How to approach neurodiversity as marketers – Ellie Middleton

Ellie Middleton, Personal Brand Manager at Great Influence
What is life like for a neurodivergent marketer, and how can we use that experience to our own benefit?

Apart from giving us the best analogy for explaining what a paradigm shift is, Ellie offered us seven amazing things to think about when creating for a neurodivergent audience.

Remember – that’s one person out of seven that you’re talking to!

Seven tips on now to market to neurodiverse humans from Ellie Middleton

🐑 Cut the fluff!

When you’re writing for a neurodivergent audience, try and cut the fluff.

Ellie explained that copy that’s clear and concise is great for people who have Autism, are dyslexic or have ADHD.

This means avoiding frilly language, long blocks of dense copy, or being super subjective.

Instead, ask yourself if every word needs to be there. If not, cut the fluff!

Get rid of jargon and complex terms, break things into bite-sized pieces, and be smart by explaining things simply.

😶 Watch your mouth

We often use words without thinking about their impact – and we’re all guilty of using ableist language, too.

Even phrases that you might think are innocent like ‘turn a blind eye’ can cause real harm.

So rather than use words like ‘crazy, mental, or mad’, sub these out for less offensive terms like ‘wild’ instead.

Make your language gender inclusive, too. Ditch ‘guys’ and ‘ladies’ and go for ‘friends’ and ‘folk’ when speaking to groups of people.

💬 Say what you mean

For people who are neurodivergent, reading between the lines can feel draining and difficult – so Ellie encouraged everyone to say what they mean when marketing.

Think about the famous Nike strapline: “Just do it.” – Just do…what? It’s problematic because its subjective.

Be really clear with what you’re trying to get across and what your call to action is asking people to do, so everyone benefits.

😊 Mean what you say

Did you know that people with ADHD are more likely to impulse spend?

This means that when you’re engaging with a neurodivergent audience, you need to be extra careful about the claims you’re making.

Rather than exaggerating or making false promises, you’ve got to be very cautious of language that could effectively con people.

Phrases like “this product will literally change your life” are dangerous because someone might go out and spend money on that false statement!

Take a leaf out of Carlsberg’s book instead, and choose something like “Probably the best beer in the world”.

🥎 Cover all bases

Not everyone absorbs information in the same way. People with ADHD might have difficulty with processing spoken information, and really benefit from short videos and subtitles.

Making sure that you’ve thought about language accessibility is also important.

Have you split big blocks of text into chunks for your dyslexic readers? Did you consider your readability level?

Can someone using a screen reader access your content? Can you offer a provision in Braille, or link to a suitable resource?

Get creative – videos can be better than text, for example – and challenge yourself to make your content as accessible as possible.

💭 Think in caps

Not just for shouting, capital letters are especially important for hashtags, especially for people using a screen reader.

Capitalising the first letter of each word is known as Camel Case, and it makes separating words in hashtags much easier to do (and the screen reader can read the hashtag clearly, too).

🗣 Call them in, don’t call them out

Last but definitely not least, Ellie shared some thoughts on the truth that we’re all going to get it wrong at some point.

We’ll say or do the wrong thing and we’re all figuring things out as we go.

Ellie’s advice is to call people in, encouraging each other to be kind when explaining if someone has got something wrong, and helping us to get back up and do better next time.

Together, we really can make a difference