extra bit of attention: our free guideline is the answer! Download it here.

How was your experience working with Allyens on the project?

It has been a great pleasure working with Allyens on this project. The expertise, creativity, and hands-on approach is something we can very much appreciate. We did not feel like the client, we worked together as a team to achieve the goals.


Written by

Carlien Coppieters

Carlien is seriously involved with finding the right words. A fairly essential quality, as a copywriter. But when it comes to describing herself, chances are she’ll get stuck at ‘professional dad joke-maker’. Thank goodness she gets to write about other things at Allyens!
21 December 2020

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