Inclusive identities: re-imaging the future of the retail brand?

Callum S. Boyd, Elaine L. Ritch*, Christopher A. Dodd, Julie McColl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: to examine consumers' perceptions of retail brand representations of gender-oriented and/or sexuality-oriented identities. The authors explore the value of developing more progressive, inclusive brand values to support more effective retail brand communications and imagery. Design/methodology/approach: Photo elicitation, utilising LGBTQIA+/sexuo-gendered imagery from retail brand marketing communications, facilitated discussion within focus groups representing various genders, age generations and sexualities. Findings: Younger generations indicate a preference for fluid gender and sexuality and endorse retail brands that represent this progressive understanding. Gender and age moderate preferences for representative imagery, with older males more resistant to sexuo-gendered messages and females of all ages more accepting. Research limitations/implications: The research is limited in generalisability, geography and demographics. The focussed approach did, however, enable collection of rich, insightful data to underpin evaluations of communicative brand values. Practical implications: The inclusion of diverse and fluid sexuo-gendered identities within the brand values of retailers would enable effective targeting of consumers across a range of more traditional cohorts. Social implications: The evolving ideology towards inclusiveness, identified within the generational cohorts, demonstrates social change through progressive acceptance of more fluid gendered and sexual identities. Originality/value: The research adopts a novel approach to examining diverse, sexuo-gendered imagery within gendered and generational cohorts, offering qualitative examples of a progressive social ideology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1335
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2020


  • Feminism
  • Gender
  • Gender/sexual fluidity
  • Retail brands
  • Social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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