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Diversity and inclusion at the Festival of Marketing

Why do we need a diversity and inclusion strategy?

The Festival of Marketing is proud to work with industries that recognise and actively address diversity and inclusion challenges both in the workplace and through their own output. We encourage our partners to discuss and help resolve these challenges within our content, with past sessions confronting approaches to gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and age.

But while we are discussing these issues, our speaker profiles are not yet truly representative of all the different groups of individuals that make up our society. As a result, we are making diversity and inclusion a priority for 2017 and beyond to provide our audiences with wider-ranging perspectives and further improved content quality.

We might not get everything right first time around but the only way we can move towards a more diverse Festival is if we recognise our mistakes and correct them as we go. We hope you’ll bear with us and offer us help along the way.

What do we mean by diversity?

Our goal is to be truly inclusive by advocating and seeking active participation by all individuals regardless of their gender, ethnicity, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, heritage, education or religion. 

Our objectives

  • We will work towards fair representation of all groups within Festival programmes, benchmarking ourselves against the diverse make-up of the UK population.
  • We will commit to working with our partners to help them encourage wider groups of individuals to speak and participate at the Festival.
  • We will make changes to our communications and physical environments to aim to make them accessible to as many groups of individuals as possible.
  • We will remain transparent about our progress and encourage our audience, speakers and partners to further challenge us.
  • We will improve coverage of diversity challenges in the industries we represent within Festival content, using our own platform to advocate change.

Objections we hear

  • It’s wrong to favour under-represented groups of individuals over others

    It’s not about favouring under-represented groups of individuals over others. It’s about fair representation for all groups. Our plan is simply to broaden the pool of speakers we are considering to offset the natural advantages of already well-represented groups of individuals.
  • It could dilute the quality of event content

    We’re not diluting our content quality. We believe fresh perspectives will raise our standards. All our speakers are carefully selected based on their achievements and level of experience - this will not change.
  • Under-represented groups of individuals will feel they are being offered opportunities because of their difference, rather than their own merit

    Our plan is not to go out searching for speakers within under-represented groups just to tick boxes. We want the Festival to be an event that welcomes all and leads its industry by actively encouraging wider groups of individuals to put themselves forward as speakers. By doing so, we hope to see our speaker profiles organically becoming more reflective of the diverse make-up of the UK population in the near future.

Diversity News

In an unprecedented move, the new Diversity and Inclusion Champion award at The Masters of Marketing 2017 was awarded to two brands in this category: Channel 4 and Maltesers. Both brands have done great work in improving representation of disability in advertising for the Rio 2016 Paralympics Project. Maltesers launched its ‘Look on the Light Side of Disability’ campaign during last year’s Paralympic Games coverage on Channel 4 after winning a competition come challenge from the broadcaster to develop ideas where disabled people feature prominently. The initiative and the execution both deserve credit.

This award is presented in partnership with Think Designable, which works to better society's relationship with disability and challenges brands to offer more inclusive products and services. The Diversity and Inclusion Champion award will return at The Masters of Marketing 2018.

Language and terminology

The recommended language and terminology used to describe different groups of individuals is always evolving and in some places, there is a lack of clear consensus. We want to ensure the language and terminology we’re using best serves those which it describes and therefore we encourage you to contact us if you feel we aren’t getting it right.

Contact us

If you have any questions about our diversity strategy or if you’re interested in speaking at the Festival of Marketing 2018, please contact:

Chris Chapman
Head of Live Content
Marketing & Creative Events
Centaur Media Plc





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