GSK has launched a diversity hub for its marketing team that includes a new guide, best practice information and training to ensure all its marketers are understand and are up-to-date on how to champion diversity.

The launch is being led by GSK EMEA senior media director, Jerry Daykin. He has brought together a coalition of people spanning content, brands, design and procurement who are aligned by their passion for diversity and inclusion.

The first question he asked the team was, “Are we making or breaking?” and then, “How do we positively represent people and drive change?”.

The 20-minute guide takes marketers through six stages of the marketing process from insight to brand strategy to creative and media, and offers help on the key things marketers should be asking.

Once they have read the guide, the hub offers a ‘deeper-dive’ guide that members of the team can download and that includes case studies to refer back to. GSK is then encouraging different teams to hold workshops of their own to run through what they’ve learned.

Every brand of every marketer in the world can get to that positive middle place where we are making good positive representation.”

Jerry Daykin, GSK

Daykin says the issue is that most people aren’t “conscious” of the questions they should be asking. He explains: “It’s about changing the embedded things in our process and our briefs and to kick things off we understand that one of the biggest issues is that people aren’t conscious.

“You are not thinking about how your insights might be making you lose insight into an interesting group of people or you might be representing your average consumer but not necessarily a top-level one.”

Examples of the questions marketers should be asking are:

  1. What riches are you losing by always looking at the average consumer?
  2. How do you brief your insights team and agency.
  3. How do you look at less average consumers, different audiences and different target groups?

“We think about it a lot as nudges. What are the different nudges along the marketing process that could help people,” he explains.

Daykin pooled resources from other organisations including the World Federation of Advertisers and the Unstereotype Alliance to create the guide, before tailoring it to GSK. He doesn’t think GSK is “reinventing the wheel” but simply wants to make diversity and inclusion a more core part of its work.

Starting small

Daykin has seen that less purpose-driven brands in the GSK portfolio are “nervous about how to get started” on thinking about diversity, believing that those which have a reputation for standing up for issues are better placed.

However, he thinks every brand should embrace what works for it and aim to get to a “positive middle place”.

He explains: “Some of our brands will choose to go much further and do charitable partnerships and pick up specific moments and causes they want to get behind but every brand of every marketer in the world can get to that positive middle place where we are making good positive representation.”

How GSK reorganised its brand portfolio in response to Covid-19 And while there is clearly a moral and societal imperative to embrace diversity, brands should also remember there is business case for it as well.

“From a business benefit point of view, it is advantageous to us to reach and appeal to a broad range of audience,” he points out.

Diversity, says Daykin, is also not just about the people and viewpoints you are including but also about what you exclude. He calls for a more nuanced approach to safeguarding around where brands place ads, for example, pointing out that blanket solutions such as black lists can exclude topics such as LGBTQ+.

He explains: “Sometimes advertisers when they try to avoid the bad stuff they block the good stuff as well. For example, advertisers who put ‘lesbian’ on their block list are demonetising an entirely positive group of people.”

His biggest piece of advice to other companies considering how to make their marketing more diverse and inclusive? Start small.

“Guides don’t solve everything but if your challenge is ‘I don’t know where to start’ then a guide isn’t a bad place,” he says.

He adds: “It can seem like a lot to change at once, which is why some of our message is you don’t have to do everything at once but you can make a difference in small ways.”

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