In an effort to lift the levels of diversity across the marketing, advertising and communications industry, the Commercial Communications Council (CCC) has formed a Diversity and Inclusiveness Council.
The purpose of the council is to enhance the relevance and competitiveness of New Zealand’s advertising, marketing and communications industry by championing the benefits of diversity on creative thinking and commercial outcomes. It will also support members to develop greater diversity at all levels of their organisations.
Chair of the Diversity and Inclusiveness Council Megan Clark says there’s an interesting focus on improving the levels of diversity in the industry and beyond.
"The benefits of achieving this for our people and teams, industry and clients are irrefutable. Greater diversity provides access to broader talent delivering creative advantage, greater innovation, improved decision-making and higher returns for shareholders.”
However, before improvements can be made, the council has launched a diversity and inclusiveness survey in order to better understand the current state of diversity in the industry and set a benchmark.
Clark says the council acknowledges that achieving greater diversity is a journey and organisations are at different stages so participating in the survey is a great starting point. It will allow for an understanding of the current landscape, for progression to be tracked and areas that need improving to be identified.
“We’re under no illusions – this is not a quick overnight fix. While there are some practical steps that we can all take now to improve diversity, achieving sustainable, lasting impact will take ongoing commitment to change and some time,” she says.
As part of the CCC’s commitment to lifting levels of diversity, it’s partnered with Diversity Works New Zealand to give members access to research, tools and events at a discounted rate.
Chief executive of the CCC Paul Head says diversity is not a challenge for the marketing, advertising and communications industry alone and given Diversity Works’ work in the area, it’s an opportunity not to waste.
“It made sense to tap into this to enable our industry to build understanding and equip ourselves to take practical steps to improve levels of diversity,” he says.
“Adapting our business models to remain relevant and representative of our clients and audiences is key to our industry’s future success and is also critical in attracting the best talent.”
According to Statistics New Zealand projections, by 2038, 51 percent of all New Zealanders will be will be Asian, Maori and Pasifika. In Auckland today, almost 50 percent of the population is Maori, Asian and Pacific peoples; 44 percent of people were not born in New Zealand, and there are over 200 ethnicities, and 160 languages spoken.
At the end of 2015, StopPress spoke to Nick Siu, director at The Agency 88—a consultancy agency focused on the relationship between Asia and the West—who said there’s money to be spent in the Asian population and there is an opportunity to capture it. However, in order to do so, he said brands need to gain an understanding of the different cultures.
“[Brands] should be brave enough to really truly understand who their audience is in terms of that Asia consumer segment and then how their brand can make a genuine connection with those people and their communities.”
That understanding could come from diversifying the makeup of agencies and in the latest issue of NZ Marketing, Phantom Billstickers’ Kasmira Swepershad said she would like to see more diversity in senior management roles.
“It adds a different perspective and a richness. The people we’re talking to in advertising and marketing campaigns are not all the same, so why do we have all of the same types of people high up making the big decisions on what’s right and what works? ” she said.
According to research from Deloitte, companies in the top quartile of ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to financially outperform their industry and those in the top quartile of gender diversity are 15 percent more like to financially outperform their industry.
Speaking about gender diversity to NZ Marketing, Contagion creative director Bridget Taylor said: “We’re different. Males and females are socialised slightly differently and therefore bring different experiences to the table. I think this creates a balance of emotion, understanding, humour and ultimately stronger communication. So mixed teams are often stronger.”
Tasked with championing those benefits is the council chair, Clark, who is the managing director of Copper Brand Experiences, and adviser Kate Smith, who director at KS Consulting. Other council members include:
- Ains Baguion, group client service manager, Amnet
- Ben Dufty, head of HR, FCB
- Adelle Keely, chief executive, Acumen Republic
- Rachel Morgan, managing partner, Colenso BBDO
- Kim Pick, creative director, Colenso BBDO
- Karen Sew Hoy, HR director, DDB
- Bonnie Shum, senior account manager, J. Walter Thompson
Megan Clark, Kim Pick, Rachel Morgan, Kate Smith, Ben Dufty
Adelle Keely, Karen Sew Hoy, Bonnie Shum, Ains Baguion
More Diversity – key facts
- Goldman Sachs estimates that closing the gender gap would boost New Zealand’s GDP by 10 percent.
- Companies with female board members are 26 percent more profitable than companies with all-male boards.
- NZX listed companies have been required to report gender breakdown for their board directors and top office holders since 2013 and from October this year, they are required to have a diversity policy or explain why not in their annual reports.