I recently read an article on the BBC website which was written by Tanni Grey-Thompson for OUCH! discussing the absence of disability in mainstream advertising campaigns. Which got me thinking “Why don’t businesses get it?”
We get bombarded daily with fresh, new and exciting advertising campaigns that more often then not leave us wondering, “What was that all about?”
I look forward to the day a company picks up the proverbial ball and runs with marketing disability in an exciting, funny and informative format! I have personally been asked on occasion; during social and business events, if I can do the same as those guys on the BBC advert! I reply, “What? Go round in circles?”
On the upside, if one simple advert can get so many people aware of disability and the basic fact that there are people having fun in wheelchairs, what’s holding back the creative mind of those marketing creators?
It’s very frustrating being pigeon holed but, currently, society does appear to relate disability immediately with wheelchairs, white sticks and the inability to communicate ‘normally’, whatever that may mean! This is a mindset that will only ever be changed by ‘EDUCATION! EDUCATION! EDUCATION!’
Disabled people have an alleged £80 million pounds per annum to spend, but is this the only reason why we should be treated fairly? I think not!
The only way, we will be treated more fairly now and in the future is by going out and educating people! How can we do this? By going out and using the services that are available; by proving there is a need.
I personally know how hard it is! Your family and friends will tell you it’s hard! They’ll tell you not to stress yourself! You don’t need to put yourself through all the possible anxiety of not being able to access a service! Why not? Are you different to everyone else? Are you special?
Until disabled people use services in the ‘Able’ society there will be no change! How can we expect society to change if society does not understand what needs to be changed?
The question, ‘Why don’t they get it?’ is an easy one to answer! They don’t understand! Just like I did not understand what disability and accessibility meant before my accident, and I would guess many of you similarly, did not understand!
If we take the tourism and travel industry as an example. Accommodation providers struggle with the concept of paying for something that has never been asked for! They don’t understand that the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act 1995) is an effective business tool, which if applied to their business can increase their annual turnover and directly increase profits. Moreover, many feel it’s a nice to do rather than a legal requirement. They only see the fact that it will cost them to refurbish their properties and negatively affect their bottom-line and annual profit.
One of our particular interests is encouraging accommodation providers to see the positive aspects of disability. The more properties that provide disabled access the more people will use those services.
This creates a virtuous circle where other accommodation providers see the positive benefits and amend their services to accommodate disabled people. All of which will make travel more accessible both physically and financially.
The same model applies to all areas of business. If no-one attempts to use services then the providers of those services cannot see the benefits of making their services accessible.
As Dennis Waitley, author of ‘Being the Best’, said “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” The choice is yours …
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