Marketing teams that are diverse and inclusive stand to gain a range of benefits, which extend from making smarter strategy to achieving greater impact among the communities a brand is seeking to reach.
Monique Nelson, CEO of UWG – an agency founded in 1969, with the goal of serving Black consumers following on from the civil rights movement – discussed this subject in a session on Lions Live, a digital-content platform run by Cannes Lions, a sister company of WARC.
And to achieve the optimal results, she reported, a team put together by an agency ideally “needs a little bit of everyone to come up with the best solution”. (A video of Nelson’s session can be viewed here. WARC subscribers can read a summary here.)
UWG, which is owned by WPP Group, has “an inclusive team that looks at the work through an inclusive lens,” Nelson said – an approach that draws on the unique perspective of its members.
“We lean on their life experiences that we infuse in our work. It makes our work powerful. It makes our work relevant. It makes our work impactful to the communities it’s supposed to reach,” she said.
The background of different team members is a critical element of this approach, and their knowledge of various aspects of marketing also plays a valuable role.
“One team member may have one vantage point, while another has a tremendous amount of experience in tech, or in shopper, or in overall experience design,” Nelson said.
In order to accrue the expansive benefits of diversity, she asserted that any marketing enterprise must make sure it affords every employee an equal, and meaningful, voice.
“It is so important that our workforce be diverse as well, that our work environments be inclusive, and that they really work on higher engagement and productivity,” she said.
“These are the tenants of an inclusive environment that will drive high impact, high productivity, and ultimately, overall, happier cultures.”
Jodeci Richards, senior copywriter/graphic designer at UWG/Chicago, added that openness and transparency is critical for enterprises that are joining the fight to tackle racial injustice.
“In this moment, people are looking for transparency. That’s what they want from brands. That’s what they want from their neighbors and from the people that they work with.”
Rather than solely being a numbers game, representation means that agencies need to “cultivate an environment that celebrates people of color,” continued Richards.
“You have to make sure that their voices actually can be heard … even in that small space. When we talk about accountability, it has to be from that angle of transparency … to make sure that there’s a level and a sense of justice” that enables every employee to feel celebrated.
Sourced from WARC