Inclusive marketing is just better marketing
Inclusive marketing isn’t just a sideline or a charity project, it’s just better marketing, says Jerry Daykin, Vice-President, Global Media at Beam Suntory, and WFA’s Global Diversity Ambassador.
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As a WFA Diversity Ambassador, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing from and working with some of the best minds in marketing to try to make our industry and its output more inclusive.
Increasingly we’ve heard that companies understand how important this is and are trying to drive this change in their businesses, but that that journey is not always easy.
One of the key insights is that the changes we need to make aren’t always dramatic, but they require us to have empathy and think outside of our own personal experiences right across the marketing (and HR) process.
Last year the WFA Diversity Task Force built on this concept and created the Guide to potential areas for bias in the creative process. The Guide broke the creative process down into 12 stages, from the briefing through the actual go live. At each stage it highlights some of the opportunities for inclusion and many of the key questions we should be asking to ensure we aren’t accidentally excluding or ignoring consumers.
It’s been fantastic to see many companies roll out the guide as part of their own internal capabilities. At my old company GSK Consumer Health (now Haleon), for instance, it’s been turned into an eLearning and capability tool teams can access.
Asking ourselves more questions at every stage of the process is critical and some of those experiences are distilled in Inclusive Marketing, a book which looks to guide us all towards more diverse and representative marketing, building on the work we’d been doing at the WFA. The proposal to write this book came when I had a few months’ garden leave between roles, and I naively thought it would be an easy way of keeping my brain ticking during that time.
It quickly emerged, of course, that no one has all the answers, least of all me. To some extent, they are unique to every marketing challenge and brief and, even more crucially, the answers require a broad range of perspectives based on different understandings and life experiences.
With that insight, I set about interviewing two dozen intersectional marketers representing different brands and sides of our industry.
Each of them opened up to me on why the topic of representation and inclusion mattered to them personally, and some of the work they’ve done in this space. Crucially, each of them dug into a different part of the marketing process to get into the weeds of what we really need to do to achieve inclusion.
What are the steps you can take right from the start in your brief? How do you plan to make your product or advert truly more inclusive and not just tokenism? What goes on in the actual production and postproduction process that can leave inclusion on the cutting room floor? And when you launch, how does your media plan itself deliver inclusion, and how do you respond as consumers react to your work?
The book is out globally and available through Kogan Page and Amazon – but spoiler alert: it will still push you to ask more questions than it fully answers.
The original Guide to Potential Areas for Bias in the Creative Process is still available for free on the WFA website, alongside an additional deeper dive into the opportunities within Media.
Over the coming weeks, in partnership with Campaign, we’ll also be putting up videos of some of the interviews from the book onto the WFA YouTube channel, so stay tuned – starting with marketing professor Mark Ritson and my co-Diversity Ambassador Belinda Smith, from The Second Arrow, which you can already watch below.