Inclusion & Trust in the Commercial Side of the Media Sector

September 29, 2022

Inclusion & Trust in the Commercial Side of the Media Sector

One of the objectives of the World Media Group’s working group on Trust & Engagement is to develop a better understanding of the perception of our brands within the wider media / advertising industry. Together with The Third Culture and the Brixton Finishing School, we recently conducted our first-ever survey on Inclusion & Trust in the commercial side of the media sector.

We conducted almost 300 interviews with media agencies, creative agencies and media companies, with a particular focus on the younger end of the industry. The survey examined organisational culture and inclusion practices and looked at the perceptions about what was important commercially.

D&I products and services have more commercial impact than policies

Overall, respondents placed a higher value on D&I products and services and how they impact on commercial decisions than D&I policies.

Almost half of the respondents (44%) agreed that providing insight and data that captures a diverse range of audiences was important. Thirty one percent thought an organisation should provide products and services for more inclusive advertising, and 23% wanted to see organisations demonstrating commitment to fully inclusive advertising.

Respondents considered D&I policies to have less of an impact on commercial decision-making. Thirteen percent of respondents thought it was important for organisations to integrate inclusion principles into mission/vision/values. The same number felt organisations should have special programmes that support underrepresented groups. Ten percent felt it was important that the people who worked at an organisation are representative.

Agency vs media perceptions on D&I differ

Having a representative group of people from various backgrounds on teams is already becoming standard during the agency pitch process, and there’s an expectation that a company will have an ERG programme to support underrepresented groups. However, when we drill down into the agency vs media perceptions of how diversity and representation impact commercial decisions, there is a dramatic difference of opinion.

Those working in media place a much higher value on D&I policies and practices than their agency counterparts. This is likely to be because established media outlets are brands in their own right. Implementing broader cultural policies is important to their business to the extent that not having a diverse staff may have a negative impact on sales.

For agencies, there’s less concern about a media partner having diverse staff as long as they have the ability to show insight into diverse audiences and demonstrate inclusive advertising and content.

The research, which has been shared with WMG members, has provided interesting insights for our media brands to consider. This includes the need for clearer articulation of the diverse editorial content that already exists across the World Media Group’s brands. We look forward to updating you on our progress in the coming months.