DI­VER­SITY : A LIT­TLE LESS CON­VER­SA­TION, A LOT MORE AC­TION

Cam­paign and En­gine hosted CMOS and agency lead­ers to drive the di­ver­sity de­bate for­ward into a series of pledges, prom­ises and ac­tions

Campaign UK - - NEWS -

The di­ver­sity is­sue is acute in our in­dus­try. There are strong cases for tack­ling it. Com­pa­nies with more di­verse work­forces are 45% more likely to grow their mar­ket share year on year, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view study. And mar­keters have a re­spon­si­bil­ity, and the power, to shape so­ci­ety for the bet­ter.

Cam­paign and En­gine gath­ered lead­ing mar­keters in Cannes to end the di­ver­sity de­bate and turn the talk into ac­tion.

Why? “As me­dia in­vestors we re­ally have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to nor­malise di­ver­sity in me­dia,” says Airbnb global mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Alex Dimiziani.

Global lead­ers from Airbnb, Mars, John­son & John­son, Cover­girl and Mon­ster pledged their com­mit­ment to drive tan­gi­ble change – both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally – and stated their de­ter­mi­na­tion to work with agen­cies to make it hap­pen quicker.

In 2002, En­gine chief ex­ec­u­tive Deb­bie Klein wrote the IPA gen­der re­port. At the time, women ac­counted for just 9% of top jobs, with 15% in cre­ative de­part­ments. By 2015, women filled 32% of the most se­nior po­si­tions, but still only 26% in cre­ative de­part­ments, ac­cord­ing to the IPA’S Gen­der & BAME sur­vey. “The shift is not fast enough. I’m keen for it to go faster,” said Klein.

The de­bate touched on var­i­ous strands of di­ver­sity and gen­er­ated an ar­ray of tan­gi­ble ways in which brands and agen­cies can stop talk­ing and start tak­ing ac­tion.

EIGHT AC­TIONS TO TAKE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS Part­ner and progress with agen­cies who cham­pion di­ver­sity

Dimiziani said: “We have been very clear with agen­cies. Our part­ner­ship pri­or­i­ties are, first and fore­most, di­ver­sity.”

Leon Jaume, ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor at En­gine-owned WCRS, said: “Every­one knows di­ver­sity is a good thing, but they have not yet re­alised that not enough di­ver­sity is a re­ally bad thing.”

Brands hold an im­por­tant po­si­tion as they can be the cat­a­lyst for agen­cies to change. As they de­mand ef­fec­tive­ness, ef­fi­ciency and en­gage­ment, mar­keters must hold agen­cies to ac­count on di­ver­sity.

Cover­girl global se­nior VP Ukonwa Ojo doesn’t set out di­ver­sity as a key pri­or­ity to avoid to­kenism or man­u­fac­tured di­ver­sity – she looks for in­di­ca­tors in­stead. “I want [di­ver­sity] al­ready there,” she said. “I would not part­ner them if they did not have it. When you come in for the pitch, I’m look­ing at who’s com­ing into the room and what the work is. My view is, ‘I’m not go­ing to teach you how to do this, I want you to live it.’”

Mon­ster World­wide CMO An­drew Warner con­tended: “If the peo­ple in­volved in the process can’t view it through the eyes of the au­di­ence you’re try­ing to con­nect with, then you’re never go­ing to reach that au­di­ence. In the UK, so­cio-eco­nomic back­ground has been one of the most press­ing is­sues for agen­cies, [which] have of­ten hired Rus­sell Group univer­sity grad­u­ates who just can­not re­late.”

It’s also vi­tal to make di­ver­sity an on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion. Dave Roberts, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of En­gine con­tent and en­ter­tain­ment mar­ket­ing agency Trailer Park Lon­don, said: “Pick­ing a part­ner shouldn’t be a pro­cure­ment tick-box – it’s col­lab­o­ra­tive.”

Re­cruit from di­verse tal­ent pools

Re­cruit­ment of­fers a real op­por­tu­nity for change. Both brands and agen­cies have the power to hire from un­der­rep­re­sented groups, so why do the same types of peo­ple usu­ally get hired?

