EDI Together event 

13th June 2022

Last week the GottaBe! team headed down to London for the first of many EDI Together events at The Drum Labs. Here we had speakers and industry professionals sharing their knowledge and experience within the ethnic industry with other agency professionals. Starting conversations in the industry allows us to make the small steps needed to make a big change. Whilst, over the years, there have been large movements toward a more inclusive and diverse approach, there is still a long way to go. But what is EDI, and why do we need to work together? This post will discuss and share some of the inside knowledge we picked up on the day! 

What is the purpose of EDI Together?

EDI Together was created to raise awareness of diverse approaches to both marketing and staffing within the marcomms and ad land industry. To make a change, we must work collectively and authentically as EDI seems to be a trend wave loosely followed as and when suits. 

As an industry, we have the power to influence large audiences, but this can only be done if we work together to tackle the lack of equity, diversity and inclusion within agencies, companies and the brands we work with. To tackle such issues, we must first understand the barriers within the industry preventing minority groups from being fairly represented and how we can break those down to bridge the gaps. 

What does EDI stand for?


Equity is fairness; unlike equality, equity recognises the challenges preventing someone from doing something and ensures adjustments are made to level the playing field. It means allocating the exact resources to make something equal rather than providing everyone with the same tools. This means that each opportunity is truly equal, and all barriers are removed no matter the starting point.  

“The route to achieving equity will not be accomplished through treating everyone equally. It will be achieved by treating everyone justly according to their circumstances.” —Paula Dressel, Race Matters Institute


Diversity should be included in every company, agency and brand and should be visible in all marketing coming from within. We should all recognise and celebrate the diversity of the differences brought to the industry and utilise the different skills which come from the variety of cultural backgrounds and experiences a diverse range of people bring to the table. 


Inclusion is about providing a safe space for all, no matter their background or culture. It is essential that everyone feels valued and represented so they can share their experience and voice. To ensure inclusion is felt, adjustments may need to be made. Inclusion is one of the last steps in ensuring that a company is more than diverse. 

Your brand can have a diverse workforce, but unless you champion inclusion within your business, then it is not automatically incorporated. It is about the policies and procedures put in place to ensure people feel valued for who they are, as this is what is most important.

How can we make a difference?

At the EDI Together event, we heard some great insight from an incredible panel of media owners who took time out of their busy schedules to share their knowledge and experience within the industry—highlighting the barriers we are still facing today. We also had speakers who shared some great content, including an excellent insight from Amina Folarin from Oliver, and Leila Siddiqi, who shared some of the best-in-class approaches from the iList and an exclusive look at diversity research from The Agency Collective.  

What small steps should we all make to promote equity, diversity and inclusion?

The Agency Collective’s diversity and inclusion survey 2022 found that 39% of agencies surveyed employed no people of underrepresented ethnic groups. Without this inside knowledge within the industry, agencies cannot fully understand the cultural differences among minority groups as a diverse workforce shares different lived-in experiences. 

To make a difference and change within the industry, we must ensure that we start from within. Employing a diverse workforce allows you to expand as experience cannot be taught, and the knowledge that comes from lived-in experiences is invaluable.

According to the IPA Census, whilst the number of ethnic minority workers in the industry is on the rise, the problem with diversity within the industry is not recruitment. It is retention. EDI needs to be felt in the boardroom, with a strong figure who has the power to make changes in organisations. Employees who do not feel valued will move on to where they do. This, unfortunately, is very common in the industry. 

Representation or lack of is another big problem. Therefore, it is essential for EDI not to be an afterthought. As our media owners repeatedly stressed throughout the event, they are often left picking up the small budgets and are expected to work for less as the main budget for a campaign has been spent elsewhere. If brands considered EDI at the start of a campaign, they could effectively target audiences through the correct channels and therefore make a bigger impact. 

As we mentioned above, equity is one of the key factors we need to address in 2022. How can we expect the industry to be diverse and inclusive if we do not provide equitable opportunities for all? Often minority groups do not get a say because of their social-economical status, which prevents them from benefiting from the connections others may have. Your brand can give others opportunities by offering sponsorship programmes to lower economic groups. Equity is about providing the right tools to allow for truly equal opportunities. Your brand should remember that knowledge can be taught, but the experience is invaluable. Training those within the communities will benefit your brand in the long run. 

Want to join the conversation? 

Don’t worry if you missed out. Our digital-savvy team has put together a video series for you to catch up with. 

Without our partners, we would not have been able to deliver such a successful event. We’d like to thank The Drum and The Agency Collective again for helping us provide EDI Together and look forward to meeting you all again. Sign up to our newsletter to hear about our events and more.

Let's see how we can work together