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Episode 63
Amanda Fone & Adrian Walcott AfterCast™ Bonus Episode. People Powered Marketing

In this bonus AfterCast™,Samuel Monnie and Chris Lawson review and remix topics discussed with Amanda Fone and Adrian Walcott. They discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and showcase the abundant evidence that it will actually benefit your organization beyond profitability, alongside the value of disrupting the norm in order to push yourself and your business forward.

  • The real pay gap between white and black men and women in the US

  • Reverse mentoring insight from Joseph Charm

  • The allyship movement - white male CEOs that challenge the status quo

  • Diversity is directly linked to increased profitability

  • E corporations are the new B corporations (via Bracken Darrell)



Welcome to Across the Pond. My name's Chris Lawson and I'm joined across the pond by Samuel Monnie. How are you, Sam? 



Hey, Chris. I'm doing really well. I really do think we're building some strong momentum this season. I always come in excited and energized and entrepreneurial and other words beginning with E. And I feel the same way today.



Good. Excellent. I'm very pleased about that. 


No Turning Back 


This episode we've titled ‘People Powered Marketing’, and it's about creating a diversity of ideas whilst acting with purpose and integrity as well. Last week's interview was really, really excellent. Actually it spurred our thinking on this; we thought  we'd sort of double down on a couple of those different areas, really about challenging ourselves in our day-to-day thinking as well as reflecting on whether the marketing industry is changing. One of the earlier interviews we had with Yin said that actually, she believes that people are the differentiator in marketing and in business as a whole. I thought that resonated with us and then listening to Adrian and Amanda, last week again, it came out loud and true. If people are the differentiator then  surely we should be celebrating uniqueness and diversity. What we want to really look at is how you make that a day-to-day impact. It was really encapsulated  in Amanda Fone, one of our guests who I met a long time ago. She set up F1 recruitment, focused on the marketing communication sectors and the values of her approach really run through the whole of the agency. I think if that wasn't enough, she also set up an industry recognized initiative called Bame 2020 aimed at improving representation of underrepresented minorities across the marketing sector.  I met her and I'm very proud that I was appointed an ambassador to that organization. She set that organization up alongside our second guest. 



So the other co-founder of Bame 2020, is Adrian Walcott, and he's also the managing director of Brands with Values, which I just love a company that works with clients too, not their culture. So it's a lot about maximizing the returns to employees, shareholders, and obviously wider society. If you're doing that well, he's got a brand product and social background, he's worked in advertising as a co-founder, it's a social enterprise, which is basically, as you say, encouraging more people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, into marketing media and communications. What I currently love is the moniker, which they use it's No Turning Back 2020 was the framing and naming of the organization. Then as they, as we thought about this show and the work that they did, there's this angle about succeeding in this space is often about partnerships and diverse partnerships. Obviously I think we're role modeling that as partnering up on creating this podcast, because to be honest, I don't see many podcasts of hosts that looked like us as a duo. 


That's why we love doing it because we kind of see on the outside, lots of the same old, same old. So for us, it's refreshing to role model the change we want to see. The quote that Adrian said  in the episode that stuck with me really is "we've trodden different paths, but there's a lot of alignment in our values and the things we hold dear. So when it came to fostering the partnership with  Amanda it wasn't just a natural choice because  what we've seen is a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon about these issues and the fact that Amanda's been doing this for such a long time meant she was very authentic." and that for me, just sums up why those two were just a great power partnership and really driving impactful change. 



We'll get on to some of the themes that came up, but, but I think that authenticity is an important point. We talked about being an essential platform of marketing and Amanda was incredibly supportive of my career at an early stage and a real genuine desire to get to know me because I was doing things differently, with no other agenda than that. She made a great impact on my career. 


