For episode 13 of Business as Unusual, we followed up on our last conversation on cultural diversity in marketing. The panellists discussed their experiences of systemic racism and how it's affected them in every day life as well as how to make inclusive marketing the industry standard. Watch the video below and keep scrolling for a full transcript of the webinar.
Jon Payne (00:00):
I want to do, I want to get us introed, this is a follow up to a session we did with Azeem who has done a really, really useful survey into cultural diversity in the marketing sector. He shared that with us back in, oh goodness, like May or June?
Azeem Ahmad (00:17):
Yeah, it seems like a while ago.
Jon Payne (00:19):
Yeah. But it also felt like we were probably coming out of this soon and now it's September. Anyway. let's not dwell on that. I'm going to get you guys to introduce yourselves and because I am aware of my bias or increasingly aware of my bias. I've got this little app here, which means that I can't do benevolent, benevolent sexism and go ladies first, Joy. And I can't pick between Azeem and Sunjay. So I'm going to spin this wheel.
Jon Payne (01:01):
And the first person to introduce themselves is Azeem! Azeem, would you share who you are and what you're doing here.
Azeem Ahmad (01:11):
Yeah. So hi everybody. My name is Azeem. I don't know what to say. I'm in house digital marketer. I've got lots of experience in the marketing industry. I've judged marketing awards and also got my own podcast called the Azeem Digital Asks podcast, shameless plug, right there. Available on most good platforms. But if there's one that you listen to and can't find it, just let me know. Most importantly though. One of the reasons why I'm here joined by these brilliant people is that, as Jon mentioned, we ran this session where we talked about cultural diversity in the marketing sector, a while back. It was really well received. And now we're going to talk about it a little bit more and see what has changed, if anything, since then. And I think that's a nice segue to pass on to the next person who Jon will choose.
Jon Payne (02:14):
Joyann Boyce (02:16):
Anticipation! It was, it was close. It was almost there. Hi, I am Joyann Boyce. I run a social media marketing agency called The Social Detail. We specialise in helping companies reach their sector and inclusive marketing. Hence why I'm here. So all about what inclusive marketing is, the work I do and helping brands understand how to reach different audiences and diversify that content.
Jon Payne (02:45):
Thanks, Joyann. He picks up on the fact that I always call you Joy and you always refer to yourself as Joyann in a professional setting. So I will start doing that from now on. Sunjay, over to you.
Sunjay Singh (02:59):
Hi everyone. I'm Sunjay. I head up Life Media UK. We're a video marketing agency. I guess my involvement in this is I did a LinkedIn post, which did really well, where instead of me being dragged into a conversation about race, I purposely jumped into it. And now I've jumped into it, I can't seem to leave it, which is good. And yeah, I guess that's, that's why I'm here.
Jon Payne (03:24):
Cool. Thanks. Thanks everybody. And just the, the, the, the, the gang of people who are on this call. One of the things, when I was talking to Sunjay about setting this up was why, why have we got an old white guy on this call? It feels like I don't, you know, I don't have a right to be on this call. So I want to address that relatively early. Cause I feel still quite... I've got shame issues anyway, right? That's why I was in anger management. And the reason I'm on this call is because I believe like the rest of the panel, actually, I don't want to speak for you, but, but broadly speaking, this is mainly a white people problem. We need to solve it. And if I can be a conduit to get people who are only just becoming aware of the problem of institutional bias or institutional racism, if I can be the conduit and make that easy and make it a safer space because I look a bit like you, and it doesn't feel like it's some equality ticking the box that you don't really need to attend. That's why I'm here. And the other reason I'm here is because as Claire Dibben always says, look you don't have to host everything, I do. I do. I'm a megalomaniac in a very small, very big fish in a small pond of Bristol. It feels like sometimes. I'm not even a very big fish there. So Azeem, we were going to have you give us a quick recap of the survey, if we could. I guess if you could give us sort of two to five minutes on, on where we are, and then let's start talking about actually how this has affected you guys as, as people in the real world.
Azeem Ahmad (05:10):
Yeah, no worries. So just for a bit of background and for anybody that missed the previous session, part of that involved me giving the results of a survey that I ran in the latter half of 2019 and early 2020. I guess we could probably call it pre COVID or early COVID. Essentially I sent out a survey, all anonymous, to the marketing industry, asking them several questions about how they feel about their organisations, how they feel about themselves, how they feel about the industry in general and then their own career progression. And most importantly, left a space open at the end for them to anonymously add comments. And that came off the back of me noticing, as Jon mentioned, the industry is very white and there's no getting away from it. So a couple of key headlines that came out of it, I think, yeah, Claire's put that in the chat, which is great.
Azeem Ahmad (06:06):
Have a read. So 43% of people who responded to the survey believe that their organisation does not have an inclusive culture. So almost half of people think that their organisation is not inclusive. 9 out of 10 people who responded believe that there's a lack of diversity in the industry. And then when asked if their workplace actively tries to address the gap between BAME and white staff 48% said no, and 10% were unsure. So there's uncertainty and just flat out refusal that their workplaces are not addressing the fact that there's a gap between BAME and white staff. I suppose the one part of the survey that really hit me the hardest and made me sort of take a deep breath in when I saw the actual results was that 62% of people who responded, so basically six and 10, they believe that their ethnic background has affected their career opportunities, which for me is really hard to read and see, as a person of colour.
Azeem Ahmad (07:11):
And then there were a few other points, which I didn't expect to see, but I did see. So for example half of the white females who completed the survey believe that their career progress has been better than expected. And there's a lot of work that's been done. And a lot of awareness that's been raised around the gender pay gap. And there's one point in the year famously where it will trend all over social media, that this is the day that now females and women are effectively working for free, because they're not paid the same as men. And then most importantly, where we're speaking about Black people and people of colour. So every Black person in that survey said that they were unhappy in their current job. Their progress was well below their expectations and every single one of them said that their ethnic background definitely played a part in their career progression. So that's kind of where we are now, at the moment. And well, where we were and where we are now. So yeah, I don't know how you want to follow on from that, Jon.
