The Update: Why diversity and representation are key to brand success
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The Update: Why diversity and representation are key to brand successAugust 2020
This week, we join Google’s Sarah Carberry, head of U.S. multicultural strategy and sales at Google, and Tamon George, co-founder and CEO of Creative Theory, for a timely discussion on racial equity, representation in content, and what consumers’ growing demand for purpose-driven brands means for business. Hear how external partners can help your brand shift the narrative and the culture.
TAMON GEORGE: No longer do companies and organizations operate in a vacuum,
and they need to also identify their role in creating change in the industry.
SARAH CARBERRY: In this episode of The Update,
I talk with Tamon George, Co-Founder and CEO of Creative Theory Agency,
about why diversity and representation are the keys to brand success.
I think we should start with the basics,
really at the foundational level of what diversity means to you,
and why you think it's so important especially right now in marketing?
TAMON GEORGE: Diversity, in its simplest form, is really representation.
The world as we see it is incredibly nuanced—people, age, race, gender, identity—
and we ultimately think that marketing should really be more representative
and thoughtful about that.
And so, when we think about the next levels of diversity,
it's how do we give equal opportunity and show equity for all the nuance
that exist in the population that we market to.
SARAH CARBERRY: I think in light of recent calls for racial justice,
how do you think the definition of diversity has changed
or expanded for consumers and brands alike?
TAMON GEORGE: The definition of diversity I don't think has changed all that much.
I think there's lots of agencies and companies like ours
who have been doing this work for a number of years.
But, what we really are seeing a difference in is the urgency
and top-level support that a lot of these ideas
and initiatives are gaining right now, which is absolutely necessary.
I think consumers are forcing brands to evaluate
their position in systemic inequality, rightfully so.
SARAH CARBERRY: So Tamon, it's commonly understood
why diversity is so important for societal value,
but how does diversity drive business value?
TAMON GEORGE: I think a lot of what we're seeing today is
that diverse companies, and especially diverse agencies,
are better equipped to solve really complex business problems.
I think if you're not making really big decisions
with more representation at the table—age, race, gender, identity—
you’re often going to be missing out on really big pieces of ideas
that should have been there in the first place.
SARAH CARBERRY: Creative Theory has been one of those partners to Google
for a number of years.
Can you share some examples of insights that your team brought to Google,
how you were able to execute campaigns in a way
that was true and authentic to our brand?
TAMON GEORGE: Yeah. So most recently
we were able to work on the Black-owned business attribute.
And so we knew just from our general circle
that there is an increased demand for
how can people support Black-owned business in this exact moment.
So the real victory there was that Google was able to be incredibly helpful at a time
where we knew that searches for Black-owned business were growing exponentially.
And being able to kind of service that need was really essential.
SARAH CARBERRY: What do you say to brands who struggle
to find their multicultural voice in this moment,
or feel that they don't have anything to add?
They just don't have that value proposition.
What can they do?
TAMON GEORGE: The first thing is that you have to earn
the right to add to the conversation.
We see all the time, brands are hesitant or unsure how to kind of enter the conversation.
And, simply, it can often start with your internal employees.
But then there are very small external things that they can do,
such as partner with different organizations,
finding ways to support different missions that align with their business values as well.
And that is kind of your first introduction into really being a big part
of this antiracism movement.