2018: from #metoo to #trueme

According to new data from Glassdoor, more than 1 in 3 (35%) UK and US  hiring decision makers expect to increase investment in diversity and inclusion efforts.

Since July last year I’ve been privileged to work with a fantastic organisation Creative Equals, which aims to help organisations achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace. I’ve been involved in auditing organisations’ HR policies, conducting and analysing employee surveys and creating a system against which all organisations can be scored.

With Creative Equals we’ve been uncovering a lot of insight on the value and state of inclusion and diversity in some of the largest creative organisations. Findings and recommendations vary for each organisation, but these are some of the common themes:

State of inclusion and diversity

  • Gender, ethnicity and sexuality are still the major focal points for organisations, but we found that diversity is really complex. For example, just 400 employees categorised by gender, ethnicity, sexuality, education and age make up 157 different groups. Moreover, we find that for staff, diversity of opinion, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences often matters more than gender, ethnicity or sexuality.
  • There is a shocking underepresentation of people with disabilities, and pace of work does not allow for neurodiversity.
  • 1 in 5 staff said they have experienced discrimination.
  • Men on average are twice as likely to be in senior/senior management roles than women, and also dominate line management.
  • BME staff are less likely to be recognised through involvement in business-critical projects or entering their work into awards.

Value of inclusion and diversity

  • Employee Engagement is comprised of three inter-linked metrics: 1) the Overall Happiness, 2) employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and 3) one-year Retention Rate.
  • Feeling included at work and perception that diversity is a priority for the organisation impact all three Employee Engagement metrics  – with the highest contribution to the total engagement score, way ahead of pay and work-life balance.

Examples of  what can help organisations improve

  • Mentorship – organisations with the highest employee engagement levels also tend to have the highest % of mentorship. Those who have a mentor feel more valued and empowered.
  • Flexible working – overwork, alongside with finding it hard to be a parent, perceived insufficient diversity and not feeling valued lead to stress-related leave, costing organisations money. Flexible working can ease the burden of overtime and help people with family responsibilities.
  • Social purpose – employees aged over 35 would like more authenticity and a sense of purpose for their organisations.

Leaving employment to set up my own consultancy The Good Insight and working with Creative Equals empowered me to be completely myself. As an immigrant I had to navigate differences in cultural norms, not knowing where the line between integration and losing oneself was. I was fortunate with all my managers and their managers, who took me as I am, mentored and encouraged me, but invisible barriers were within myself. Whilst I always felt free to express my opinions, at various points I seriously considered elocution lessons, tried to keep quiet about my values, preferences and tastes.

Now I understand that being different is my strength. And I hope that the sense of empowerment created by the #metoo movement in 2017 rolls into 2018, and grows into something bigger – where everyone feels free to be #trueme.

 

 

When Anger is a Force for Good

Last Wednesday I attended “Anger: A Force For Good” event held at the wonderfully hospitable ad agency BMB. The event explored what made people angry, how they channelled their anger (tellingly the talk was held on the anniversary of Trump’s election and the Russian Revolution centenary) and whether anger could be used positively.

Haras Rafiq, the CEO of counter radicalisation think tank Quilliam, talked about the dark and destructive side of anger: islamist, far-right and far-left extremism. I learned that people became radicalised when they had real or perceived grievances and were fed partial truths.

Anthropologist Nazima Kadir illustrated what we unfortunately knew too well (think Brexit, Trump, AfD, etc.) – people get angry when they are ignored.

To lift us out of the darkness of anger’s destructive forces was a presentation by Ian Murray the founder of consultancy house51 and BMB’s own Head of Planning Jamie Inman. A stat that I took out from the research was that almost as many people in the UK (45%) got angry about the injustice of something that happened to other people, as about something that affected them personally (47%). If empathy is key to a more peaceful and happy world, than empathetic anger is nothing less than a driving force for good.

On the day of the event there was hopeful evidence that anti-Trump anger started bearing fruits, as Democrats swept to victory in governor, state legislative and mayors’ elections across the US.