Jon Payne (08:12):
If I can throw in a couple of other things or ask one question. I think there was something about and maybe you mentioned it, but I'd started to make notes, which I've now stopped doing. Cause I can't listen and make notes. Was the, did you say about 9 out of 10 people felt that they weren't paid what they were worth or was that, was that not part of the survey? Is that something else?
Azeem Ahmad (08:31):
That's specifically about pay which I will be doing in the second part of the survey, excuse me, the second part of the survey. So at the end of this webinar, I mentioned that I'm going to be re doing the survey this year to sort of deal one year on look. It's specifically asked about pay and asked about career progress. Not specifically about pay, but it's career progress. And as I mentioned, 62%, six in 10 believed that their identity and ethnic background has affected their career opportunities.
Jon Payne (09:00):
Yeah. The, the other thing, and this is kind of, okay, so it's almost inclusivity 101. But Nic was on a course with the fantastic Dr Mena Fombo from Bristol who is, she did a really good Ted talk called don't touch my hair. Is it called? Don't touch my hair or no, you can't touch my hair.
Joyann Boyce (09:28):
No you can't touch my hair.
Jon Payne (09:30):
Brilliant. Also, that sounded like you were telling me. Good, that's clear. But really good worth looking up. Nic was reminded of that stat that there are more men called Dave on the boards of FTSE 100 companies than there are people of colour which is phenomenal. And it's like, oh my goodness. I mean, I don't know, that's FTSE 100 and we've got entrepreneurs and all that kind of stuff, but it is just such a great illustrator of how this is. That's not right. It's not like, anyway, anyway, I'm now starting to try to explain it. I'll shut the hell up. It would be really good. And maybe it's, it's worth starting with Sunjay on this, if that's okay guys. If we could talk about, if you, if you've got any examples you want to share with the people on the call about how this might have affected you in daily life. Sunjay, I don't know whether it's worth you rehashing your LinkedIn rant or whether you've got, I mean, I know you had a fresh one days after or probably even hours after.
Sunjay Singh (10:36):
One day I'd love to create like a really cool manga version of all the hilarious and tragic racist moments in my life. So like maybe, maybe I'll do one funny and one slightly, slightly painful, we'll start with slightly painful. So I think one thing that a lot of people who are white or not of, of any ethnicity kind of like, well not not of any ethnicity, you know what I mean. They don't understand that actually nearly everyone that I know who's Black or minority ethnic has a, has a racist story from as young as they can remember. And most of those people, that's one of their first memories of something or somebody being racist to them. Which is a horrific fact when you think about it, however, most of us just accept it. Oh yeah, we've all got that one racist story from when we were younger. And mine is when I remember being young enough. So we were just coming back from primary school. So I had to be like 5. And it was me and my mom, we get to the front door and my mom's like, just rustling around for a keys. And this guy cycle was passed and he says, F off, go home. And my mum turns round as says "you bastard". Sorry Joy I swore.
Jon Payne (11:51):
You're among friends dude.
Sunjay Singh (11:54):
Yeah. And then I remember that feeling as a child. And this is how, you know, as a child, you're innocent. And I remember looking at the guy and looking at my mum, thinking we are home, we're literally home. We're just outside. And then reflecting on that like, oh my god, someone said that to a woman and a child like, so that's pretty horrific. But to lighten the mood, there's been other racist stories that are slightly funny. If racism can be funny. And one of my favourite ones is when I was working in Costa and I made this guy this drink, this older chap, made him his drinks and he takes drinks and he walks off and he gets into like the middle of the shop and he stops and he thinks, no, I've got something I need to say. So he spins round, walks back up to me and I think I've messed up his drink. I've made something wrong, and just completely serious. He just looked me dead in the eyes. And he says, I just want to tell you, your English is really good.
Sunjay Singh (12:52):
And then I started like, like, I'm so confused that I'm like, er, thank you? I'm thinking in my head it's the only language I know. My Punjabi is awful and embarrassing. So it has to be good. And he walks off proud as punch. Now that's not racist in the same way as racist, the first story, but it's, it's super ignorant. And I think that that's something that, you know, we can talk about. anything in the workplace. The reason we're telling these stories is because in the workplace, it's not necessarily like outright kind of EDL style racism, but it is a lack of understanding, a lack of empathy and just plain and outright ignorance as to other cultures and ethnicities and how that plays out. And, you know, I'll finish on this story, Jon. I remember when I was at a Christmas meal for this place I used to work out when I was doing my sandwich year. And the lady says to me, do, what university do you go to? And I said, I go to UWE. And then she said, oh. She doesn't know, that's all she knows about me, my name and that I go to UWE. And then she says, oh, you must know Arjan. And I just said why would I know Arjan? I studie genetics, does he? And she was just like, no. And I was just looking at her like, but Jon did remind me, maybe she was really Bristolian and men, a lady called Jan, that was a family member, and she wasn't racist, and she knows our Jan. But it's things like that. And you know, I could go on and on and on, but the point is, is like actually, and this is why webinars like this are great because we can have discussion. We can break down some of that ignorance. And I think, you know, I can only think everybody that's attended today and watching after. Taking that first step in just learning a bit more because that's all it takes. Yeah. Cool. Cool. Anybody else want to share anything?
Joyann Boyce (14:40):
Well, I don't want to spoil the podcast episode I'm going to do with Azeem, but the whole reason I have a business is kind of down to the fact I couldn't get an internship. I couldn't get into the industry. I couldn't get a free gig to give someone time. And then I was, I went to the Princes Trust and I was just like, hey, so no one wants to not pay me to work for them in marketing. I've got a psychology degree. I don't understand why.
Jon Payne (15:06):
Joyann Boyce (15:07):
And they were like, oh, why don't you just start a business? I was like, alright. But it's only now in hindsight, I'm just like, why could I not get internship? Literally sending my CV out university graduate, experience in recruitment, not marketing, but a graduate at that. They say that's all you need.
Jon Payne (15:25):
Experienced at recruitment. That's the fucking hardest job. I mean, other than digging holes, that's the hardest office job.
Joyann Boyce (15:31):
You know, I wanted to change. That was, that was why, marketing looked like it was easier, debatable. But yeah, so the experiences, and also like pulling on some of the stuff Sunjay said, I've been to networking events and sometimes it will be me and Sunjay are the only people of colour in the room. And I'd look across the room and be like, did you just, did you, did he really just, and I now have I call it my I don't even know how to phrase it, my "racist, I want to punch you smile." When it's like, we're in a professional, and you said something that is ridiculous. Like one guy in a networking event, walks, in the middle of my conversation. I'm talking to two other people in business and we're talking about, you know, how we're going to create, build their platforms, and he walks straight up to me and he's just like, how do you do your hair? I was like what? I do it myself, ignore him like, okay, cool. And he stands there. He's like my wife, my wife has locks, she's Black. I started to, I had to smile at him. I was like, hi, sir, what is your name? How are you? Do you want to join us? So yeah, so many scenarios that happens and it effects in business and marketing on so many different levels that sometimes you just have to keep up with it. Which is why I really appreciate Jon being here. And kind of him saying, and bringing in the people who normally wouldn't be aware of these things happening because the conversation can be difficult at times. Cause it's just like, oh, you didn't know, the sky is blue. We've been seeing the blue sky for 10,000 years. Welcome.
Jon Payne (17:14):
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. Also the thanking me, by the way, while you two are telling your stories, part of the reason I'm looking so fucking terrified is I have a lot of cognitive dissonance about my inability to be polite to people of colour throughout my life now, because you're getting microaggressions all the time. Right. That's, that's how that works. And I know I've delivered a lot of them, not, you know, not deliberately. And I look back at some of my actions where I think I'm being lovely and inclusive and I've been a dick, just like, I've talked over Sunjay, this is not working.
Sunjay Singh (17:48):
I was just going to ask quickly. Azeem, have you ever had anybody that gives you a sigh of relief when they hear that you speak English?
Azeem Ahmad (17:56):
Jon Payne (18:00):
Jesus. Right, Azeem, have you got any, anything you want to tag on on those?
Azeem Ahmad (18:05):
So just to follow on, from what Sunjay said, one thing that I do, it's kind of a reverse. So if an Asian person comes to me and immediately start speaking in any Asian language, that's an assumption that they've made that I can understand it and speak it. So immediately I'll just say, and then we'll have a conversation and I listen to them and they'll go off and talk in a different language, which I can probably understand. And I know that they're talking about me and then if they make a joke and I laugh, collared them immediately. A quick one, I can share. A funny, . I'll share a funny one with you. So years ago I was going to Florida. I was going with a white family. It was in the middle of summer. Departure lounge heaving, absolutely heaving. You cannot hear anything. Kids galore, just loud. Waiting to get on the plane. Excuse me. Guy comes over to me and he's like, Azeem why you' not answering me when I'm calling you out over the tannoy. And I looked at him and I was just shocked for a second. Like how does he know who I am? And I never heard him call me. So I just said to him, how did you know I'm Azeem? And he just said, look around. So I looked around and obviously I was the only non white person there. He took me to one side grilled me, absolutely grilled me. Like, where are you going? Where are you staying? Why you with these people, et cetera. The same time one of his colleagues had gone to the family that I was with, asked them if I'd brought them there under any duress, if I had anything in their bags, honestly, true story.
Azeem Ahmad (19:34):
That same trip. We are, I can't remember the name of the thing, the big tunnel that you go and get on the plane. We were on that and we have to go down some stairs.
Jon Payne (19:44):
Azeem Ahmad (19:45):
Yeah, yeah. Halfway down, there's a table there. And there's two chaps and they stopped me and they say, look, we just want to check through your bag. I said, yeah, absolutely fine. No problem. Let them check through my bag. One of them is checking through the bag. Cause the other guy is like, have you got a problem with this? Is there a problem with me just kept like sort of nudging me. It's there a problem with this? You look like you've got an issue. And I was like, absolutely no issue, that's your job. Carry on, big grin on my face. And then somebody in front of me, I always remember her face.
Azeem Ahmad (20:14):
Elderly, white lady, she turned around and she went, excuse me, that is disgusting. You're picking on this chap for no reason at all. And just started losing a rag. And I stopped her and I said, look, don't, don't do that. This is what they want. They want a reaction and they're not getting it from me. And now they're getting it from you. If you continue to smile, do what they say and don't give them any reason to have an issue with you, that will hurt them more in the long term. And he's going to remember this for all the wrong reasons. And then they just shut the back and went, that's fine off you, go enjoy your flight. And I just gave him the biggest sort of fake smile and went, thanks. Literally we could spend an hour, two hours talking about all the stuff that we've experienced.
Jon Payne (20:55):
It is useful and I appreciate you doing it because it is that sort of thing that, that most people like me have not experienced that. And I, and I haven't even heard stories like that. And the other reason it's useful is hopefully now some of us will be able to, at marketing and networking events, assuming they come back, be able to recognise the, "you're a racist and I want to punch you" Joyann Boyce, trademark smile, but Azeem apparently also delivers which is, which is good. So the, the, we, we talked about how this is affecting us in the real or affecting you guys in the real world. We know it's affecting me because I'm an idiot who runs a marketing agency and I don't have any qualifications and I used to be a shepherd.
Jon Payne (21:44):
So and I used to just think I was talented, but you get to like 38 and you like that, oh, this is privilege. Ah, gosh, I wish I'd spotted this before. I wouldn't have been such a big headed wanker through my twenties. The, the, the, the, the, what we want to do is talk about how we can start to make things better, right. But this was hopefully scene setting and useful for people who are on the call. One of the things that I thought this morning as I was getting out of the shower, apologise for putting that mental image in your heads, but it's there now let's try and get around it. It was wow, it's so hard. I was thinking about what I was gonna say on something else. And I think it's so hard because, you know, to try and fit in all of this inclusive language, Joyann, you do it so beautifully all the time around everything.
Jon Payne (22:35):
And and then I was thinking, ah, and it was just, I was just reminded of exactly what you said, Joy. The sky is blue and, or Seth Godin described it as there's two fish in the water. And they're discussing something. And then one of them suddenly goes, oh, we're surrounded by water? And that's why other things were drowning. And it's like, that's how systemic racism particularly is, is, is really well illustrated. And I was thinking, wow, if I now feel that just because in the last, certainly 18 months by my mind has been a bit more blown. Of course, I've not been a racist in inverted commas. I've certainly benefited from a racist system without challenging it. So I have been in that sense, but, but in the last 18 months, my, my, my world's been been, my eyes have been opened a bit more.
Jon Payne (23:29):
And it is that thing of, well, if I find it that difficult, I'm only having to do it when I'm talking in professional circles, typically. People of colour living their entire lives like this in this water. And I just think it's it's so important that we hear from you guys, I shut up now because, because you guys, you guys need to help us understand that, you don't need to. You're generous enough to help us understand how we can start to make a change. So thank you. Joy, let's talk to you because you've been talking about inclusivity and how that could be made the standard in marketing. Talk to us a little bit about that and how we might make some changes in our, in our work.
Joyann Boyce (24:12):
So kind of pulling off of what you said, a lot of this is systemic. So you need to embed change in order to make change happen. It's not going to happen overnight. It's not going to happen because someone posts a black square, all of a sudden all your marketing content is going to be diverse representative. No, and I'll have a side rant about Black History Month coming up soon, anyway. Inclusive marketing and all the I stand for and pushing forward with it is embedding it throughout the whole marketing process. So from the moment that you're having that creative idea or you're with that agency, or you're putting together a campaign, or you're even running Facebook ads, it's considering the impacts from there. A lot of the research and a lot of the things I'm doing, I'm currently doing a data fellowship right now is looking at how algorithms and the things we use as marketers have systemic racism in it and systemic bias in it.
Joyann Boyce (25:07):
So we actively have to do things to change. And there are tools out there and tech out there that help us do that. And I think if we can become aware of the actions that we can take and embed into our whole whole process, then it will, it will grow and it will change over time. And then inclusive marketing won't be this whole niche sector. Won't be a, let's just do it for Black History Month, or let's just do it because it's Autism Awareness Month. Cause when I'm speaking about inclusive marketing, yes, I am a Black woman. Yes. That is what you see. But I will also talk about disability. I also talk about representation for mental health. I also talk about language and trauma and all of that is inclusive. And it's not charitable because no matter what your company is, no matter who you're targeting, as long as you're targeting people, I don't know if anyone's targeting aliens, but as long as you're targeting people, those people are diverse, no matter the sector.
Joyann Boyce (26:01):
And amazingly, I always use it an example, when you look at campaigns around tampons, tampons should be targeted to people who have periods. People who have periods are people that present as women and trans men. Up until two weeks ago, no one had ever thought to target a tampon to people rather than women and always pink as well. Fucking hell. I know I'm wearing pink today, but it's not, it's not normal. But that, that was inclusive. And I think it was Superdrug that did it. And I was just like, duh, you just change one word in your copy and you've opened up your audience. You're still marketing. You're still targeting. You're still suiting a certain niche. Cause you're not gonna target tampons to people who no longer have periods, or to people who use it for other things. You're targeting the people that use it.
Joyann Boyce (26:54):
Don't know what other things, but anyways. So that's what inclusive marketing is, is understanding when you're doing your whole process, content creation, going forward. That's what you're thinking of. And that's what the next generation want. Gen Z that are coming up, they didn't have Tik Tok. All they know is that algorithms are catered to diversity. That's all they know. Tik Tok is very crafty and making sure if you like a certain type of content, they will show you as many people in that area as they can. Outside of the politics of Tik Tok, we can get into that some other time, but that's what Gen Z does. That's what Gen Z knows. And that's what they expect. That's where they're putting their spending money. The same way you see people talking about wanting to shop ethically, it's a slower burn because it's been happening a lot longer, but it's the same ethics of being applied to what, what representation does this brand have for disabled people, for women, for Black people? How is this brand treating its companies, its employees? That's the same way people are gonna use their money to spend. So if you want to keep making money you've got to have inclusive marketing embedded. Rant over.
Jon Payne (28:03):
Nice, also great line to end on. If you want to keep making money, you've got to have inclusive marketing embedded. You've done a blog for us, giving some ideas on that. I suspect there's, there's plenty more on your site and various other places that we can find it. If we're talking to you guys. So we'll, we'll come back at the end and get you to shout out your social channels and all of that kind of stuff. So people can follow you and you can share more stuff at the end of this. I think we, we, we should jump onto, I mean, we've got, we were talking about how do we get more young people into the sector, paid internships and don't be racist in the interviews, because you're not even, that wasn't even because you have a name that looks Black on the CV. So you get put in the bin, Joyann. You've got a name that looks Welsh, so.
