A view by Jerry Daykin, Media Director at GSK Consumer Healthcare
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Our content reaches billions of people every day; we can use that reach to positively challenge social expectations. Diversity doesn’t have to be the main subject of an advertisement – casually improving representation across your output helps to normalise diverse communities and reflects the world without virtue signalling.
Every company has people working within it who are passionate about these issues. Seek out advocates in your workforce, whether they have a personal stake in a certain community or are strong allies. Make them your consultants on your diversity and inclusion policies.
From there, there are myriad ways diversity can reach beyond the marketing bubble. Getting the C-suite to promote your initiatives will have an invaluable effect at galvanising everyone else in the company in a trickle-down effect. For individuals in companies looking to do even more beyond their siloes, there are plenty of industry-based groups you can be active in, such as Outvertising, Bloom and the Conscious Advertising Network, to name just a few in the UK. If there aren’t any such activist groups in your region, now is a better time than any to start your own.
As funders of the internet ecosystem, we also have a responsibility to ensure that our corporate activities are not unintentionally excluding diverse voices. When we first discovered the internet’s capability to spread hate speech and false information, the understandable kneejerk reaction was to reinforce blocklists to prevent our brands from appearing next to harmful content.
But the technology did not take context into account and, in some blunt cases, deprived anything with so much as a mention of ‘lesbian’, ‘Muslim’, or ‘Asian’ of ad support. We don’t want our brand safety actions to unintentionally stifle the voices of independent news outlets or those that engage with and report on the communities we claim to be supporting. Where possible, seek out opportunities to actively include such minority voices in your media plans, through partners like Brand Advance.
Be deliberate with everything you do and do not be afraid to make mistakes as our industry and the technology that powers media delivery makes the journey towards iclusion.