Physical Activity & the Importance of Inclusive Communications


There is a growing trend towards the personalisation of communications – people want to choose how and when they receive it, and on a device of their choice. What works for one person may not work for another, therefore it is important that communications should be written, produced and distributed in a way that is inclusive to all.

So how do we do this?

In this article Active Humber, in partnership with the Activity Alliance and their Inclusive Communications Guide explain the key principles of inclusive communications.

Knowing your audience

Who do you want to reach / attract to your physical activity sessions? Do you know their motivations and needs? What are their barriers to accessing information? What platforms are important to them for receiving information?

There is no one size fits all, different people have different barriers to accessing information, for example different impairment groups will have different requirements e.g. someone with a hearing impairment will benefit from visual marketing, or videos with subtitles, whereas marketing that includes easy read and plain English will benefit someone with a learning disability. Plain English can also support people where English isn’t their first language. Ensuring the right type of language is used and it is positive is also important.

If you want to reach a wide range of individuals with different needs then ensuring your communications have images, text and infographics will support more people to understand the messages being conveyed.

Providing information on a variety of marketing platforms and embedding the marketing of physical activity within a community will support your communications to be more inclusive e.g. social media channels, posters, videos, local media etc, and ensuring these communications are available throughout local communities is also important e.g. local shops, gp surgeries, community champions etc.

Use of Imagery

Using individuals who represent the target audience for your activity is key. The successful #thisgirlcan campaign aimed to inspire women to be more physically active. The campaign was based on featuring women of all shapes, sizes and sporting abilities that sweat and jiggle as they exercise. It is important that your target audience can see themselves in the images and settings your communications convey and that they know the activity is for them.

Ensuring the imagery used is positive is also important; images that reflect the interaction of individuals from your target audience, having fun and not just one participant on their own can positively portray what you are trying to promote. Action shots can have the most impact, as long as the images used are achievable.

The Activity Alliance’s Who Says? Campaign is a great example of a campaign being available in a range of communication formats e.g. audio descriptions, subtitles on campaign films, campaign information in BSL translation, and easy read formats, and the design and video content following the inclusive communication design principles of colour contrast, font, layout -

For more information on Inclusive marketing the Activity Alliance has the reaching more people through inclusive and accessible communications video: