In a continuing drive for greater diversity and inclusion in marketing and advertising, a new feature by The Drum highlights conversations with top creative women in the industry.
All were nominated for The Drum’s global Woman of the Year award at The Drum Creative Awards, sponsored by Facebook, One Minute Briefs and in partnership with Creative Equals. The award is designed to push equality boundaries within the creative industry to spark discussion and action.
From icons and pioneers to prominent creative directors and designers, we asked each of them how diversity creates better work, the positive changes the industry can make, what keeps these creatives going in an ever-changing world and how greater diversity can grow the business.
We kick off this series with Caroline Paris, creative director at Brave in London.
From your experience and point of view, how does a more diverse creative team create better work? What have been some examples of that in action?
I think traditionally our industry suffers greatly from similar society syndrome - similar people, from similar backgrounds, attending similar universities/colleges, consuming similar media and culture - which is inevitably going to produce a similar output.
And by continuing to follow this, we risk creating one-dimensional work that won’t have the relevance it needs to authentically reach real people. So, in an industry that, by it’s very nature, aims to constantly be creatively fresh, it is evident that greater change is needed in order for agencies to not just survive, but thrive.
In my experience, when I have worked with more demographically and psychologically diverse teams, the dynamic of working together, by nature, has created an environment ripe for more questions, debates and less acceptance of 'the norm’ - because of the individuals in the room. As a result, the creative process and work has been developed with different points of view and has gone on to win pitches or create something awesome because it has more genuine insight and relevance to the target.
How are the conversations around creativity, and specific work/projects, different with a more gender balanced team?
I think more and more clients and agency leaders want to see teams that are reflective of the world in which we live - and the people we all want to talk to. Which is not about stereotyping or permanently pigeonholing female/male creatives with certain clients or brands – that’s not good for anyone. But it’s about having a team of diverse perspectives in place, because only then will you will get the most differentiated opinions, more genuine insights and the opportunities to truly see an idea the way someone completely different to you might see it.
What changes around inclusion should the entire industry embrace today?
Create change from the top down – both agency and client side.
It has already been newsworthy with Antonio Lucio, CMO of HP working to improve gender and ethnic diversity within his own organisation and agency partners. But also, I recently had first-hand experience when working on an RFI for a huge global brand, where the CMO stated they would only speak with agencies if they showed gender and ethnic diversity across the company.
In both instances, I believe these individuals are using their power in a way that will create faster, more effective, change and will have much more impact than female creatives or people of ethnic minorities constantly battling the bias to get a foot on the ladder and prove themselves, just to be given the same opportunity as everyone else.
With all of the issues women face in the creative sector, what keeps you in the industry?
I’m proud to be in the in the industry and to have beaten the odds to become a female CD. Not just because it was a goal, but namely because now it’s ME that’s in a position to create the change.
As a creative leader, I have the responsibility and power to question and challenge every accepted norm and convention [and] provide equal opportunities — but also to hopefully be seen and heard by young women on their journey, to show them that it can be done. Which is why mentoring, guest lecturing and creating internship opportunities for those from all walks of life is one of the key focuses of my role today.
Will greater diversity in the industry ultimately save/grow it?
I think those that genuinely create change will thrive and as a result so will the industry. And those that don’t, might survive – for a bit!
The Drum Creative Awards puts creativity back in the spotlight and flies the flag for creativity during the digital revolution. These global awards are open to advertising agencies, design consultancies, digital agencies, production companies, marketing agencies, PR and more.
To register your interest for 2018, go to the event website.
This years awards were sponsored by: Facebook Creative Shop and One Minute Brief and partnered with: Creative Equals.