Diversity, equity and inclusion have become common buzzwords for anyone working in the media and marketing sector.
But are these buzzwords being put into action?
That’s the question Rachel Corbett investigates in the sixth episode of Rethink, a podcast by Think with Google.
Joining Corbett to discuss the value of diverse workplaces is Tara McKenty, who is a creative director at Google and the co-founder of RARE, a platform that helps drive diversity and inclusion in tech, media and creative industries.
“Diversity of perspective leads to better insights, better outcomes and simply better work,” McKenty says.
“When you’ve got a diverse set of people writing the ads and creating the advertising for our large, diverse set of audiences, the chances are it’s more likely that the creative is going to be relative, it’s going to reflect our audience bases and it’s going to make audiences and users feel affinity towards the products we’re selling, the services we’re selling and the brands that we’re trying to create.”
During the discussion, McKenty also dives into the word ‘diversity’ and its varied meaning.
“For me, the definition of diversity is two dimensional. The first dimension is inherent diversity. So it’s traits of diversity that you’re born with. So I describe myself as intersectional, I am LGBTQI and I’m a female working in a male-dominated industry,” she says.
“The second dimension of diversity is acquired diversity. So this is all of the things that happen to you along your life that change your perspective of the world.
“One example of acquired diversity that can also be inherent is people that live with a disability, some people are born with a disability and other people acquire it so that’s probably one that sits in between, that shifts your perspective of the world.”
… and inclusion
If diversity is seeking a wide range of opinions and backgrounds, what’s inclusion?
Speaking on the podcast, creative consultant and national head of AWARD school Karen Ferry points to a quote from diversity advocate Verna Meyers: “Diversity is inviting someone to the party. Inclusion is asking them to dance”.
And for diversity to be an effective force, our systems need to take an inclusive approach, Ferry argues.
“The way our systems work is that they favour people who are white or male or middle class, and they disfavour anyone who’s not,” she says.
“And that doesn’t mean that anyone who is favoured is a bad person. It just means that our systems don’t allow for people who are diverse minorities to excel in the same way that anyone else could.”
Specific to advertising, Ferry highlights how easily – and accidentally – an ad can exclude certain audiences.
“We leave coded messages through all our stuff. And a lot of that can sometimes come off as exclusionary,” she says.
She uses the example of an ad featuring nothing but white Australians living in federation houses.
“You might come from a background where none of those things are what you want,” she says.
“What it can do at its worst is then make people think this brand isn’t for me because they don’t understand me.”
Putting it in action
One example of diversity and inclusion being put into action in advertising is the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) 2016 Spring campaign.
Overseeing the creation of the ad was The Monkey’s creative director Barb Humphries.
“We set about casting the most diverse cast that we could and that was a really awesome and fun job to work on,” she says.
However, alongside the annual Spring campaign, the MLA has a usual 26 January ad.
To follow up the diversity ad, MLA went with a campaign that asked: “aren’t we all boat people?”
While the ad certainly has some humour, Humphries explains that acknowledging the sensitivities of the subject was one of the top priorities.
“They worked with Reconciliation Australia and various consultants on the concept,” she says.
“But also once they had the cast, they workshopped the dialogue with the cast and made sure that everybody felt comfortable saying the lines that they were saying in that situation.”
Humphries points to the need for creatives to be able to write from someone else’s perspective, but reveals how this campaign was one instance where this was not possible.
“There are certain subjects and occasions where it’s just not right to make it up in your own head and write about – certain issues that you maybe don’t have the best understanding of,” she says.
“The best intentions can land in the worst way.”
The SingularityU Australia Executive Program will take place this may, celebrating leadership at the intersection of the values of humanity and the value of technology. The Elon Musks, Apples and Xeros of the world are taking risks for humanity and creating new technologies that streamline and beautify business operations. They simplify life by providing basic […]
Brisbane media professional and former OMD Australia Account Director Taylor Fielding (pictured) has officially launched TFM Digital. TFM Digital is a specialist media agency based in Newstead which primarily provides media buying services, and strategy development, to businesses chiefly, but not exclusively, within the franchise sector. Prior to the launch of TFM Digital, Fielding spent […]
Judging by the hangovers in the B&T office today you can count yourself damn lucky we even managed this photo thingy.
Launch marketing specialists Five by Five Global have been appointed by FutureFeed to develop their brand, international certification trademark and go to market strategy. The innovative livestock feed ingredient developed by CSIRO, Meat and Livestock Australian and James Cook University uses a specific genus of seaweed, Asparagopsis, which significantly reduces methane emissions in ruminant livestock. […]
Andrew Knowles, partner and co-founder of the corporate communications consultancy Shoebridge Knowles Media Group (SKMG), has won the PR category in the 2021 B&T 30 Under 30 Awards. Knowles received the award at a ceremony in Sydney last night, claiming victory in a highly competitive field that included leading executives from some of Australia’s biggest […]
The AFL is delighted to welcome Therabody as its Official Recovery Partner of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Therabody’s industry-leading devices and research will be integrated into pre-match training and post-match recovery routines to help prevent injuries and help improve overall athletic performance. Therabody will also become the naming partner for the end-of-season AFL […]