The Power of the Purple Pound

Written by

Charli Edwards


Why physical experience matters for inclusive engagement.  

The ‘Purple Pound’ refers to the spending power of disabled households in the UK, and it’s estimated to be worth £274 billion annually to UK businesses. So, considering the strength of spending power, how is it that businesses are failing disabled audiences so miserably that the total amount of money lost each month is estimated to be £2 billion?

The sector that loses the most money is banking, followed by supermarkets and high street shops, whilst transport is the sector that loses the least money.
So, the increasing digitisation of our lives has revolutionised how we work, socialise, and consume information and opened up new possibilities for businesses to connect with their audience and create engaging experiences. The digital experience is just one piece of the puzzle regarding inclusive engagement.

Human connection plays a vital role in building relationships and creating loyalty to your brand. The physical experience offers an opportunity to connect with people personally and make them feel valued. For example, a physical store can provide a tactile experience, such as touching fabrics, smelling fragrances, or trying products. Attending events or workshops allows people to interact with your brand in a way that’s meaningful to them. Creating these immersive experiences can help to make a lasting impression and a sense of belonging. Disabled people have mixed views on digital services in the UK. Some find digital technologies helpful and beneficial for their access and participation in various activities, goods, and services, whilst others face barriers and challenges to using digital services, such as digital exclusion, lack of accessibility, cost, and skills.

There can be too much reliance on digital to connect with these audiences. Suppose it is obvious a more physical experience could have been implemented. In that case, the brand perception will be negatively affected by those who feel undervalued or represented by an ‘easy one size fits all approach.’

Although digital technology has made many aspects of our lives more accessible, it has created a divide between those with access to digital services and those without. According to the Office of National Statistics, 11.9% of disabled people in the UK have never used the internet compared to 4.7% of non-disabled people. This means relying solely on digital communication channels can limit your brand’s reach and exclude many people with disabilities.

Even if disabled people have access to digital technology, they may face accessibility challenges with online content, websites, or applications not designed with their needs in mind.

For example, a website may need better contrast, too small text, or lack of captions or audio or video transcripts. These accessibility challenges can make it difficult or impossible for disabled people to engage with your brand digitally.

Ultimately, combining digital and physical experiences can offer the best of both worlds. It enables your brand to reach a wider audience, including those who prefer digital, physical, or a mix of both.

#Inclusivity #Experiential #DigitalMarginalisation #Thepurplepound


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