“Agen­cies do not pay peo­ple who work at the lower end enough and so are not at­tract­ing the best tal­ent – they could learn a lot from ac­coun­tancy firms that are of­fer­ing com­pet­i­tive salaries and so at­tract­ing more di­verse tal­ent,” said Michele Oliver, VP mar­ket­ing at Mars. Mon­ster World­wide is cham­pi­oning equal op­por­tu­ni­ties in re­cruit­ment and re­cently banned em­ploy­ers from ad­ver­tis­ing un­paid in­tern­ships on its sites.

Oliver also urged em­ploy­ers to look for dif­fer­ences in fu­ture em­ploy­ees, not sim­i­lar­i­ties: “There is an aver­sion to risk, so [they] tend to go with peo­ple they know.”

In­crease vis­i­bil­ity on se­nior teams

Both agen­cies and brands must get bet­ter at pro­mot­ing a greater di­ver­sity of peo­ple – es­pe­cially women – to se­nior po­si­tions.

Jamila Saidi, di­rec­tor of the GREAT Bri­tain in­ter­na­tional trade cam­paign and head of in­ter­na­tional trade mar­ket­ing at the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade, said: “It’s what hap­pens after mid­dle man­age­ment – that is where you start to see the real chal­lenges. For us, it is crit­i­cal be­cause we are com­mu­ni­cat­ing with peo­ple from all over the world. If we don’t have di­ver­sity, it [has an] im­pact on the work we do. A lot of com­pa­nies we talk to are di­verse, from all parts of the UK.”

Former KFC chief mar­ket­ing and in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer Jen­nelle Tilling added: “You have to have other ‘rock star’ women in your or­gan­i­sa­tion as a sup­port net­work. At [KFC owner] Yum! Brands, if a woman is go­ing on ma­ter­nity leave, we of­ten pro­mote them be­cause they go out feel­ing fan­tas­tic about their job.”

En­gage cre­ative tal­ent be­fore they leave school – show them that ad­ver­tis­ing is open to all

Some feel that a key chal­lenge is not hav­ing enough di­verse ap­pli­cants ap­ply­ing to the in­dus­try in the first place. There is a real need to ed­u­cate school chil­dren about ad­ver­tis­ing and send a key mes­sage that it’s open and holds plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for all kinds of peo­ple.

Jaume said: “Cre­ative de­part­ments are mer­i­to­cratic; I don’t know of any cases of peo­ple be­ing re­jected be­cause of prej­u­dices. We need to go back a few stages and tell schools about what we do so di­verse tal­ent comes to the in­dus­try. Speak­ers for Schools is a great way to do this.”

The UK char­ity he refers to helps state schools in­spire their stu­dents and broaden hori­zons by giv­ing them ac­cess to the in­sights, ex­pe­ri­ences and ex­per­tise of lead­ing fig­ures, in­clud­ing En­gine CEO Klein, through free talks and work­shops.

This is one key way lead­ers can fu­ture­proof the di­ver­sity of their work­forces.

Cre­ate work that re­flects the so­ci­ety we live in

It may take more time and ef­fort, but con­tent cre­ators must chal­lenge stereo­types and pro­duce work that re­flects mod­ern so­ci­ety.

En­gine’s re­cent “21st Cen­tury Woman” study found that 86% of women think brands de­pict a “stereo­typ­i­cal ex­is­tence”; 76% of UK women also feel brands don’t ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent them. This is a clear call for bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of gen­der di­ver­sity.

Mars’s re­cent Mal­te­sers ad, which de­picts sto­ries of young women with dis­abil­i­ties, is an ex­am­ple of a brand con­nect­ing with a typ­i­cally un­der-rep­re­sented group. Oliver said: “In our in­ter­nal sur­vey last year, be­fore

the ad, our peo­ple liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity were our least-en­gaged as­so­ci­ates. This year, fol­low­ing the ad, they are the sec­ond­most-en­gaged group – and we did noth­ing else other than cre­ate the Mal­te­sers ad.”