Racial pay gap in the US


I'm just thinking about who helped me, who was a helping hand or meant something in the early stages of my career. I can think of one of them as my undergrad professor when I was at university, a guy called professor Hugh Phillips. He was my dissertation professor and he just inspired and supported me. It is very encouraging. From the work I did, he made me aware of a scholarship to do my masters, which was Ulster university in Northern Ireland. It was a great personal experience because this is at a time when the changes were happening in Northern Ireland and is a great academic experience where I was able to get my masters. Being black in Northern Ireland at the time was just an interesting experience. Despite the tensions between the Catholic and the Protestant communities. I was welcomed by all sides of the community and I was made and I made friends with everyone. So living in the US is really interesting to see how race and diversity and inclusion and the challenges faced here. Whereas over there, it's more based on religion because essentially everyone was white and the conflict was between two white communities. 


So it was just as a saying for me, that experience was a great personal experience, but then the other person I can think of is a guy called Atilla Cansun. I always butcher his name, he's of Turkish origin, Turkish and German origin. His last name is spelled C A N S U N. But he would correct everyone because the C is pronounced like a J  and he's now CMO of Alliance healthcare. Which is the Boots Walgreens Alliance for those folks across the globe. So you've got Boots, just a huge pharmacy brand in the UK, and Walgreens is the equivalent in the US and I was marketing director for Braun Europe, and he called me into his office after a couple of weeks and said to me, “Hey, by the way, your pay is significantly less than your peers. We know there's a gap. There's a lot of data that shows that between ethnic groups, fact-based, there's a gap.” So in the US it can be the equivalent of 87 cents for if you're black versus a dollar for a white man. And if you're in similar positions, it can be 98 cents versus a full dollar  versus a white guy, if you're in similar roles. So there's a lot of data saying people of color and minorities are underpaid, but he just said, "Hey, you're paid half" and he showed me the numbers and simply for, it was just over half, and I was thinking 'how the hell?' But he said, “Look, if you work hard and deliver, I'm going to bump you up to be parity  because it's the right thing to do.” And low and behold, four months later, he did what he said, and my salary doubled but only just, because it was parity with others and I'm thinking, 'wow, who's who does that for someone? But also who's doing that for you? And who's doing that  to address an imbalance in the system?' And for me, that was just  such a strong memory. 



It’s interesting reflecting on that, I think Sam in those early mentorship roles. I think they can be very, very important, they can stick with you. It's interesting. I think mentoring is something we both feel has a place to play. Doesn't it? 



This whole premise of mentors, sponsors, and advisors. We’ve talked about that in prior episodes with great passion and Amanda in the episode, talked about the idea of getting reverse mentored by someone that's completely different to you with a different background, different educational background lives in a different part of the country or different parts of the city mixes with different people has a completely different perspective. Completely different diverse thinking that the idea of reverse mentoring is so huge. 


It was just a great idea that triggered the fact that I've experienced something similar at a previous organization when I was at Campbell Soup, I was part of seeing and really championing how powerful it was and actually how disruptive the idea of reverse mentoring is versus other peer companies. At Campbell's, there was a great movement to listen to, so there was a multi-generational network and there were the networks representing the black and the Asian and LGBTQ communities and native communities, people with disabilities. So all of these awesome stakeholders in the company, and I know there are different schools of thought on that. There is a huge value that you can actually gain from the structured approach of reverse mentoring, where senior leaders are just willing to listen to change policies and input from other stakeholders. So it's the ongoing senior leaders, we're setting up focus groups and asking what they thought about with these groups about policies, rewards, culture, a mid-year review. It's just pivoting away from decisions that are made and then rolled out, which a lot of companies do, more constant engagement, and it's a sign of change that people can actually feel. 


So this reverse mentoring coming back to that, it's also known as bi-directional mentor mentoring and the program at Campbell's has evolved over three or four years. It basically creates a different culture and different rules because it allows communicating upwards as well as traditionally down. And it reinforces the values. It's the idea and the principle that you can learn from someone junior in the organization or earlier in their career. That's inclusion right there. So, if you're not doing it already, if you haven't got a program in your organization already realize that you're late because we saw the data years ago when I was there of the demographic shift that's happening in the workforce. This program would actually support that shift and mitigate some of the challenges that  people are facing and there's so much data out there. There's examples of how transformation was five to six times more successful, more likely to be successful when a CEO communicates a compelling high-level change story. That's so critical and the digital leaders on the ground can help as well as through bottom up education and communication. So this reverse mentoring really does mandate and a  requirement for organizations in the modern world. 



