The disabled community is the world’s third-largest economic power

By Christina Mallon: For More Info, Go Here…

Chances are you’ve often seen headlines for a brand advertising an inclusive initiative for people with disabilities. Most likely, it launches with great fanfare.

And then, crickets.

While well-intended, one-off projects like these set a low bar for success and take energy away from the real innovation the community needs. They tend to make the problem of access worse for people with disability, rather than better.

But there are ways to get it right. Two years ago, apparel company Tommy Hilfiger (which, full disclosure, our agency worked with on their campaign) launched an adaptive clothing line called Tommy Adaptive that makes getting dressed easier for people with physical disabilities. The brand partnered with more than 2,000 people with disabilities to ensure that all customer touchpoints were inclusive.

Designers paid attention not only to the challenges consumers with disabilities face in getting dressed, but also to the end-to-end shopping experience, from searching for products to unboxing them at home. And if you needed to call customer service, the brand’s representatives were trained on the needs of people with disabilities.

In other words, the company was not launching a campaign merely to make clear that it was inclusive. It is not a PR gimmick, but a revenue plan.

Tommy Hilfiger is one brand that views people with disabilities as a significant customer segment with unmet needs. The question now is why everyone else isn’t following suit.

There’s a solid business case for designing for and selling to people with disabilities. First of all, consumers with disabilities make up a massive market. If the room you’re in is representative of the world, one in five of the people you share space with has a disability. According to one study, the total disposable income of the community tops $8 trillion per year. For context, that makes the community third-largest in the world in terms of purchasing power, after the US and China.

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