In media and advertising it’s widely accepted that emotive content and marketing perform best.

Top shared media stories are emotional. In case you are wondering which emotions dominate, well, it varies by media. In the last 12 months the top shared story on The Telegraph “Redhead emoji finally on the table after campaign for ginger equality” is 59% joyful (IBM Watson Tone Analyzer). Whereas the Guardian’s top shared article “Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it” is 59% fearful. While The New York Times‘s “Trump’s Lies” is 72% angry.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising found that marketing underscored by emotion performed twice as well as campaigns based around rational thinking.

Traditionally, marketing has been dominated by two emotions: happiness and fear. In the first episode of Madmen Don Draper calmly tells his clients: “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness, and do you know what happiness is? … It’s freedom from fear.”

According to BMB/house51 research 60% of the UK population got angry in the past week. So there is a lot of anger out there, and it is important for marketers to be ‘in tune’ with how people feel.

Forget the John Lewis ad, my current favourite is Jigsaw’s pro-immigration campaign. It starts boldly with “British style is not 100% British. In fact, there is no such thing as 100% British”, and finishes with “Fear, isolation and intolerance will hold us back. Love, openness and collaboration will take us forward”.

A great campaign targeted at Jigsaw’s liberal educated target audience, which addresses their anger with Brexit and anti-immigrant climate.

Tesco’s mass-market positioning means that its similarly-themed Christmas ad provoked an angry reaction from the far-right for featuring a Muslim family. Its yet to be seen what it would mean for Tesco’s sales but the ad has worked generating priceless publicity.

Both Jigsaw and Tesco have managed to either chime with existing anger or provoke anger, and both campaigns carry a positive message of love, openness and happy co-existence. So, perhaps the most successful campaigns are three-part dramas that take us on a roller-coaster of a range of different emotions:

1. Set-up: anticipation;

2. Jeopardy: anger;

3. Resolution: joy.

And after more than a year of anger, I can only hope for a joyful resolution to the Trump/Brexit saga.

More reasons to eat chocolate

Even talking about chocolate can make people happy. 46% of tweets about chocolate brands in the UK express positive emotions: happy, excellent, great, #fridayfeeling, lovely, smiley face, etc.

And there are more reasons why people are cheering for chocolate than just enjoyment, elation and excitement triggered by the chemicals phenylethylamine and trytophan found in it. Natural language processing and text link analysis of the tweets let me discover these reasons*.

The three brands which were tweeted about most positively in the last month were Lindt, Mars and artisan British chocolate Seed and Bean.

Lindt was making people happy with its variety of flavours. Always a bonus: 70% dark, Raspberry dark and Sea Salt dark are my favourite!

But like I’ve seen with other categories, brand social purpose is a strong driver of positive feelings towards brands. Even more so for chocolate brands, where choice is abundant and its becoming more difficult to differentiate.

Thus, the reason why people were so happy about Mars was the chocolate maker’s  announcement it is investing $1 billion to fight climate change.

The majority of positive tweets about chocolate brands were dedicated to Seed and Bean. How was it making people happy?

Being ethical tops the list with 61% of all tweets. Rich variety of flavours is second with 25% – I am enjoying Raspberry and Coconut as I’m writing this. Offering vegan options and great taste complete the list with 9% and 5%  respectively.

For Seed and Bean, and Lindt making people happy also means that they are more likely to want to try the chocolate – a link to the healthy bottom line (for the brands’ P&Ls, maybe not so much for chocolate enthusiasts).

Positive emotions about chocolate brands account for 64% contribution to people wanting to try the chocolate.

Being ethical has a 24% direct and indirect link to the desire to try. Variety and having vegan options also make a contribution of 7% and 5% respectively.

Having social purpose and generating positive emotions is paying off for a smaller and relatively less established Seed and Bean, which accounts for 68% of tweets by people wanting to try a chocolate brand.

* The analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Modeler Text Analytics.