Joyann Boyce (28:59):
And people still mess it up. They call me Joanna. I really find it very odd that my name is hard to pronounce. I am baffled. Of names out there. It's two, it's two simple names.
Azeem Ahmad (29:08):
The H in my surname, people often what people take as an invitation to clear their throat, some almost die before..
Jon Payne (29:25):
Because they really want to get down with the ethnicity of it all. Yeah. Gosh, I am feeling so filthy right now. I'm just like that, oh god, white people. Why? And I'm one of you and I know I do this, oh god. Right, anyway, while I'm biting holes through things with my buttocks being so terrified of all of this. Sorry, it's just, I'm clenched massively by people pronouncing Azeem's name. So should we get onto the questions? Gross stop talking gross. Gross. Apparently according to Claire, should we get onto the questions that people have sent in? Claire, do you want to start shouting them into the void?
Claire Dibben (30:11):
Hello everyone. And so I've just put a link in the chat to the survey. So if you've got a question which you'd like to ask anonymously, just click on that link and you can submit questions in there or chuck them in the chat. We've had a few come through already. So I'll kick us off with, if a business currently does not have a diverse staff, does using more diverse imagery in their marketing come across more as appropriation or falseness rather than representation.
Joyann Boyce (30:44):
Very much to me depends on the use. If you're only using those images on your hire or come and work for us page and then someone clicks and then your whole team is white or your whole team is men then, yeah. But if you're using it across your content, especially in a B2C sense, then that, that is showing representation. Cause that's reflecting who you're targeting. So just having that in mind, I say, I think one of the main things where companies that don't have diverse representation, is just being very transparent on team pages. And just so if someone does come to your page or your website and it's like, hey, I see all your content. They can quickly see, okay, this is what it is, that's what they're doing. It's when you try and hide it, you can come across differently.
Azeem Ahmad (31:29):
I think for me, the only time that would be acceptable for want of a better word is if they're doing that. But they're actively trying to address the lack of diversity at the senior levels. So if on a Monday they put out a statement and say, look, this is our senior level leadership team. We are 90% male and 80% white or whatever, very male, very white. They've put out a statement to address that. And they're going to talk about this yearly in the same way as they're going to talk about the gender pay gap. And then by the end of the week, start having more inclusive marketing. It's a sign. And as Joy rightly mentioned, sorry, as Joyann rightly mentioned. It's a sign that they've taken steps to make progress. You're not gonna achieve progress overnight. And I said this before, I think on the previous webinar thing, sometimes the issue that I have is that sometimes we get so frustrated about seeing things that are happening. We just want progress to be as quick, if not quicker, but you realise that this has been going on for years and probably will continue to go on for more years. But if it's a sign, that progress is happening, then that's okay with me.
Sunjay Singh (32:45):
Sunj, do you have anything you want to add?
Sunjay Singh (32:47):
I mean, they've summed that up pretty well. The only thing I'd say is that, you know, from a pure marketing perspective, if you had a poster, which was diverse and it said yeah, could this be you, I think that's acceptable. I think sometimes it's weird when you can see a picture that's like obviously overcompensating. So like a picture of like four Black people, shaking hands. You know, like really awkward stock photos like, what, this is weird. I really love BNI as an organisation, but they are so bad cause they've got such a reputation of it being an old white man's club that now in their marketing and their sales presentations, it's so far the other way. It's hilarious. But you know, for me, it's always about intention as you know, it's already been mentioned, intention is so crucial. One of my best friends, he used to work for us, Sid, he used to go to the networking at Business West and he was only working with us for about six months.
Sunjay Singh (33:45):
He got photographed and put onto their like leaflet. That got posted everywhere and I took a picture of it and just put like token right above his head and like sent it to him. And I said, I think we still got a couple of copies of the office. It's brilliant. But you know, I'm not going to knock them for doing it because they sort of like this is, we should do it. I get it. But yeah, there was just you know, do it across the board. So it's not just like I'm going to do it now because it benefits me because I look good, do it for the right reasons. And I think you're going to be fine.
Joyann Boyce (34:18):
Just a quick note on that face that's been seen everywhere. It's fading now, but my face has been seen everywhere, but I kind of set myself up. I did a whole stock photo campaign. So
Jon Payne (34:31):
Yeah, when you used to come to our events or you still do, and that's lovely, but you'd come and you'd be one of the few, if the, if not the only person of colour there perhaps, and you're tall, so you stand out and you could just see the photographer who was ever doing it, would be like that. And I'd have to monitor them for the first, like, okay, I need to stand next to this guy for 20 minutes. And it just be like, okay, don't take all the photos of Joyann because that's great for our inclusivity, but we probably need to ask her if we could make her the face of every event we've ever done.
Joyann Boyce (35:04):
Joyann is the Idris Elba of Bristol.
Joyann Boyce (35:11):
I mean one time. There's a certain conference, that I have actually trolled on Twitter. I'm not going to say who it is, but they continuously used my picture from three years ago. And I'm like, your conference is crap. Your founder's crap.
Claire Dibben (35:26):
Are you talking about Digital Gaggle, Joy?
Joyann Boyce (35:28):
No, I am not.
Jon Payne (35:30):
Hey jeepers. Harsh.
Joyann Boyce (35:35):
A tech conference.
Jon Payne (35:35):
Yeah. Yeah. Let's okay, well, let's talk about that afterwards, cause we need to...
Claire Dibben (35:39):
Should I move on to another question that we've had?
Jon Payne (35:43):
No, let's slag off competitors?
