Two years ago we set out our ambition to be the leading ethical agency by 2023. Then Covid-19 happened.
Like many businesses, it completely took over our lives, and the pressures still remain. But we mustn’t lose sight of what matters to us and we’re ready for a reset. We don’t want to just to be able to work, we want to do so in a way that is positive for our industry, community and society. That’s why we’re publishing our four goals for the next 12 months, so we can be held accountable. Perhaps in doing so, we might even inspire some like-minded changemakers to do the same.
Our 4 commitments
# 1: we won't judge you by where you’ve been, but where you want to go
We want to work with brands that are socially conscious or want to be socially conscious. Whilst we have been known to turn down briefs from companies at odds with our values, we recognise that in an era of responsibilities, we can help businesses follow a new trajectory. A step in the right direction is a positive change.
We promise to work with those who want to make transformation happen, and to use our creativity to help them get there.
# 2: we will continue to grow our own
Our agency is not defined by a postcode or an office, but by the people we work with. Trust, openness and honesty is at the heart of our business and it’s important we don’t become complacent or take each other for granted. Since the agency was founded ten years ago, we’ve offered all staff five days supplementary paid holiday leave to use for voluntary work in the community.
We promise to keep giving back to our team, helping them find their own ethical goals, even in the hardest times.
# 3: to look at ourselves as part of the problem
Our industry has problems, and when we sit by and ignore them we become part of them too. For us as a social-first agency that means sitting up to the challenges of the spread of misinformation and hate speech online.
I helped set up the Conscious Advertising Network in 2018. CAN’s aim is to ensure industry ethics catch up with the technology of modern advertising. Any brand, or agency, can join and we encourage you to embed CAN’s criteria into your internal policies, creative guidelines and project briefs.
We have a responsibility to be outward looking on the issue of diversity and inclusion. We’ve been on unconscious bias training and overhauled our recruitment strategy, but there’s more that can be done.
We must change when we are part of the problem, and we promise to continue being critical of ourselves.
# 4: share our slice of the pie
No matter how big you get, it always feels like there’s not enough money to go around. Since our inception almost 12 years ago, we have supported our charity partner, World Land Trust - an international conservation charity protecting critically threatened habitat, acre by acre. We make a donation for each project we undertake for our clients.
But it’s not just about sharing profits, but knowledge. After seeing so many A-Level students have their plans screwed by the results system, we’ve been offering online advice and one-on-one Zoom session to young adults looking to get into the industry.
We promise to continue to share our knowledge and profits with those who need it most.
We’re sharing this with you so we can be held accountable
Too easily brands and agencies jump on the purpose band wagon, only to fall off when things get tough. By sharing these with you, we hope not only to encourage others, but to benchmark where we are now, and continue to move forward even in the face of disruption.
So, what steps can you take?
Sometimes it’s the smaller steps that can ladder up to make a bigger difference. Below are our top four things you can do right now to start making a difference.
Set some goals – maybe two, maybe three but don't go OTT; you're not Greta Thunberg. Start small and build up. The key is to track your progress.
Connect with either myself or Media Bounty’s fellow co-founder Emma Tozer on LinkedIn so we can chat/share ideas
Sign up to Conscious Advertising Network
Consider being a B-Corp