As we look ahead to the future, it’s also the perfect opportunity to reflect. As part of our virtual ITV Showcase 2021 event, Christopher Kenna, CEO and Founder of diversity-driven marketing agency, Brand Advance, looks to lockdown to share three valuable pieces of advice for inclusive companies to live by. 

Read on for Christopher’s advice and watch the full video below. 

1) Embrace the optimism

Christopher believes we’re in a time of optimism in marketing and media more generally. When thinking about the period we came together as a nation to clap on Thursdays to thank our key workers, he says, “let’s keep that into all parts of marketing and advertising now.” It’s important to remember the challenging period we’ve all had, but now’s the time to refresh, reboot, and ensure everyone is included in the conversation. “Let’s make sure that all of our ads are inclusive, the media channels that they’re on truly represent and reach everyone in society,” he says. 

2) Forget about culture marketing – it’s marketing!

If we take this optimism as a starting point, Christopher explains it’s important to think about inclusion and culture differently. In reference to ‘culture marketing’, where a message is promoted to people from different cultures or demographics, he says, “Why are there two terms? Culture marketing and marketing?” Instead, the media should naturally and authentically include everyone. “Marketing is marketing, it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to sell, the point of marketing is to sell it to as many people as possible who would actually buy it,” he says. 

3) Do it, mean it, train it, repeat it

Being truly inclusive is a continuous process—so much more than a tick box exercise. It’s why Christopher believes it’s so important for inclusive companies to follow these eight words: Do it, mean it, train it, repeat it. “There’s no one-step way to authenticity, just doing it over and over again will make that process authentic,” he says. It’s also vital for people to see beyond themselves, ensuring a diverse audience is represented across all channels and in the media more widely. “You do not need to be black to cast a black person in an ad. You do not need to be LGBTQ+ to ensure that LGBTQ+ is on your media plan, so train it, and then repeat it,” he says.

Watch the full video

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Christopher’s words in action: Unilever

As part of ITV Showcase 2021, Sebastian Munden, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Unilever UK & Ireland, joined a panel hosted by Adil Ray to discuss the themes shared by Christopher and fellow speakers. 

Sebastian explained that within Unilever there has been much discussion about the importance and the moral obligation for business to create diversity and opportunities for all. “We’ve felt that very strongly,” he says. Unilever created the #unstereotype campaign in 2016, for example, which aimed to eliminate outdated stereotypes from advertising. 

Referring to the Unilever brand, Lynx, Sebastian says, “We’ve managed to really bring together a vast array of people who think differently, both in front of the camera and behind the camera and in the brand team to really try and reflect the new currents that are out there. It’s extremely exciting and it does challenge people’s perception of ‘what is normal?’” 

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