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Advertising business DEI

Calls for diversity and inclusion in the advertising business

The importance of diversity, equality and inclusion in the advertising business is stressed by the World Federation of Advertisers and by PubMatic´s chief revenue officer EMEA who in a new blog post is stressing that diversity and inclusion should be a cross-industry effort. The world federation has published a Global Diversity and Inclusion Charter identifying 11 main action areas.

Emma Newman, chief revenue officer, EMEA at digital advertising technology company PubMatic writes at IAB Europe’s website that if the media industry wants to make real progress around diversity and inclusion, review is needed of every layer of the advertising process to ensure that inclusion is part of the conversation at all organizations involved in delivering advertising and at every level of those organizations.

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”Good policy setting starts with gathering data and insights into the opinions, perspectives, and expectations across your organization, at all levels – especially what is needed to make your business equally accessible to everyone. As you develop DE&I policies and processes, make sure you build robust measurement strategies that enable you to compare and contrast progress across all departments, at all levels, as well as across all genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and physical abilities that are appropriate to your business.”

”Give this data the value it deserves, treat it in the same way you treat your revenue data – make it front and centre of your business. This level of transparency and accountability generates authentic, sustainable, meaningful change.”

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”There is a genuine desire for change across the industry and that desire comes from a positive place. We need to extrapolate this and be kind to ourselves and each other and understand that we might use the wrong words or do the wrong thing but we’re trying to do something positive, we just don’t quite always know how best to do this. But it’s from failure that we learn that we can educate others, and be truly transformative.”

The World Federation of Advertiser´s charter identifies 11 main action areas, four at a leadership level, six to tackle challenges faced by specific groups who have been found to have a worse lived experience, and one around mental health.

Actions for Leadership:

  1. Create a diverse leadership team: Where groups are not represented, leadership must have strategies for short-term progress and beyond.
  2. Understand and democratise your company’s data: Leaders need to understand the data of inclusion: who is being promoted at every level and what barriers are holding particular groups back.
  3. Create transparent policies and publish them: Organisations must strengthen anti-discrimination policies and be transparent in policies, expectations of leaders and employees, and how to escalate situations when needed.
  4. Create psychological safety and support: Genuinely safe spaces allow employees to speak up candidly. Companies must invest in qualified facilitation for these spaces and have clear rules of engagement.

Actions to support Underrepresented Groups:

  • Age: Providing continued coaching, mentoring, and career development for experienced and younger employees alike shows the organisation is committed to supporting and retaining all forms of talent, irrespective of age.
  • Caregiving: Ensuring that decision-maker roles include leaders with caregiving responsibilities – for the young, but also for the elderly and the sick – can both serve as a positive example to others and encourage the adoption of flexible policies. Adding emergency caregiver support to employer benefits plans can actively support those with caregiving responsibilities.
  • Gender: Businesses need to understand and improve women’s lived experiences. Support plans need to be tailored to the cultural differences and employment conditions in each market, so that women feel valued and provided with sufficient support to progress their careers.
  • Race and ethnicity: Creating programs and spaces specifically designed to support and empower ethnic minorities helps show commitment and progress to populations that usually report poorer lived experiences.
  • Disability and neurodivergence: Businesses should prioritise actions which help normalise and improve understanding of all forms of disability. Accessibility needs must be discovered and accommodated as part of the employee onboarding experience.
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity: Companies must have policies in place to protect but also support LBGTQ+ employees. Benefits including pay, bonuses, parental leave, health insurance should be explicitly available to same-sex couples. Non-binary identifying employees should have their chosen identity recognised.

Action on Mental Health:

  • Providing and continually promoting mental health benefits so that they are accessible and top of mind is important. People managers should be trained in how to respond to mental health issues and have supportive discussions around mental health with employees.
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