In 2020 we’ve seen the world step up to spotlight systemic racism and the beginnings of a revolution for change for Black and Brown communities.
During this time, we have been reflecting and have identified that there is an immediate two-fold problem:
- Brand responses are more performative than revolutionary, lacking the infrastructure in place to authentically comment on anti-racism
- The communications industry is still nowhere near being representative of the communities it serves
Black Lives Matter has impacted everyone, everywhere, in different ways meaning that communication is not a one-size-fits-all. This is where we can help but only if we address the problems, we know we face.
As brands all over the world rethink internal and external strategies to acknowledge anti-racism, we have a responsibility to help clients commit to long-term change and be accountable for that change. We have a shared goal to ensure that communications consider and include all communities.
How will we do it
By following five commitments in brand marketing we believe we can help clients communicate effectively and authentically with diverse audiences, not just in the immediate term but forever.
Listen – We can’t assume the opinions of others, instead, we need to listen to them – to do that we’ll change the way we commission research to ensure that it is representative of all communities
Learn – To be part of the change our clients want to promote, we’ve got some learning to do. Where possible we’ll partner with relevant organisations to help us understand the biggest impacts facing Black and Brown communities today and what we and our clients do to address them
Plan – Every piece of work we put forward to clients and prospects will include ideas that positively impact Black and Brown communities
Test – Go beyond lip service and execute campaigns that have a tangible impact on Black and Brown communities. We’ll call for anonymous comments from around the business to pressure test our ideas before we activate them
Repeat – We can’t fix racism and inequality with one campaign, we need to constantly evaluate our progress and get better. To do this we’ll put in place rigorous measurement to show the true impact that our work is having on different communities.
We know that consistency is key and whilst these matters are more prevalent in the parts of our agency that work with consumer audiences, we will also ensure that they apply across all of the work we do at FleishmanHillard in London.
Christina Peach, Brand and Inclusion Specialist
A word below from head of Brand & Consumer Culture, EMEA, Lauren Winter
I thought being BAME meant I knew more. And being the head of brand meant I was more culturally in tune and therefore that was enough. But as I now wholeheartedly know…it’s not been.
I remembered when I saw Paris is Burning – an old boss sat me down aged 18 and made me watch it. It made me realise that I don’t see that enough or consistently put it into practice myself with my team. It’s not enough just to be culturally aware, you must culturally commit too. I need to be better at enabling those parts of culture that feel suppressed.
Voguing, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Carnival and so much more. I worry at times in my career I’ve emulated this culture rather than give it its own platform as I tell my team and brands to do today. I will do better.
Too often the way we live in spending circles means change is frequent but transient. The commitment to change must be consistent.
All of us in the leadership team – across all the work we do at FleishmanHillard in London, have made that commitment. And to that end here’s mine and my team’s pledge and we appreciate your support in working with us to uphold these.
And to that end here’s mine and my team’s pledge and we appreciate your support in working with us to uphold these:
- We will partner with minority voices and groups to enable their voice, locally and mindfully
- My team will now write black with an upper-case B in recognition of Black culture
- When the noise dies down and a movement occurs our efforts will not stop and this pledge will be upheld and reviewed quarterly.
- We will review the suppliers we work with to ensure there is a clear balance – from influencers to production teams and partners
- We will ask clients to donate to local causes who benefit from their voice
- We will use photography and images that accurately represent the diverse nature of our society
- We will divert marketing spend away from self-promoting awards and to diverse initiatives that need backing
- We will review our Residency programme which aims to bring a diverse and representative pool of talent into the agency through unbiased job applications from those with no formal academic qualifications
- We will refrain from using terms like ‘urban’ and ’street’ or allowing products or brands to be categorised that way when working with us
- We will ban all language such as whitewashing, blacklisted and anything that assumes one colour is better than the other
- We will invite our staff, clients and our Residents to a quarterly debate under the umbrella of awkward conversations to ensure that all creatives are inclusive
- We will advise clients to shift spend away from platforms enabling hate speech and refund money back into communities via local creatives
This is just the start – please join us as we strive to do better
“As individuals, we all view the world through the lens of our own experience. It takes self-awareness to realize that our view isn’t the only view. It takes intentionality to actively engage with different perspectives to foster inclusion and belonging. And it takes courage to admit that the work of achieving and sustaining change never ends – we all have to do our part and keep doing it. Let’s start here and let’s start now.” – Emily Graham, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, True Mosaic Lead
It’s time to rethink how you see the world