Kenny Rogers wrote, "Islands in the stream, that is what we are, no one in between, how can we be wrong". Dolly unforgettably sang it with it him.
That’s marketing's problem right there isn’t it. Alex Murrell wrote about it in his great piece "Adland is an island"
. It’s illuminating. Right at the end, it references a study by BBH, which looked at Group Cohesion scores by profession. It found that marketing is a monoculture. When we think the same, we make the same.
While Diversity & Inclusion is all the rage, how much is lip service and box ticking? Some companies seem like they're genuinely trying to change things. The Publicis Group's apprenticeship program aims to help 10,000 people from ethnic-minority and low social mobility backgrounds
. Which sounds legit. Netflix meanwhile, are looking to address gender inequality, with a $5 million fund to train and mentor female directors
. They found that over 13 years to 2019, women directed only 4.8% of 1,300 popular movies. Netflix commissioned only 23% of female directors over 2018 and 2019. We’ve been watching the world through the eyes of men. And female characters have been shaped by men. Change is needed.
One issue with change and diversity was brilliantly captured by Brené Brown here, when she says “this is not our problem, it’s yours”
. She makes the point that issues are often described as “our problem”. But when we do that, we hand the problem back and slow down progress and change. Which is bang on.
Tom Goodwin, meanwhile, makes the point that boards have also become detached from the reality of their customers
and need more diverse, different and dissenting voices. Boards he says, "are recruited to find people more alike, from within a small pool of trusted people, and to embrace the comfort and ease of casual consensus". One thing is becoming clear, the future, whether we want to or not, will have fewer and fewer islands to hide on. And that's progress.