Claire Dibben (35:46):
So we've had a question come in around terminology. So the question is, is POC or BAME, the preferred terminology? What about BIPOC? That seems more American. So is it appropriate in the UK? If someone wants to be genuinely sensitive, what is most widely accepted?
Azeem Ahmad (36:09):
I will start here because that's a great question. And it's something that as a person of colour, I am quite uneasy and uncomfortable with. So initially when I started my survey, I referred to anybody who isn't white as BAME or BAME. And then the more that I started to research and get into this and look into both UK, US and around the world, there were different terminologies for non white people. So as you mentioned, POC BIPOC. And it's something that I'm still a little bit uneasy with. So you'll see the, I mentioned BAME or POC, and I think I'm leaning slightly more towards POC, but there are people, rightly I should say who think that BAME is just not the right sort of term to use because often you'll see news outlets and everything else. And in my previous talk with yourselves, you'd see that I mentioned it. So Oxford university blanketed the BAME phrase to mask the fact that they had more Black students apply for them. And they said we had 20% more BAME students. And they used an image of a young Black girl. And when you dig into the numbers, it was actually something like 3%. So I can see really how that is not an inclusive term. But for me, I probably lean more towards POC or BIPOC.
Claire Dibben (37:36):
Thanks, Azeeem. Sorry, Joyann, go ahead.
Joyann Boyce (37:40):
For me, it's all about context, BAME, Black and Asian ethnic minority, which is not even the correct abbreviation of it was created so the government could have a tick box to categorise and understand. What happened with that term is that the press and marketers are guilty of this, started using it everywhere without even saying. So to me, the correct way, if you're going to use BAME, you need to mention and type the words, Black and Asian, ethnic minority. It's the same with any other abbreviation. The first time you say it, you type it all out, then you abbreviate it. So that's just general abbreviation procedure. For myself, I decide, I, I use, depending on what I'm talking about, if I'm talking about racism, I tend to say Black and Brown because within the Asian culture itself, racism treats Asian people in different ways, depending on the darkness of their skin tone. So how I say it and what I say, I try to stick it with the context, but again, going back to the basics of marketing, if you're going to be speaking to Black and Brown people, people from Asian background, I'm not going to call, I'm not going to go into Google and say, oh, internship for BAME people. That's not natural for my language. It's something that someone else calls me. I might type, you know Black women in marketing. Cause that's how I describe myself. And I think with the terms and the terminology, it does change and it is different contexts. And that depends on countries like people of colour is a broad one, the same way that people look at feminism and Black feminism as very separate things. So thinking about who you're talking to, what the impact is going to have, then think about the terminology you use. I was going to advise using Twitter as a guide, but sometimes Twitter can take you a little bit off just a little bit just sometimes. But yeah, that's my 2 cents.
Sunjay Singh (39:37):
Again. I'm gonna echo what everyone else says. I think the, I probably used BAME, you know, a while back. And then you start realising like the reality is, as Joyann mentioned, the, the treatment of Black people versus the treatment of Asian people is different. Even in, the University of Bristol did this study where they looked at SATs scores from, that were marked anonymously versus the teacher's grades, and Indian and Chinese students were scored higher by teachers and actually Black students were scored lower. So even on that level, we can see that there's a difference as, you know, I would have received a privilege over Joyann if I was in a class, not, but she would have beat me up cause she's taller than me and doesn't need a foot stool. So, but BAME, yeah, it seems like it doesn't, that's not a fair, really like collective name I don't think anymore. So I think people of colour, I think the word coloured or people of colour has its own connotation. So that's probably not a perfect term either, but you know, we're just trying to work with what we got. So, yeah.
Claire Dibben (40:41):
Cool. just to encourage people again, if you want to chuck a question into survey monkey, I've dropped that link in the chat. So do keep sending them through. Another one that we have says, I want to be able to speak up for my colleagues at work and encourage more diversity at all levels within the company, but I worry about coming across like the angry white woman who's speaking on behalf of others. How can I make sure I'm a good ally without making it all about me? So who wants to take that one first? Sunj?
Sunjay Singh (41:15):
Yeah. I think it's, I think it's always about before acting, it's actually about gaining a good understanding and reaching out. I'd much prefer someone had a conversation with me and say, hey look, just being completely transparent. There's something that someone said to you earlier, and I'm not super comfortable with it. I didn't know if I'm overreacting or like actually if this is an issue. And I think what that does, you know, I'm a bad example because I'm like supremely confident. So I'm always, I have a laugh with somebody. If I think someone's racist, I'm going to call it out then and there, but not everybody's like that. And I think by having a conversation where you say, I'm not sure is this actually, is that okay? Really? It made me feel a bit uncomfortable. How does it make you feel, you can have a conversation with somebody where perhaps they would have let it slide, but because they knew that actually they're not the only person that feels uncomfortable, somebody else did kind of like the white woman in Azeem's story earlier.
Sunjay Singh (42:08):
It kind of gives you the, the kind of confidence to be like, actually, yeah, probably wasn't quite right. And then you can have a conversation. Well, what happens next time if we do that? Or should we do something together now? And it's more of a collaborative approach. I definitely don't want somebody, you know, I've had it before where people would've messaged me on sites saying I don't think that's cool, do you want me to say something? And I'm like, no, no, that's fine. I've got a relationship with that person. And it's, I know they know where the line is. I know where the line is and we can have fun and a bit of banter. So I would, I appreciate someone coming up to me and speaking to me and finding out and having a conversation. So it's just about reaching out and understanding, I think, first.
