Our latest accessmatters session focused on inclusivity and featured Asad Dhunna, founder and CEO of The Unmistakables. Recognised as a marketing industry changemaker and thought leader, Asad shared his experiences as someone who ‘didn’t quite fit in’ and decided to help with creating spaces for everyone.
Here is just some of the advice Asad shared for bringing inclusion into organisations and campaigns to represent and engage every audience out there…
1) Make space to make change within your organisation
Asad spoke about the importance of ‘inside-out inclusion’ – ensuring your own team is inclusive will build inclusive-thinking into your work, right from the start. Even the upcoming Christmas party brings opportunities to think about making changes for the better:
‘In my team, we’ve been talking about the Christmas party – the organisation of that can rely on what we’ve done previously – but how and who will feel included?
‘Take the time to ask yourself and not rush. If an event is centred around alcohol, will everyone be comfortable, will people feel safe? Create some space to think about this – how do we do things differently now?’
2) Market to your leadership team, too
‘If leadership don’t see a problem with inclusion at your business, show and frame it in a way that will be in line with what they’re thinking about.
‘If you work for an agency – you need to win new business. More and more, clients want to know what businesses are doing about this. If you’re taking a stance, this will attract new clients.
‘If you’re selling, how do you reach more people? If it’s a charity, how do you reach more donors. There is always a link between the bottom line and D&I.’
3) Support your organisation with long-term thinking
‘In marketing, we get addicted to the dopamine of “we’ve done something!” But how do you make inclusion a strategic priority?
‘Do a vision-setting exercise – what are the metrics we’d use as part of that? The sceond thing is to set those metrics, what are the KPIs? Ask, when we work with boards, is this a recurring item?
‘Because the change takes time and we live in an attention-deficit world, we want everything tomorrow. But we need to celebrate the small wins – we’re getting there. That helps keep the energy up.’
4) Avoid tokenism by amplifying the right voices
‘One way to avoid tokenism in campaigns is to define what we mean by ‘representation’– representative, of what, of where? If you’re targeting a certain demographic, is what you’re doing representing them, or the people you’d like to buy the product. How do you bring those people into the process?
‘Ask yourself what kind of representation you’re striving for. Is everyone on the team aligned on that? How does casting sit with the brand and who you’re trying to reach?’
5) Tell authentic stories
‘I think sometimes in the campaign development process, people can get attached to trends, and the latest influencers. It’s crucial to strip it all back – what’s the story? Who is telling it, and do they have the right to tell it?’
‘A past HSBC campaign I was involved in centred on transgender and nonbinary people being able to change their account details. They weren’t the first bank to do this, but their campaign told the story of Stuart, the person training employees on this. We didn’t put lots of bells and whistles on it – some people were going to hate it, because they hate the issue, but others would really love it. That’s how you do the authentic bit – tell the story.’
Find out more about our accessmatters here and catch up on some you may have missed this year in our round-up of previous sessions with industry thought leaders including Manifest’s Julian Obubo, The Social Mobility Foundation’s Sarah Atkinson and Taylor Bennett Foundation’s Melissa Lawrence.