Data pact tackles sector’s ‘astonishing’ lack of diversity

diversityBrand owners and their agencies are being given a helping hand to reach diverse audiences, which it is claimed are currently being missed by many campaigns, through a new data-driven partnership designed to boost investment in diverse media platforms.

The offering will combine Ebiquity’s experience of effective media and marketing strategy with DECA’s Media Consultancy’s understanding of media consumption and attitudes across a range of audiences including BAME, disabled, and LGBTQ+.

The duo insist brands and agencies will get a genuinely holistic view of their media landscape, revealing the audiences they may have been missing in their media strategy and guidance on how to effectively reach them to drive better marketing outcomes.

In addition, DECA (which stands for Diversity, Equality, Culture, Action) sister company Brand Advance will offer individual brand perception surveys to test and develop culturally relevant creative content.

Ebiquity director Martin Radford said the partnership reflected the need for the marketing industry to try harder to speak to all audiences equally and was born out of both moral and commercial imperatives.

He added: “Advertisers have spent much of this year conveying a sense of community through their creative during lockdown but there is an overdue groundswell of desire to take this to the next step, especially in light of global movements such as Black Lives Matter.

“It’s not as simple as casting diverse actors and thinking the job is done. We all need to examine and understand how sections of the population, who can be hard to reach through conventional media channels, can be reached.

“To change, we all need an understanding of the different groups involved, their cultures, their consumption habits and their behaviours and DECA’s unrivalled expertise and insight into diversity and inclusion makes them our obvious partner.”

DECA chief executive Christopher Kenna said that there are, of course, moral reasons to invest adspend in diverse media platforms, but added that the fact so many businesses have been overlooking the value of ethnic, LGBTQ+ and disabled groups’ pounds “is quite astonishing”.

Kenna continued: “There is a huge diversity dividend to be had by brands and agencies who better invest in the right media, often not even on conventional measurement systems, and with creative that is culturally relevant. But that ‘relevance’ must always be in the eyes of the beholder, not the client or advertiser.”

He cited a 2019 ANA report which showed that consumers who perceive ads as being ‘culturally relevant’ are 2.6 times more likely to find the brand relevant to them and therefore 2.7 times more likely to purchase the brand for the first time. They are also 50% more likely to repurchase a brand they have bought in the past.

Nationwide Building Society is the first client to sign-up to use the Ebiquity DECA partnership.The company’s head of media Chris Ladd reckons the sector is long overdue action on commitments to address diversity and inclusion.

He said: “The industry needs to fix this issue urgently, not just nod to it again. It’s evident that there is a paucity of insight, data and expertise across the whole advertising eco-system.

“We believe working with Ebiquity and DECA will help inform us and our agency partners as we review what we are doing. Hopefully we can pass on ideas for action to others in our industry too. We all need to be better informed, be willing to share insights, and take action to build society, nationwide.”

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