Tiffany R. Warren, Founder of AdColor (Credit: 2011 ADCOLOR Industry Conference)
by Macala Wright from Why This Way
At the 2011 ADCOLOR Industry Conference this weekend, top executives from entertainment studios and advertising agencies gathered to discuss business trends that are reshaping advertising landscape. The biggest topic: fostering diversity in the workplace that cultivates company creativity.
Did you know that 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies are male run and only seven percent of CEOs are women, from a minority background or gay/lesbian? A panel of experts that featured Laurences Boschetto of Draffcb, Ester Franklin of Starcom Mediavest Group, Pawan J. Mehra of Améredia, Aldo Quenvdeo of Disete and Steve Stoute of Tranlsation, based upon the current statistics, panelists said companies must learn to “just say no to exclusion.”
According to Pawan J. Kehra of Améredia, “While many companies and agencies say that they are advocates of diversity in their workplaces, many of them are failing to implement programs that actually make their organizations culturally diverse.”
Companies are finding it hard to transition to a multi-cultural platform because C-Suite executives are apprehensive to give up traditional management principles and replace them with more innovates ones. Panelists encouraged companies to have their executives take photos of employees at every level in the organization. They asked them to put the photos of the C-Suite, management teams, directors, administrative staff and the mailroom up on a bulletin board and assess what they saw.
If executives find that there is a lack of cultural diversity, they need to ask themselves why and work to implement diversity programs, letting those programs run for a period of least 12 months to see how the changes that occur impact their companies. What’s more interesting is that many marketers infer that the lack of multicultural diversity in the workplace can in fact be a reason why certain companies are failing to market to consumers in niche online markets.
Panelists also cited that agencies are unwilling lose revenue by investing in partnerships with smaller, multicultural focused agencies that can help the deliver on client campaigns. Instead, agencies are attempting to market minorities on their own through in-house hires. This practice isn’t leading to successful results. Panelist Steve Stoute said the only way for agencies to draw candidates to in-house system is for companies to start moving their business model to a multi-cultural platform.
Panelists and audience participants feel that diversity in the workplace is going to be a critical success factor for creating consumer dialogues with multicultural audiences.