UK advertising and media leaders have issued an open letter calling on the industry to address inequality and take action against racism following the death of George Floyd. The letter asks advertising leaders to support talent of colour and to hold the industry accountable in 10 ways.
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In the letter, the signatories ask industry leaders to take action and hold themselves acccountable in the following 10 ways:
- Empower leaders and boards to drive representation and inclusivity by being a core part of the leadership team’s strategic priorities with clear KPIs, actions and objectives, transparently communicated. Deeply understand and monitor the data of your company and understand what goes on within it.
- Senior leaders must step up, speak out and take action. All leaders need to acknowledge the escalating racism of the last few months in town halls and company wide gatherings, in order to open this conversation in their organisations. Leaders should use their company channels to share links, information, resources and black-driven research.
- Enable employees to understand their own privileges (and what white privilege means) and their biases to help them become accountable allies and activists.
- Call out racism whenever it is encountered. Everyone is responsible for this, from the CEO to all staff across your organisation. Implement an incident management plan or refer to your equality policy for guidance. Building trust creates solidarity in the workforce and provides a psychologically safe space to work. This can allow for issues such as micro-aggressions (subtle acts of discrimination) to be addressed.
- Create safe and inclusive spaces to have open and frank conversations about racism with everyone in attendance. Use these to promote active advocacy and open dialogue for both black talent and allies.
- Use existing employee resource groups, such as WPP’s Roots, Publicis Group’s Embrace or for those without networks, assemble ad-hoc forums now such as Publicis Sapient’s ‘Brave Spaces’.
- ‘Check the make-up of your own circle and seek out different points of view,’ as recommended by WPP U.K. Country Manager & CEO GroupM UK, Karen Blackett OBE.
- Check-in with black employees - particularly if you are a leader or line manager.
- Represent at every level and most importantly, on your leadership team: welcome, promote, champion, and celebrate black employees. Commit to amplifying and elevating black talent, working with black-owned businesses and supply chains.
- Examine your preferred supplier’s list. Ensure your advertising isn’t funding white supremacy or racist content.
To read the entire letter click here.