Marketers including Procter & Gamble, FanDuel and Bob Evans have tested X_Stereotype, and by the end of February the platform is expected to be fully operational so any brand can visit the website and upload content to be analyzed, Adams said.
He said X_Stereotype turns around insights in 24 hours, thereby reducing time constraints, the biggest hurdle marketers often attribute to not doing such analysis of their advertising.
X_Stereotype currently assesses content based on gender and race and across four categories: Bias, which includes stereotypes and unconscious bias; inclusion, which includes identification and authenticity; emotional EQ, which includes the sentiment around the content; and likability and purchasing intent.
The platform has been largely self-funded to date. The $2 million Adams seeks to raise would help it train the data to also assess bias in other segments including disabilities, as well as to start to develop it further as something that can be built into other technologies like email and chat software. The platform is also backed by a team of six people including Adams who he said can validate the data.
X_Stereotype comes as many marketers strive to create more inclusive brand messaging, which has been proven to boost business results.
“What we found in our data is being inclusive and having low bias detected in your content is highly and positively correlated to purchase intent and liability,” Adams said.
Putting the data to work
Thyme Hill, senior VP and chief marketing officer at Bob Evans Farms, said X_Stereotype was just what the food company was looking for. “Outside of having representation, which is critically important in the decision-making room, we hadn’t found any way to get an unbiased assessment of our creative and messaging,” she said.
To be sure, platforms such as Extreme Reach use AI to conduct research on diversity in ads.
Bob Evans started with an audit of all of its creative and communications efforts including broadcast ads, PR and the talent used in campaigns, Hill said. “It allowed us to see what we were doing well and what we needed to think differently about,” she said.
In doing the audit, Hill said the company found the messaging and assets used for its “Our Farm Salutes” campaign—which started in 2016 to help support military and veteran families, and was extended last April—got high marks for inclusion across X_Stereotype metrics. She said the “Our Farms Salutes” campaign has been highly successful, showing positive results in brand lift and sentiment studies, which proves inclusive marketing drives results.
Hill said Bob Evans Farms can now apply learnings from the “Our Farm Salutes” campaign to future ads. It will also be using X_Stereotype during the planning phase for all its broadcast, digital and social content going forward, according to Hill.
“We’ve always been a big believer that DEI is not just about doing the right thing, which it is, but it’s an enabling business strategy,” Hill said. “[X_Stereotype] allowed me to have the confidence, regardless of who was in the room, no matter what agency we had, we would have a data-driven, insights-driven approach to making the right decisions.”