I checked in with a good friend of mine, Joseph Charm, he's a learning consultant at QA limited. I met him at free formers, which was quite a progressive organization and he’s an inspirational guy. Although much earlier in my career, I knew the more time I spent with him, the more I was going to learn just by being around him, a really gifted trainer and presenter. He reversed, mentored a lady called Claudia Harris. At the time she was head of the careers and enterprise company. So the McKinsey background before that, and I was talking to him and asking him: Did he actually get a lot out of it? Did she? And why did it stop? He thought it was a very, very good experience and a great way to get some insight into what that day-to-day looks like from someone at that level, whilst educating them on things that they might just not have exposure to the rest in the company. I think it also helped him a lot from a validation point of view because during that time he never really would have had exposure to those senior level roles. Then of course, you get exposure to it. And you realise it doesn't look so hard. I can do this type of stuff, which I think is important. 


So of course you have a pressure where you tell yourself, “ah, what are they going to learn from me?” That's part of it, isn't it. Actually, that refreshing nature of understanding that everyone has something to learn from someone else. I think he recommends it. He certainly keeps in touch and thinks that he had a positive effect. I think the interesting thing he did was say that it fizzled out after a while,and again, this stuff isn't easy. It is hard work and you have to work hard at really embedding it rather than it just being something that is done for a small amount of time. You've got to make sure that it's within the overall culture of the organization that you desire to learn from wherever I'm whenever I think. 



It's the consistency, as you mentioned there, it's not a one and done. You've actually got to put effort and resources and encourage the senior leaders to take part and give confidence to the more junior early career people that actually it's meaningful. They're not being judged. Then can't say something silly that's going to get them fired and equally the more senior leaders actually take action from what they're hearing from their mentee. And putting it into practice is nothing more powerful than the grey haired senior leader saying, "I got this from this junior employee. And this was their idea."That  is so inspiring when those stories become true within the organisation. 


White Male CEOs


I know this podcast is about marketing transformation and what we're talking about is for wider business here, but marketing is about culture. It's about culture change and it's bringing in diverse ideas. That's what we do. It should be about good leadership as well. And good leadership is not about telling someone. Good leadership is empowering people to make the right decisions by giving them the right information. I think we need to hold onto that essence of what we do as being good marketeers and Adrian, I think within his company spends a lot of time helping companies to change and affect their culture. That's really about giving them a clear understanding of where they are in the first place. What I really like is actually, you know, he tries to make sure that it's driving the organization towards their desired culture. Evidence-based decision-making and I think this was a really strong point that I picked out from his organization, because so much of this stuff we think is intangible or can't be measured. 


Actually there is a way of making this tangible. You just have to work harder at it. So he uses quarterly post data to help identify what to continue in any sort of corrective action within that. And why is this all important, Sam? We need to relate it to purely commercial reasons rather than ethical reasons. The bottom line is that 38%, according to Adobe, of consumers are more likely to trust brands that do well with showing diversity in their ads. I mean, that's a staggering figure. Statistics show that within London, my home town, 49% of a population where all of the big agencies are base will be non-white by 2041. So a fair while off, but that's moving fast, which of course again, means improving diversity for businesses that traditionally struggle to attract and retain talent compared to other sectors is incredibly important. Yet we're still in the situation where the majority by far 90% of CEOs are white male.



If we hone in a bit more on marketing in 2021 as we're recording this, the latest data, unfortunately shows that CMO tenure is down in the US and with that. So is ethnic diversity of CMOs, which can be discouraging. I know we talked about in episode 32, the CMO and CIO poised to lead, and we make the point that those two together, they can actually drive the culture changes, especially during digital transformation and at heart, I'm an optimistic marketer. So I'm optimistic that folks will see the data to actually address the issues and show how those two folks and those two roles can come together and ensure that there's representation there because CMOs and CIOs - if they can join forces and really improve their communication. There's an opportunity to combine their resources because ultimately they can actually set the direction and lead the execution through the turbulent times and this new normal, or never normal that  we're talking about. That's happening in marketing and then in the business world and communication. So there is opportunity there, but the data right now is not encouraging. 



