Why diversity of thought can only come from true diversity
Reaching, and engaging effectively, with others through written, audio and visual means is, at a very fundamental level, what our creative industries do. Whether we need to communicate to stakeholders on a corporate level or simply as consumers, doing this successfully is what ensures our industry’s continued commercial success.
However as PR, digital and advertising agencies and marketing teams across the country painstakingly agonise about the ‘human truth’ and possible creative communications platforms and tactics to support a brand brief – often the teams working on those briefs, signing off the creative or implementing the campaigns aren’t truly representative of the very target audiences they profess to know.
In fact, more often than not agencies and marketers are typically white, male, London-centric and University-educated.
According to the PRCA’s latest census figures, the PR industry is 89% white, while BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) employees make up just 11% of the 32,422 people working in the creative industries to date.
But if Brexit or Trump has taught us anything it’s not to underestimate or ignore the power of people who aren’t being catered for – whether that’s by Government, brands or businesses.
In this digitally-driven communications era, it’s absolutely critical that communications have genuine resonance with a diverse and rapidly changing ‘public’.
A fact underlined by The Creative Industries Federation which states that at least 17.8% of the UK creative industries should be black, Asian and other non-white minority ethnic if they were to reflect the population and therefore be effective. This also goes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds – currently a whopping 81% of the industry holds undergraduate degrees.
But the reality is that as an industry and a profession, we are simply deceiving ourselves if we believe we truly understand how ‘the other half live’, if we’re not in fact, the other half.
My belief is that this is not just about social justice, but also about commercial realities of harnessing talent. If the creative industries are to thrive, we must champion diversity of thought within the industry and this has to start with improving diversity of talent within our businesses.
At Cirkle, we know that just like the majority of comms agencies out there, we’ve also got a way to go before our team truly reflect the audiences we are communicating to on behalf of our clients’ brands. However it’s a work in progress that we’re passionately committed to as part of our ‘Influence in the Round’ proposition.
This is why we have partnered with Creative Access, a not-for-profit social enterprise which aims to address this diversity gap by helping young people from BAME backgrounds to make their way in creative industries. It does this by joining creative organisations and young people together for ‘London living wage’ paid training opportunities.
We’re pleased to say we’re working with Creative Access this summer as part of our ‘Experience in the Round’ programme – finding more diverse talent for our business – and will be making this an ongoing commitment. We’ll be looking to fill a placement for three months (June to August) and would encourage other forward-thinking creative businesses to do the same to support such a worthwhile initiative.
For further information on Cirkle’s placement or Creative Access go to https://creativeaccess.org.uk/