The advertising industry has a distinct opportunity to influence culture by creating campaigns representative of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical ability. This same opportunity also makes it a target of quick criticism from consumers when the message falls flat or doesn’t land as expected.
But that shouldn’t deter creatives from being more inclusive and thinking about representation early on when an idea begins to take shape. During the Gender Equality Showcase at the recent CES tech show, media leaders shared solutions for changing the way we work and the need for systemic change centered on equity. Here are six ways the advertising industry can become more inclusive in 2022:
1. Make it a business imperative
If inclusion work is not seen as a core strategy, it will not be integrated into day-to-day processes, goals and expectations. It must be woven into everything an organization does to succeed, and not just on the shoulders of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) executive. Inclusion should be its own top-down business strategy.
2. Audit your ad campaigns
“A lot of brands think they’re doing a great job with diversity and representation in their advertising, until we did a ‘heat test’ and ingested all of a company’s advertising on a quarter, comparing it with its competitors to see how diverse it actually is,” says Nathan Young, strategy manager at Deloitte’s Ethos service, which helps clients implement DE&I initiatives. “And then the client is often surprised to find that it’s not as diverse as he thought.”
3. Diversify each layer of the production process
Who is behind the camera? Who produces the work? This is another layer that can provide additional authenticity and can inform the decisions leaders make to foster fairness. Review each layer of the production process. See who’s on board and the influence they have on the creation, script language, set design, choice of music and clothing worn. All of these things may seem minor, but the little nuances mean so much to those watching.