Kiranpreet Kaur (main photo) is head of client and strategic services at Archibald Williams and a 30 Under 30 judge. Here, Kaur talks about the important industry learnings from sifting through the nominations…
This year, I was asked to be a judge for B&T’s 30 under 30. And so, over the course of a couple of weeks, I reviewed entries from a number of applicants across a particular field – not going to lie, it was exhausting, but I’ve come out the other side with some insight, which has led to a dose of perspective, and I’m grateful for that.
You see, as I went through multiple entries to judge them this year, I noticed a trend in the responses to the question, “what do you think needs to be improved in our industry and why?”
I saw the same words come up from one entry to another…
While some entrants were more eloquent with their responses than others, they were all essentially saying the same thing. So, I found myself initially thinking, “oh god, here’s the same answer, again, and again, and again,” forcing me to obviously be reminded of the scenes from Miss Congeniality around every pageant queen saying the typical answer to what our society needs: “world peace.”
But then, I stopped myself and thought, wait a second. Just because it’s been said so many times, doesn’t mean it’s not true. In fact, why am I not seeing the repetition of this subject and the fact that it’s being called out in volume for what it should be seen as in this scenario? The next generation (and the best of them, for that matter), are identifying a clear problem in our industry. It really can’t get any more obvious.
This should come as no surprise to me – this past year, our agency has been involved in a number of research and strategic projects which identify that the young people of today (well, millennials aren’t that young anymore, but them and younger) are standing behind causes and fighting the big fight. Whether it’s socio-economic issues, issues of equality, race or the environment, they are passionate about them. And fair enough, there’s a lot going on right now, and social media has made it nearly impossible for anyone to ignore what is happening around the world.
Arguably, in human history, the revolutions and changes were always brought on by the liberal thinkers – by that, I mean, the writers, the poets, the artists. And in today’s commercially driven society, the other mobiliser and influencer in change and action is commerce. And being the amalgamation of both, our industry, the communications and media industry, is perhaps currently best positioned with the power to influence perceptions and mobilise change.
I chose this career, and have enjoyed it thus far, because I genuinely believe that the media and communications industry sits in an extremely pivotal and strategic role in society. The fact is that we can’t sit around when it comes to these very real issues, and that’s within our own offices and through the role we play in society.
For years, I’ve joked about the fact that I can probably stake claim on being the only turbaned woman in our industry in the world. I really hope that isn’t the case by the time my career is over. Representation and diversity isn’t just important to me because it’s a strong reality for me, but because it affects so many others. And social awareness is our responsibility. We are the mobilisers of change, whether we like it or not, and it’s time we don’t shy away from it. I have the entrants of B&T’s 30 under 30 to thank for reminding me of this.
For me, this year, while many issues have been extremely important, the ones that I’ve taken my time out to support include movements such as #blacklivesmatter, local environmental impact, corporate gender equality and the #farmersprotests.
I encourage our industry – on an individual basis, or through the platforms you carry in your offices and with your clients – to discuss these issues more openly and bring together the brilliant minds of our industry to help solve them, in even the smallest way.
After all, even Sandra Bullock had to end on “world peace” because, well, let’s face it, it’s not like we’ve solved that one just yet either!
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