The World's Leading Independent Agencies 2017

Different perspectives welcome

Each year, we invite some of the world's most interesting creative independents to contribute their perspectives on our industry. This year, we noticed almost all the writers were men. That did not seem right, so we asked Stephanie Geisler, agency services manager, and Madeline Robbins, international consultant, at thenetworkone, to tell us their hopes for the future of our industry.

Stephanie Geisler (l) and Madeline Robbins, thenetworkone

SG As our industry continues to look for innovation and creativity, we’ll start to see more diversity in both teams and leadership. Diversity is more than just  "box-ticking" – it’s a strength that we can’t afford to overlook.

MR Well, if you’ll allow my true feminist millennial colours to show, I’ll tell you my wish is simple: I want communications with a conscience; communications that work to be inclusive, representative and purpose-driven.

SG All teams, particularly creative teams, need different perspectives to draw from. Understanding how your audience thinks and knowing what it wants is key for effective marketing and advertising. Therefore, it makes sense to include a variety of people in your staff and on your leadership boards.

MR When a young person watches TV and  sees someone who looks like her, or  a family that reminds her of her own, she understands that she is a recognised and acknowledged member of society.

When people like her are not represented, media limits her idea of her potential. She questions how she fits into their world. She wonders if she matters or, worse, she wishes she were different. I am categorically not  okay with that. 

SG When you don’t personally identify with a certain issue but you try to involve yourself in the conversation, you run the risk of looking insincere. I believe we’ll start to see more nuanced, relevant campaigns due to having a team of people that personally understand the matters at hand, rather than just "jumping on the bandwagon".

MR My challenge to our industry: show love and respect for all types of people by including them in your concept of a consumer. I’ll bet they’ll show you love right back – or at the very least, loyalty.

Each of the many subsets of humanity represents a community with shared experiences of day-to-day struggles (could your product present a solution?), with a common perspective on the world (can your brand relate to it?) and, most importantly, with money to spend (does your business want it?).

SG We still have a long way to go before we reach equality, but giving people a seat at the table is the first step. As the necessity of this becomes more obvious, we’ll start to see more variety in our staff and leaders, and the work will be better as a result. 

MR I want communications that acknowledge there is no "normal" in our world. That diversity is in fact uniform; that the unusual is actually typical.  

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