This year, National American Sign Language Day brought a surprise for all of us. After years of wondering if the mascot’s silence was just a matter of being creepy (let’s be honest, we all thought it was pretty creepy), it turns out, he can only speak using ASL. For the event, Burger King pulled out all the stops and changed all of their store signage down to their logo in honor of the day.
This came as a shock to some, but considering that there are over 360 million people across the world, and 48 million Americans, suffering from some degree of hearing loss, it’s rather shocking that more businesses don’t think about connecting with this audience.
Video marketing, for example, is one area where many business could include the deaf population, but don’t.
“Trying to watch caption-less video is extremely frustrating for deaf people,” Julian Moiwai, a deaf social media marketer who specializes in video communication solutions for DHH (deaf and hard of hearing) customers. It’s not easy to attempt to read lips or watch in hopes of finding a visual to understand the message, so DHH viewers move on to another company and another video.
Adding video captioning can expand a company’s reach as captioned videos make 8.3% more conversions than non-captioned videos.
The internet, email, and texting are text-heavy communication mediums that are helping DHH customers interact, but what happens when they enter your store?
“The major barrier [for deaf people] is trying to communicate like everyone else does, especially when dealing with strangers, or people who don’t know how to deal with individuals with hearing loss.” – Thomas Fiddian
Starbucks has attempted using what is being called the “evolution screen” to take video orders in their drive-thru, but there are only rumors as to how wide-spread this will become.
What is clear, though, is that empathy for others can go a long way toward building goodwill for your business. The response to Burger King’s #WhopperSign campaign has been very positive. Their silent video asks for ASL users to help create an ASL sign for the Whopper.
My personal favorite?
“The Burger King brand is built not only on including everyone, but celebrating everyone,” Fernando Machado, the fast-food chain’s svp of global brand management, said in a statement. Allowing Burger King to both include and celebrate everyone truly lets everyone have it their way.