Ojo ex­plains that di­ver­sity in ad­ver­tis­ing doesn’t mean adding lim­i­ta­tions, but in­ject­ing in­tu­ition. “Sto­ry­telling is still num­ber one, and if we over-man­date we hand­cuff the cre­atives. But if it looks too far from the norm, peo­ple won’t con­nect with it. We need to judge it more in­tu­itively.”

Roberts’ call for greater equal­ity was in­spired by a Hol­ly­wood hit. “Com­ing from a pro­duc­tion per­spec­tive, the big thing for me is mak­ing sure we drive di­ver­sity be­hind the cam­era. The Won­der Woman phe­nom­e­non, for ex­am­ple – there was a lot of dis­cus­sion about it. It’s do­ing in­cred­i­bly well and is now ex­pected to change per­cep­tions of fe­male direc­tors. It’s an ex­am­ple of how one piece of work can change the en­tire men­tal­ity of an in­dus­try.”

Cham­pion a cul­ture change

When re­cruit­ing, some feel that di­ver­sity of­ten loses out to con­ve­nience. At­ti­tudes must change. Dimiziani said: “We’ve re­alised di­ver­sity mat­ters more than speed. In­ter­nally our di­verse val­ues are strong, but… there was dis­crim­i­na­tion hap­pen­ing on our plat­form. So we made it every­one’s job to cham­pion di­ver­sity. We have lots of un­con­scious-bias train­ing, and it is shock­ing to find out how bi­ased every­one is. Re­train­ing and cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence is crit­i­cal.”

Com­pany cul­ture is also chang­ing to fo­cus on re­ten­tion. John­son & John­son has an­nounced that it is of­fer­ing eight weeks full paid parental leave to all staff, glob­ally. It has also em­ployed a chief di­ver­sity of­fi­cer to pri­ori­tise and man­age di­ver­sity across the or­gan­i­sa­tion. “What peo­ple are we bring­ing in, how is that di­ver­sity shap­ing how peo­ple think – we need to think dif­fer­ently about where peo­ple are com­ing from,” said Ali­son Hather­all, the com­pany’s re­gional mar­ket­ing ex­cel­lence di­rec­tor.

On the agency side, En­gine has rolled out un­con­scious-bias train­ing for all its staff and in­tro­duced 50/50 gen­der short­lists for se­nior roles; it also of­fers pro­grammes to im­prove the rein­te­gra­tion process for em­ploy­ees re­turn­ing from parental leave.

Set tar­gets and plan a strat­egy to reach them

Many at the ta­ble felt real change is im­pos­si­ble with­out set­ting tar­gets. Most had al­ready set them – par­tic­u­larly to en­sure a sim­i­lar num­ber of men and women are con­sid­ered for roles.

En­gine’s global board is 50% women, but at the next tier down, this isn’t the case – so it has set a tar­get to have women as 50% of its top 10% by 2020. Klein said: “There’s a strong busi­ness im­per­a­tive and there’s more im­pe­tus if our clients are firmly be­hind it.”

Klein cited The 30% Club as a proof point for this. The gov­ern­ment-backed ini­tia­tive, de­signed to get more women into nonex­ec­u­tive board po­si­tions, set a tar­get of 30% when it launched in 2010; the num­ber of women on FTSE-100 boards has since risen from 12.5% to 27%.

Share your chal­lenges and how you’re tack­ling them

In­no­va­tors are driv­ing tan­gi­ble change on di­ver­sity; oth­ers have set clear goals. It’s key for or­gan­i­sa­tions to share, ed­u­cate and en­cour­age their peers to adopt ini­tia­tives and tar­gets that work.

Change won’t hap­pen overnight. Progress will.

Deb­bie Klein, CEO, En­gine Europe & Asia

Ukonwa Ojo, global se­nior VP, Cover­girl

Alex Dimiziani, global mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, Airbnb

(l-r) Michele Oliver, VP mar­ket­ing, Mars; Leon Jaume, ECD, WCRS

Jamila Saidi, di­rec­tor, GREAT Bri­tain cam­paign, Dept. for In­ter­na­tional Trade

Dave Roberts, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Trailer Park Lon­don

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