The ongoing global efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement are highlighting, now more than ever, the fact that – across all industries – diversity and inclusion need to be actively championed, and implemented, as a matter of urgency. In its proprietary diversity ad score test, the findings of which were released in November of last year, the Deloitte Digital-owned agency Heat proved that the positive impact of truly inclusive advertising on a business’s bottom line is indisputable, while simultaneously revealing how much work there is still to be done.
In an enlightening article for Campaign US, Heat’s senior strategist Lindsay Wade shared some of the test’s more disparaging facts and figures to emphasise the areas that desperately require change. “92% of the companies surveyed “portrayed an ad with a person of color in a primary role, but less than half were in positions of power,” she observed, proving, as ever, that token gestures of inclusion are simply not enough.
Thankfully, there is a plethora of global organisations and resources working to support marginalised groups within the creative, advertising and marketing industries and to assist agencies in the implementation of diverse and inclusive workplace practices. Here, we’ve compiled a list of ten of the best we’ve come across – focussing, for this blog post, more specifically on multicultural representation – to accelerate our collective journey towards self-improvement, because, in the words of the politician and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, “Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness; it is the key to growth.”
American Advertising Federation
The American Advertising Federation is dedicated to protecting and promoting wellbeing within the US advertising industry. It has created “a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs and college chapters” for the purpose, and actively champions diversity, while bringing its members together to “deliver creative business solutions”. A great starting point for those looking to cultivate a more mindful and inclusive working environment for their staff.
The Other Box
The The Other Box is a brilliant, award-winning organisation, based in London, devoted to increasing diversity in the creative industries, and celebrating people of color and from other underrepresented backgrounds. It achieves this by working strategically with international companies on diversity and inclusion. This includes training and workshops, collaborating with brands on partnerships and campaigns, and supporting a community of nearly 3,000 talented creatives “to create real, long-lasting change”.
New York-based stock image agency Tonl offers a vast array of culturally diverse stock photography, representative of “the true world we live in”, as well as platforming the stories behind many of the images and their makers. In the words of Tonl’s founders, the Nigerian-American social entrepreneur Karen Okonkwo and Ghanaian-American photographer and creative entrepreneur Joshua Kissi, “Our voices and visibility matter… We wanted to challenge the stale, homogenous look of traditional stock photography by showcasing the many ethnic backgrounds of everyday people.”
GapJumpers is a company dedicated to helping clients better their existing workplace practices with regards to diversity, while maximizing ROI along the way. Through specialist consultations, GapJumpers offer a diagnosis of a company’s current working methods, identifying areas for improvement and the best corrective measures to achieve this. Other available solutions include a platform to allow a blind hiring process by removing the potential for unconscious bias (much like the Blendoor app); while its “growth mindset” assessments and workshops help to ensure that employees are inspired to realise their own and collective potential.
The UK members collective POCC began as a small WhatsApp group in 2018. Since then, it has blossomed into a flourishing community of “creative, like-minded people working in advertising, media, fashion, arts, film and photography, with a mission to accelerate equality”. Created by POC, for POC, it is a space for creatives to celebrate their wins, share their frustrations and “use that energy positively to bring about change”.
The Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing
The AIMM was founded in 2016, with the aim of creating “a movement that reflects a world of acceptance by celebrating difference and highlighting human truths that unite us.” Its members have access to a plethora of industry-leading research, webinars, conferences and training schemes that tackle inclusivity and “the tough issues affecting today’s marketing industry” in America, as well as an excellent database of qualified diverse talent and pre-screened college interns and entry-level positions.
Livity is a future consultancy and creative studio on a mission to “design a better future” – one that’s “sustainable, purpose-driven and inclusive for all”. For almost two decades, it has successfully linked organisations with its international network of diverse, next-generation talent – spanning young creatives, entrepreneurs, and thinkers – as well as working with clients on the co-design of future-facing services, products and brands.
BAME2020 is a new, UK-based program working towards ensuring that 20% of the new recruits that enter the marketing and communications industry each year come from BAME backgrounds, and that 20% of leadership roles are represented by BAME talent. BAME2020’s team of ambassadors and advisers is made up of both established role models and rising stars within the industry, all of whom are devoted to showcasing “the many and varied career paths inside the sector and shining a light on BAME success stories” to young people and businesses alike. The program will publish case studies and measures of successes annually to inspire like-minded global initiatives and promote long-term sustainable change.
ThisAbility was founded by Sulaiman Khan, a British wheelchair user, who, after for several years working in the creative industries, grew tired of “not seeing anyone else like him”. The trailblazing company is dedicated to serving both disabled creatives and “those who work in fields where the talent of this creativity is missing” through an array of targeted events and consultancy work, as well as its various social media platforms.
For those in the US, AdColor, like BAME2020, is a “community of diverse professionals [that exists] to support and celebrate one another.” Their goal is twofold: to help individuals and organizations to rise through the ranks of the advertising world, thereafter teaching these “new leaders and would-be mentors how to reach back and find others who deserve to be noticed and promoted”.