In the October 2014 issue, the great advertising publication, Scientific American, did a series of stories on the value of Diversity. The pieces, focused more on businesses, have titles on: “How Diversity Works”, “In Pursuit of the Best Ideas” and “Becoming Visible”. Each story had a theme that is echoed here by one of the authors:
“Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working”
Katherine Phillips, Professor of Leadership and Ethics
Columbia Business School
I realize Scientific American and “advertising publication” are usually not mentioned in the same sentence, but I believe there is value in what brands can learn from diversity and how it leads to innovation in advertising. ‘Diversity initiatives’, however they are defined, usually take the tone of compliance. However the perspective should be one of profit. Diversity being part of the DNA that great brands and agencies embrace and actively seek in order to be stronger, bring more creative campaigns to market, and ultimately, are more profitable.
The Pacific Northwest, because of the brands, talent and geographic location, has a significant opportunity to show thought leadership around marketing and advertising to reach over 3.0B consumers throughout the Asia –Pacific region.
In the most recent list put out by Fortune Magazine highlighting the “Top 25 World’s Most Admired Brands”, 5 are based in the Seattle area. These brands also happened to be world leaders in hiring practices and socially responsible marketing campaigns. The impact of embracing diversity and multiculturalism is evident at the organizational level of employees as well as the customers these brands engage. A side benefit is that these beliefs permeate the organization and customer base resulting in authentic advocacy.
The West Coast is looking for leadership in addressing the billions of potential audiences throughout the Pacific Rim. The headquarters for this progressive marketing thinking should be Seattle.
This will require the engagement among global brands, agencies and individuals that have a global / diverse perspective on how to reach an international audience. I recently joined the board of AAF Seattle with the focus on this mission. This is an unprecedented opportunity for marketing and advertising professionals to focus on this journey.