“There is a tremendous opportunity to drive better representation and more equitable outcomes by ensuring inclusion is at the heart of the work. That requires collaboration, commitment and consistency.
Systemic barriers that contribute to the continued exclusion of global communities need to be challenged. As an industry, we need to consider where we may imprint our own biases into decision-making. We at LIONS are no exception. It’s why we have been working with The Unmistakables to identify critical areas of improvement in DE&I both with an internal and external focus.
There is no shortcut. It’s an uncomfortable and challenging process, where we must detox our egos and hold a genuine belief that solidarity and allyship are important. However, when we get it right, customers and colleagues alike feel seen and heard. The outcomes of that are immeasurable.
This report is not a mandate but a tool that helps to illustrate why creativity through the lens of inclusion has the potential to more closely align with society’s values whilst driving positive change.”
Frank Starling VP, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion LIONS
Asad Dhunna CEO and Founder, The Unmistakables
“Advertising paints a world, so what you put out has to reflect what’s inside. Agencies need to build their cultural confidence by changing their internal systems and structures. Yet despite a visible shift towards diversity in output – which people are picking up on – brands are at risk of 'woke-washing' from a general public that is increasingly divided and cautious of what they see in the media today.
Brands need to understand their 'right to play'. This is made up of having the correct conditions to authentically reach and represent an audience. To do that, equity, diversity and inclusion must evolve beyond training and one-off statements and exercises to wholesale systems change. The client partners we work with share that ambition. They realise that, in order to stay relevant and future-proof, they need to review and adapt many deep-seated beliefs and ways-of-working – both on an individual level as leaders, and at a collective level as responsible organisations.”
“Inclusion is the hardest part of DEI and it’s the part that we spend the least amount of time truly understanding. Ultimately, most people are masking because they’re trying to adopt the norms of corporate culture in how they speak, dress and act. What that does in creative industries is stifle different thinking, creative ideas and unexpected moments. For those that are succeeding, they are getting thinking and ideas that are truly surprising clients and pushing partners and organisations to create work that is representative of the real world rather than the majority who have been in our industry for decades. That work is truly progressive.”
Jo-ann Robertson CEO Global Markets, Ketchum, Jury President, PR Lions 2023