Every year the ANA does a poll of committee members throughout the organization to determine the “marketing word of the year.” And for the second straight year, the chosen word is DEI-related. Last year it was “diversity” and this year it is “inclusion.”
According to the organization, inclusion was the top vote-getter by a “wide margin,” beating out runners-up “hybrid” and “metaverse.”
For decades the industry has been called out for its lack of diversity and inclusion, so it's finally great to see more focus on the issue, if the ANA poll (of 360-plus members) is any indication.
The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May of 2020 seemed to galvanize much of the world around the issue of racial injustice. Technology helped: Who couldn’t help but be moved to tears by the eyewitness video of the horrible crime that quickly went viral?
The marketing and advertising industry has invested millions in new DEI programs in the last two-and-half years, addressing issues like how to better recruit and retain people of color in the industry, how to better represent diverse cultures in ads and better communicate with them in marketing programs. Efforts are a work in progress, but I think moving in the right direction.
“It’s clear from the last two annual votes for the Marketing Word of the Year that DEI is front and center in the mind of marketers,” stated ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “And that’s how it should be. It’s abundantly clear that our industry is serious about addressing these issues and solving the problems they cause for our communities.”
The ANA listed a bunch of initiatives it has undertaken, including a toolkit created by the Alliance For Inclusion and Multicultural Marketing designed to help industry groups advance DEI efforts. The ANA has also fostered several research projects on different aspects of DEI.
Ad-marketing holding companies and numerous client-side brands have unleashed a barrage of DEI initiatives.
And the payoff? Some day in the future, I hope, DEI won’t be an issue, it will just be a fact of life in the industry.