So why should you do all this hard work? Well, obviously there's the ethical reasons, first of all. There’s also the fact that you mentioned about the disparity in pay; a pound earned by a man or a woman earns 81 Pence, 78% of firms in the UK pay men more than women, when women are much more likely to be hired via blind applications, so that shows some distortion there.  African-Americans are 50% less likely to receive callbacks compared to white candidates. 



Just adding to that there's data that shows that if you put Jose on your resume, which has a traditionally Latino background  in the US and an Hispanic association versus Joseph or Joe, you're less likely to be called back even with the same resume. The only thing you  change is the name and the data shows that the algorithm somehow rejects Jose more than they do Joseph. It's just disheartening. There's bias in the system and it's known, and really there needs to be work to fix.



Absolutely. If we come back to that original premise, how can you get a diversity of ideas if you're not actually just fixing some basic stuff like that, but there are companies trying to change. There was a report by social talent, which looked at some different companies and what they were doing; some good work by Johnson and Johnson, I haven't read it in detail, but MasterCard, Marriott hotels, Coca-Cola were there sort of established companies that are trying to do work. We know that companies in the top quartile  for gender diversity were 21% more likely to have above average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile that comes through on a report in Forbes and McKinsey have done quite a lot of work on this as well. They show that companies with ethnically culturally diverse boards worldwide are 43% more likely to experience higher profits. Which I think is absolutely staggering. So overall, these are stats that show that having a more diverse organization can link to seeing a higher profit. So, whether you are persuaded by the ethical or the commercial argument, there's an argument there for you. So you should just go on and do it, shouldn't you? 



You'd think that companies would just do it and  this is a fact there's data out there about, you mentioned Coca-Cola they were sued for discrimination in the 1980s in the US. There was  lawsuit and they admitted that they were biased against African-American black employees and there was a settlement and they promised to improve diversity yet fast forward to 2020. They've basically gone on record now. At least they're being open about it saying that they just haven't got it to work. Over, that time period that the data shows that the diversity in senior roles across the organization is back to those 1980 levels, despite the lawsuit, despite all that commitment. So companies are really struggling to make it work and make it happen. And they need to tap into the resources and the support out there to make the change that can stick and they can do the right thing, because it ultimately actually makes you more money doing it this way. 



There's two factors there. One, don't take things at face value. Do your research and try to triangulate those points. And secondly, let's face it, we are still in campaigning mode in a lot of these aspects rather than just the accepted norm. That's why the work Adrian and Amanda do is so important. The rest of the No Turning Back organization, including also the ambassadors and the advisors and the advocates and actually not turning back. It wants to challenge the belief that marketing the communication industry is not seen as a serious career option for black, Asian minority and ethnic graduates and school leavers.  And the way it tries to deliver on that is inspiring  interests showcasing the many and varied careers and  providing those role models. 


That's where the network comes in. There's a huge number of early careers, plus some established players are really inspiring to look at.  I think it is also worth pointing out again about making this real, both Adrian at brands with value and Amanda at F1 recruitment are donating 40% of their annual profits to that initiative which is a staggering amount. So that is leadership and that is how to change your culture. But things do look like they're changing a bit, Sam. I mean, there's a great bit from the interview and if you haven't listened to it really encourage you to go back and have a listen. Amanda tells a great story of a young person, challenging the company they were interviewing for to justify  what they were doing to make this a diverse company to work for, and I  can pretty much stake my house on the fact about 10 years ago or even two years ago, that would be unheard of to ask such a difficult or provocative question it would have been seen in those days. So the fact that people are coming through, thinking 'this is an important point just to set out  my store straight away', I think it's great. 


