From Talk to Action: Brands, Authenticity & Results

By Comcast Advertising InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: From Talk to Action: Brands, Authenticity & Results

Comcast Advertising thought leaders and media industry experts explore critical topics and have conversations aimed at uplifting, educating and inspiring today's business community.

At times, the world can feel like a dark place—especially for those who are underrepresented and face racial and social inequalities. 2020 has amplified the need for everyone to pay attention, advocate for diverse communities and champion equality and inclusion. More and more, consumers are weighing which brands align with and represent their own values and it's clear that the marketing community has a role to play in driving impactful change and amplifying voices and authentic stories.

Comcast Advertising's Culture Conversations webcast series explores the nuanced issues and opportunities impacting the marketing community with industry thought leaders sharing their insights on a range of topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The series aims to educate and inspire dialogue and action within the media and advertising industries.

In the inaugural episode, Comcast Advertising's CMO, Maria Weaver (pictured top left), moderated a discussion centered around how brands are navigating change at a time where some are getting it right and others are struggling to find the right tone.

Experts in marketing and the beauty industry, Nadja Bellan-White (pictured top center), executive partner at Ogilvy, and Esi Eggleston Bracey (pictured top right), COO & EVP of beauty & personal care at Unilever North America, were on hand to discuss the ways in which companies and brands are taking a stand on inequality and injustice. The pair shared the quick-to-market Dove campaigns highlighting essential healthcare workers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the black community in response to the death of George Floyd.

"Dove is a brand that wants to be a part of the conversation and Dove saw—through the view that Dove would have—a lot of triumphant actions and the beauty in those actions," Esi recalled during a notable moment in the episode. The brand is an exemplary one, amplifying a message aimed at fighting systemic racism. As the campaign puts it: "America will not be beautiful until it's beautiful for everyone."

A second episode in the Culture Conversations series, moderated by myself, served as a reminder that even with a victorious Supreme Court ruling on job discrimination in June, there is still much to do for the LGBTQ+ community; and brands have the capacity to play a role.

Alia J. Daniels, COO and co-founder of Revry (TV and SVOD network), Jonathan Lovitz, SVP at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and Raul Rios, VP of strategy at the Walton Isaacson agency, passionately discussed community wins and highlighted inclusive brands engaging with LGBTQ+ audiences in the right ways. They made it a point, however, to provide a reality check for companies and brands to step up.

On how companies and brands can engage with the segment in authentic ways, Jonathan says to, "get involved with us, not just as a consumer and business network, but also as a stakeholder group." Adding, "If we do better as people [and citizens], we do better as consumers."

Authenticity was a fundamental theme that carried through all of the conversations thus far. In the third edition, Carlos Santiago, president of SSG & co-founder of AIMM (part of ANA), observes that when we go beyond just inclusive casting, for instance, "cultural magic happens when marketers [like Denny's, P&G, Walmart, and others] represent consumers in the way that they actually are."

Melanie Hamilton, VP, enterprise sales at Effectv, hosted that conversation with Carlos as well as Sean Cunningham, president & CEO at the VAB, centering on how advertising campaign inclusivity can have a significantly positive impact on the bottom line. The episode draws insights from the VAB's recent report, Do the Right Thing: How Diversity and Inclusion Drives Brand Outcomes.

Striking the right tone and maintaining authenticity is not easy, but it's the right thing to do in terms of shining a light on underrepresented communities, which in turn aligns your brand to key customer segments, and ultimately drives better results for your business. Concerted efforts in multicultural and inclusive marketing not only help society, they can often create a competitive advantage.

Stay tuned for upcoming episodes by following Comcast Advertising on its social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter). You can watch the episodes described in the aforementioned at the video player below.

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