Joyann Boyce (42:51):
I would add a little bit on that in just knowing, knowing the dynamics of how things lay. Just to bring in a little story. There's, Jon mentioned about the whole don't touch my hair video. One of the jobs I was working in a coworker walked up behind me and started playing with my braids and was holding it in her hand and it took me about two minutes to realise. So I then was like, oh, you're in my personal space. And she didn't understand what I meant. So I reached out and touched her glasses. She reported me for touching her glasses. And when I said that she was touching my hair, they were like, it's not the same. And I got disciplinary. So I would say when trying to stick up or defend things at things at work, I definitely agree with Sunjay mentioned about whoever you're trying to help us support, make sure you have a conversation with them because they may not want that added stress. There's kind of, a kind of unknown thing about when you're a person of colour at work, you kind of just do your job and go home because any extra interaction normally leads to a negative response. So just bearing in mind, the person may not want that weight, or they may not want to become the whole reason the company's doing something because it's not genuine that they're doing it. So I think having a conversation with them is really good.
Azeem Ahmad (44:17):
Spot on. I think what Sunjay mentioned earlier about intention is, is the biggest thing. If it's coming from a genuine place of interest and wanting to learn then, absolutely no issues. I think one of things that I was thinking of there, listening to you both talking about and telling your answers there. One of the things that I want people to take away from this webinar is that, look, I'm going to speak for myself and not for my esteemed colleagues here. We are not the spokespeople for every person of colour. Like I don't represent every Asian person that walks the face of the earth. I don't. These are my opinions, often you'll hear me start sentences with, I think that because it's my opinion and you're welcome to challenge me on it and let's have a, an actual discussion about it and it's coming from a good place, no issues at all. I think people now just in general, so, regardless of your age, gender, any of those protected characteristics, I think now, like as in right now, people have to get uncomfortable and you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Azeem Ahmad (45:26):
And if you're not doing that, then things aren't going to change and things are not going to move. You'll see in the news now people are getting upset about the fact that advertisements are featuring Black people or people are getting upset about the fact that there's a dance routine that's politically challenging. I don't want to see politics on a Saturday night. It's not true. It's because it's undercover racism and people are starting to get uncomfortable with the fact that things are changing and their views are still exactly the same. And they're not moving along with the times and they're getting left behind. A more recent example from today, I think, I'm not sure how official it is, but Sue Barker's left A Question of Sport and she's rumoured to be replaced by Alex Scott. People are going insane on Twitter. She was trending. Number one.
Azeem Ahmad (46:13):
Oh, we know why this is, and they're not actually saying anything racist, but it's what isn't said that is the most racist. When, if anything, she's probably one of the most qualified people to have that job. She's got a background in the industry. When I watch her analysing sport, I'm listening and thinking, God, she's picking up on things as a professional herself, I would never see. I'm thinking, God, she's great. I don't care about what she looks like, what her gender is. Is she the right person to talk about that? Yes. Overall point is you have to get, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable and move with the times otherwise.
Sunjay Singh (46:51):
Can I just quickly add to that point? That is why when Nadiya Hussain won The Great British Bake Off, it was one of the proudest moments for all people of colour because it was the weirdest setup, like Great British, do you know how it infuriated people. She can't win The British Bake Off! I loved it, I didn't even watch it but it was amazing.
Claire Dibben (47:20):
Okay. So we've got time for a couple more questions. So I'll just take a few more. Joyann, I think this could be one for you actually. It says working in an agency, how can we try and educate or change our client's views on inclusive marketing? So starting the conversation often makes them uncomfortable. Are there softer ways or resources that we can share that make them give a fuck. Personas, target buyers, imagery, messaging, or are uncomfortable conversations just the right thing?
Joyann Boyce (47:51):
Money. That's kind of a standard box answer. Black and Asian spending power in the UK is 300 million. That's more than the LGBT community, which always surprises people. And by the way, there are LGBT people who are Black and Brown. Yay. I had to say that one time when I said that fact to someone they're like no Black and Brown people can't spend that much. It's not possible. So I always say, start with the, what your client's interested in. They're interested in results, they're interested in goals. Inclusive marketing is not charity, it's not, you know, we're going to do it for the fun of it. You're still just trying to achieve a goal and you're trying to do that wider. So I think if a client is coming back and they, they will directly have to say to you, oh, I've actually heard someone say that a client said, we don't think that campaign's going to sell because it has a Black woman in it.
Joyann Boyce (48:43):
And if they say that to you, don't push it. You got your evidence. You've got your values as an agency, you know, who you're working with. But if you're presenting someone with facts and you're saying, here is a range of campaign, let's for a luxury handbag. We're going to present these five different models, they're all of different shapes and sizes and they come back and you're just like, here's the demographics on the reach on that. Here's how a campaign where a plus size model did last year and what the return on investment was. If they come back and they don't want the money, they don't want the money. I'm not going to fight nobody on that. Sorry.
Claire Dibben (49:18):
Brilliant. Sunjay, Azeem, do you guys want to add anything onto that? That was a great response. Wasn't it? Yeah. Boom. Cool. So another question says, look at the boards/ management teams of Bristol innovation, incubation hubs. So Engine Shed, SETsquared, Bristol Media are all totally white. What can we do to change this? Joy looks like you're...
Jon Payne (49:52):
Can I just make a quick apology? When the guy sent me that question anonymously, I said, I'd edit out those names. So apologies to Bristol Media, Engine Shed, SETsquared.
Joyann Boyce (50:02):
Bristol is a small city, eh?
Jon Payne (50:02):
But it's funny. The other point was we are always going on about how flipping great and inclusive we are. And then you look, you lift your eyes a little bit and get, ah, not at this level.
Joyann Boyce (50:22):
You know, we've got all these shops that seem to be split in one half of the city and the other half, no, not so. I have to be so diplomatic with this answer it's hilarious. Sunjay, how would you diversify BNI? Let's let's go that direction.
Sunjay Singh (50:43):
Look, before I give my answer, I know that Azeem was about to say something, so.