“Let’s become and E corporation”


There's definitely momentum and there's interest and it's about taking bold action and winning the next generation of talents. Amanda and Adrian are all for that. We've talked about that a lot, right? In episode 28 - what's your personal brand, if you check back into that episode and have another listen, we talk a lot about building talent, culture, building people, and it's the gateway to changing culture, and it's absolutely through people. It's about being a catalyst for doing that, creating the energy, to move people out of their comfort zone and especially when you get them to engage. So it's really important to not just try and do things that get everyone's comfortable. 


You have to challenge the status quo and I'm really inspired by one leader I've worked for a guy called Bracken Darrell. He's now CEO of Logitech  but he was the president of the Braun appliances brand when I was in Germany. He was an inspirational leader. There's a quote from him, we just finished our strongest year in history. And he's talking about in the last quarter or so in early 2021, “I'm so optimistic about the future. I was thinking about B corporations. And these are the corporations which have a stake for society as well as stake for shareholders. So it's very much about doing both. "I was thinking that we want to be an E corporation. Standing for equality, equity and environment, enabling customers and employee engagement that will surely create expansion of our value to shareholders." I just love that because as a CEO he's putting it out there and he's role modeling.


I talked about the story earlier in my career of Attila Cansun where he used his power and his knowledge to help me financially and do the right thing.  If you check out Bracken Darrell as a CEO, there's a lot of content and posts he's putting out there. There's a recent one, a call to CEOs and leaders. It's time to go all in talking about the challenges, especially in the US, about the racial issues that we're facing and how to better be role models for good and doing the right thing and championing inclusion and representation. I've been approached by a few senior leaders who recognize the lack of ethnic diversity in their own organizations and they want to take credible action versus the superficial 'saying the right things but not doing anything about it'.  There's a playbook: "oh, well, let's call it a learning and development person. And they'll put you in touch with the diversity person", but they just don't want to do this from the do-gooder angle. They actually want to be credible in doing it. 


The role of an ally is huge. And the folks such as Bracken Darrell that I've mentioned before at Logitech are doing that. It's about tapping into the wealth of resources and support out there. We've talked about the work that Adrian and Amanda do, but there's resources, organizations, thought leaders in this space. I can think of another CEO Chip Berg, he's a CEO of Levi Stratuss and he's been very vocal and very out there in terms about these issues. As a CEO role modeling that, both Chip and  Bracken, white male CEOs who are role modeling and really communicating in a credible way to the majority of other CEOs and hopefully they can step up. There's a report from the ISBA in partnership with a company called Flock Associates about how to better be more inclusive and representative. There's a 4A’s and RGA, which is an agency. There's a podcast, beyond the pledge, about unpacking allyship, there's a bunch of HBR, Harvard business review articles out there. There's a McKinsey report that Chris referenced earlier. So there's a bunch of resources that are out. We'll definitely post a blog and we'll link them to the show notes. So they're really, the information is out there. The data supports the evidence that supports why doing this well, why being more representative, why it is more inclusive and having diversity of people as well ideas in organisations, ultimately makes you more money, is right for society, is right for communities and is right for the top and bottom line. 


Three Key Takeaways


That's well said, Sam, I think in a way we could end the episode there, but let's keep to our format of three key takeouts and reflections.



  1. Firstly, absolutely Visit the website. It's packed with resources, assets and information on how to be an ally and how to support the cause. 

  2. Secondly, there is a true deep and meaningful importance of role modeling by those empowered; it's often male CEOs or white male C-suite who can absolutely use that power to change versus keeping the status quo. 

  3. And thirdly, marketers remember that you're at the forefront of culture change. So don't shy away from that, and actually embrace that reality. You can make culture change happen in your organization and in society and beyond. 



Well said, Sam well said. So next week we're talking to Minter Dial, an extremely well-traveled knowledgeable marketing guru. I know, that phrase is well overused, but I don't think it's in this case. Honestly, he's been blogging and podcasting about marketing since I can remember. Author of  a number of good marketing books. We'll talk a bit more about them next week and he eulogizes about the power of personal transformation.  It's a great compliment to the series so far. 



That episode builds up again on this. It's another great show. Another great interview. And we're really excited about bringing that  to the audience and to you all. 


Without further ado, Chris, have a great week across the pond...

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