Before I do, I recently went to a WPP event, 'The Consumer Equality Equation' at The Sea Containers to listen to an invigorating panel by Karen Blackett OBE (WPP President), Shelina Janmohamed (VP of Islamic marketing at Ogilvy Marketing), Rahul Titus (global head of influence at Ogilvy) and Chris Ladd (head of media at Nationwide), on why brands should care about ethnicity and why it matters for business success. WPP has been working on a report over the last two years that utilises the most comprehensive dataset and insights to date in the UK to deliver a fresh, multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of the individual, brands and society.
I wrote about the importance of intersectionality a few articles back and this report dissects and outlines exactly why collectivist terms pose a challenge, and the importance to recognise minority ethnic groups and beyond to create nuanced and authentic recognition of communities in the UK within advertising.
I was in stat heaven, you know I love a stat. Here’s some takeaways:
82% of respondents say that brands play an important role in shaping Britain’s culture (BAV). And 80% of respondents agree that brands nowadays have a responsibility to reflect modern Britain (BAV).
Anyways, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Advocacy was a theme that kept coming up in conversation with my trailblazers, whether it’s been someone championing them or them supporting others.
I asked Lydia Amoah, speaker, coach, consultant and author and creator behind The Black Pound Report, to describe a defining moment in her career; she worked for an events management company, where she was the only Black woman and had to deal with remarks like “go make a cuppa tea Lydia, that's what you’re good for”. She knew she deserved better, she got coaching (“it felt like layers were being stripped off me”) and asked for what she wanted. It was only after a client that worked for Sony/PlayStation recognised her skills and ambition and pointed her out to the founder of the company that she was given the promotion, but eventually left the business a few years later to start working for herself.
This is a two-pronged attack on advocacy. Advocacy was flanking Lydia, she backed herself and another woman backed her too. Lydia would now like to go on to help 16-25 year olds. “I want to do something with young people because if I don’t hand this experience down, then it’s a waste, ” she says. These are the things we like to see.
We must remember to create space which allows others to thrive. Investing in another person can lead to great things.
Sarah Jenkins, managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi, has been greatly impacted by the support of people on her journey including Sara Bennison, Nationwide’s former CMO. “She’s extraordinary,” says Sarah. “She showed me how to be a boss, and how to look after people. She taught me the value of the payrise window, and how to value myself. That set my understanding of how hard it is for people to ask me for pay rises and talk money.”
“Nils Leonard [co-founder and CCO of Uncommon] – super talented, big character, the kindest man in the room,” she adds. “Really amazing energy. He made me understand the power of energy. You could be the most junior person in the room with Nils Leonard and he makes you feel like a million dollars and not in a patronising way, he just builds confidence into people.
“Karen Blackett [president of WPP UK], the most extraordinary human, the importance of being brilliant and working hard and representing quite actively, I always thought because I do my job that that’s me representing, but what she taught me is that you can be more active and bring about more change, and that really activated me in a positive way.”
Sarah has been a big catalyst for the Saatchi and Saatchi programmes such as Open, which is an entry-level programme which recognises the next generation of talent.
Shannie Mears [co-founder of The Elephant Room] comments: “I love the idea of community building and love seeing people win. I wanna continue to do that through supporting talented people. Talent comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
The cycles must continue, the future of advertising is built on bringing the next wave of talent through. I’ve been fortunate enough to have people champion me, and I know how important and invaluable that belief from others has been in my career progression - believing in others' potential transforms dreams into something tangible.
Keep bringing active kindness.