Azeem Ahmad (50:47):
Being not from Bristol, I can be safe. I was just going to say my thing that I always sort of hammer home is that every company, regardless of whether you've got 3, 30, 300, 3000 should release every year, their diversity gap in the same way they talk about gender gap. And that's the best way I think to do it. If there's better ways by all means, shout at me and say, look, I think we could do it this way, but every year you don't have to release names, but just say, this is our board. This is how we're made up, these are our percentages, this is what we're going to do. And if you go back one year, say why, if you increase, say why, but every year release that information simple as that, it's dead easy.
Sunjay Singh (51:31):
Yeah. I mean, I was going to just talk about firstly being aware of that problem, because it's obviously a problem. I didn't think even about it. So that's awareness and doing a strategy, like Azeem just said, I think would bring awareness to everybody and then an acceptance that you've got a problem, then we can start working on it. The problem with this type of problem is that because people didn't know about it, it's just ah don't worry about it. We don't think about those things. So then no action takes place. But if we're forced, like Azeem said to actually you have to release that information or suddenly, you know, that which gets measured changes, right? And we're not measuring it in the first place, so.
Joyann Boyce (52:06):
So yeah, we're moving it away from the. I just dropped the link for Buffer, which is a scheduling app. They have their diversity board published. Buffer has gone with transparency from the core, you can see how much their salaries are as a company. They still get dragged on Twitter for their treatment of Black and Brown people in the workplace. But they publish this every year and you can see live updates and you can even see on there when you go to C suite it is all white men. So I think that what doesn't get measured, doesn't change. And I think that's something that we can definitely implement across the board, stepping away from treating diversity as charity.
Jon Payne (52:44):
If I can jump in, one of the things that that really helps you know, privileged people in my position, is just to broaden your, your network, like your LinkedIn, to all of these, people, like people like me are linked in to bald white guys, they follow bald white guys on Twitter and all of their mates are bald white guys, apart from bald white guys' wives cause they're all in traditional standard relationships. But, and if you're in a position of privilege and now, you know, I only work in a company of 10 people, but it's still a position position of privilege. Cause we have a louder than usual voice. Just change who you follow on Twitter, go follow Sunj, Joy, and Azeem.
Jon Payne (53:26):
And then follow some of the people they follow. Do the same on LinkedIn because you'll just start to hear different voices. And if you start to hear those different voices, you won't be that person. We had someone we were talking to about a webinar a little while ago and we said, look, we're really trying to be inclusive in our panels. And everybody you've suggested to join us on this webinar is white. And they were like that well we don't know any people of colour, it's like, what the fuck is wrong with you? How, where, what country are you living in? Like pre-war Germany. What the fuck! Anyway. So that's me probably never talking again.
Claire Dibben (54:03):
On that note.
Jon Payne (54:05):
Claire Dibben (54:08):
Just sorry, Joyann before you finish, we're just coming up to four o'clock so just wanted to make sure that we're all conscious of that. Carry on, Joy.
Joyann Boyce (54:18):
Yeah. I was just going to say, just Jon always find a way to make me speechless. Follow other people, follow them and engage, basic social media rules. You're not stalking to people here, you know, they're not random weirdos. They're in your sector. I'm not telling you to go follow Cardi B even though the content value. Follow someone in your industry. There are, for whatever sector you're in. I guarantee you, there is a Facebook group, a LinkedIn group or a Twitter account that's campaigning for diversity in that sector. And if you can find those people campaigning and support what they're doing, even if you're not gonna like follow someone individually, there's always someone, like there's Ladies of SEO, there's BME PR pros for marketing. There's always a group campaigning for diversities. So you can engage with them and interact with them as well.
Jon Payne (55:12):
It's, it's four o'clock have we fixed systemic racism in the marketing sector?
Claire Dibben (55:21):
Yes, I believe so.
Jon Payne (55:23):
Well the two white people on the call are congratulating themselves. I think that's, the status quo remains. Look, there's, I think we've probably got loads more questions.
Claire Dibben (55:35):
We've had loads more questions.
Jon Payne (55:40):
Why didn't you send them earlier guys?
Claire Dibben (55:41):
Yeah. We've had loads of questions come through. So thanks everyone for putting them in the chat. And what we'll do tomorrow is we'll upload this recording to Wistia and we'll transcribe the video and I'll circulate that in an email. So that if you want to share it with your colleagues or friends, you can do so. And I'll also include the resources that we discussed with links and also social contact details for you guys, so that if people want to add you to their networks, they can.
Jon Payne (56:08):
Definitely listen to the Azeem Digital Podcast. Even if you don't like the content, he doesn't like his voice, this man. And I don't know why I, it's just like putting on a lovely, warm coat, listening to that podcast.
Azeem Ahmad (56:20):
People wouldn't have me on their podcasts, bastards.
Jon Payne (56:27):
That's beautiful. We've been asked by one person and I suspect there'll be more. Shall we do a part three? And we could just do much more Q & A, if you guys were up for it. So we'll reach out and check that this wasn't a horrific experience and see whether or not we can do another one. I mean, it might end up being early in the new year. The other thing about this is Claire Dibs has worked really hard to set this up and make sure that I am not a typical old white man and she never gets props. Thank you people for giving her props there. But more than that, we know that we are not performing well enough when we're looking at the LGBTQA plus community. And when we're looking at, or talking about how we can work with disabled people. So we're going to try and do more of that stuff. We need to keep the doors open and make some money, but we promise to spend the money on doing shit like this. So that's where we are. Thank you ever so much for coming along everybody, particularly though thank you to Sunjay, Azeem and Joyann for being so honest and lovely. We'll see you. Yeah. Thank you.
Events & Marketing Manager Claire writes about events, and, uh, marketing.
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