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VMLY&R Commerce UK: Diversity and Inclusion Company of the Year 2021

VMLY&R Commerce UK won the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Company of the Year’ category at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveal the secrets of their success...

Our approach

Being future-fit as an agency isn’t just about new technology, proprietary data, and bringing new products and services to market. For VMLY&R Commerce UK, it’s also about understanding and reflecting the communities our clients engage and serve.

VMLY&R Commerce UK (previously Geometry) began its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) journey long before the industry demanded it of agencies.

Since its inception several years ago, Exco leadership formed part of the steering committee of WPP Roots, a network dedicated to championing greater ethnic and cultural diversity within the creative industry. Shortly after we launched Geometry Roots, a grassroots community within our business that has the sole aim of providing accessible learning and unlearning for all.

We work with Inspiring the Future, encouraging our leaders to engage with local schools, sharing their non-linear journey into the industry, launched The Incubator our work experience program for 16-18-year-olds from the most diverse of backgrounds, and we partner with The School of Communication Arts so that an older cohort can work with us to solve for some of the biggest creative challenges experienced by brands and businesses today.

We ensure that all our DE&I efforts are measured and reported. For the second year running have worked with Investing in Ethnicity to drive transformation across 5 key pillars across our business. This year we will launch The Inclusion Experience (IX) a strategic consultancy that works with clients to bring about sustainable cultural change within their own organizations.

By 2030, 37% of Londoners will come from an ethnic background. New data, technology, and platforms will not be the only areas that will keep our business future-fit, it will be the diversity of our people too.

VMLY&R Commerce UK has invested in DE&I research that will help the company expand and their clients understand how to create more culturally relevant work and launched World Woman Hour, a social campaign to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

Our actions

Our most diverse, stand-out piece of work this past year is World Woman Hour. A social-first campaign we launched for the World Woman Foundation. The world is full of inspirational, brave, strong, amazing women. Broadcast on Facebook Live, on International Girls Day October 11, 2020, we brought 60 of them together to tell their stories, in 60 seconds each. Just enough information for young women to find their hero.

Pre-event on Facebook/Instagram 3,228,808 people were reached, with 5,889,592 Impressions. Pre-event on Twitter, there were 1,500,000 views of the trailer globally.   The video amassed 850,000+ views while reaching over 4 million+ people. Post-event, its impact has been felt even more. Translated into several languages and educational programs reaching 6 continents.

World Woman Hour continues to inspire young women to this day, and beyond. It is a global movement, designed to continually help young women see that it IS possible for them to achieve their dreams.

Other examples include:

  • Measuring and reporting DE&I efforts by working with Investing in Ethnicity to drive transformation across five key pillars across our business, achieving Outstanding Employer status.
  • Launching The Inclusion Experience (IX) a strategic consultancy that works with clients to bring about sustainable cultural change within their own organizations.
  • The Incubator Program - work experience program for 16-18-year-olds from the most diverse of backgrounds.

And we are making a difference.

  • Our Executive Committee is made up of 75% female leadership.
  • 15% of our employees are from diverse backgrounds.
  • We have seen a 50% increase in diverse hires for the period 2020 to 2021.
  • We’ve completed 402 Hours of DE&I Training, averaging 2.5 hours per employee.
  • And our gender split within the agency is 43% women/67% men.

This entry was a winner at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021. Find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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