Britvic neurodiversity

Source: Britvic

One in seven people in the UK are neurodivergent, presenting a different way for brands in fmcg to be viewed, purchased, and used. As a father to a son diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), I’m always considering the future of neurodiversity in consumer and workplace landscapes from a business perspective. To me, this ‘difference’ represents an opportunity for our industry.

Brands can now understand their consumers better than ever, and we have a responsibility to avoid unnecessary disruption. We must meet consumers where they are while supporting retailers to do the same.

Britvic recently partnered with the National Autistic Society to announce a cap change to Fruit Shoot bottles. While the new cap design reduces the bottles’ environmental impact, we recognised our transition to a clear bottle last year caused disruption to routines among the autistic community. Particularly as a drink positioned toward a younger audience, consumer feedback brought to our attention that this hadn’t been an easy change for these neurodiverse consumers, and we wanted to learn from this.

By creating freely available online resources explaining the cap transition ahead, Fruit Shoot demonstrated that small changes rooted in thoughtfulness can make a big difference. Whereas change could cause consumer disengagement, businesses who are listening to, and demonstrating consideration for, this audience can instead boost brand loyalty.

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Taking an inclusive approach to customer experience has multiple mutual benefits to be explored. The first step is tailoring communications content and style to ensure messaging is resonating with neurodiverse audiences. Prioritising user-friendly packaging and communicating change will ensure consumers can recognise favourites in-store and continue to enjoy them. Further, partnering with neurodiversity advocates enables these changes to be made collaboratively, helping us see our approach more broadly while holding brands accountable.

This considerate approach to inclusivity should extend to building our workforces too. Enabling neurodiverse individuals to thrive means creating supportive workplaces. Championing neurodiversity through internal employee networks keeps conversation open – our B-Seen network at Britvic supports our neurodiverse colleagues. Additionally, mentorship programmes and tailored training can help realise the potential of neurodiverse talent. Indeed, neurodivergent colleagues bring creativity, expertise, critical thinking, and other skills. These same skills can help brands create messaging and products that resonate with all consumers.

Leadership plays a decisive role in setting organisational tone. Executives should use their platforms to increase awareness and ensure organisations continue fostering an open culture. Even at the office environment level, sensory-friendly spaces empower employees by minimising stimulation to allow for their best work. When we build inclusive cultures, we unlock innovation and allow all talents to thrive, encouraging diversity of thought and growth.

The future lies in embracing, not avoiding, difference. My hope is this mindset spreads across our industry and soon becomes common practice. We all benefit when brands build trust and enable everyone to feel comfortable navigating life’s small but meaningful changes, and businesses who understand this will see themselves at an advantage in years to come.