White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

We Must Diversify in Order to Disrupt

Over the past decade, we have seen tremendous strides in advertising diversity, from gender to religious beliefs. However, let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet. There is still so much room for more progress in attaining equal representation of these marginalized groups.

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today. Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

Why Agencies Benefit from Increasing Diversity in their Workforce

At its most rudimentary level, advertising and marketing campaigns are meant to capture the attention of audiences. We do that by creating content that is relatable and strikes a universal chord. For minority demographics, we believe the best way to create content that resonates is to let them tell the story.

Agencies without a diverse staff are more limited in their understanding of their various target audiences.

With so many talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, why should we make our jobs harder by excluding their voices? We should embrace a breadth of perspectives as a way to stimulate industry progression and inclusivity.

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As Pepsi Co. Executive Brad Jakemen puts it, “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogenous groups of people. Quite the opposite. They come from collections of people with different life experiences coming together with a different perspective on the world. Different ages, races, sexual orientations trying to solve a problem from a different standpoint.”

Brands Pushing for Change

A few brands – including Pepsi Co., Verizon, HP, General Mills ­– have spearheaded this initiative by pressuring their agencies to hire diverse individuals. They’ve asked agencies to propose plans for how they will boost representation at all levels within their workforce.

The SMO for Verizon, Diego Scotti commented in a New York Times article that, “Marketers are expected to have a deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision makers and about customers. We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our workforce and suppliers represent the communities we serve.”

We at CerconeBrown applaud the steps these brands are taking, but recognize there is still progress to be made. When new and unique perspectives are brought into the creative process, everyone wins.