MARCO ISLAND, FL — As with many afflictions, the first step to a solution is admitting you have a problem.

That’s how Geraldine White thinks the advertising industry should tackle the issue of diversity and inclusion.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, White, Chief Diversity Officer, Publicis Groupe US, explains where she thinks the industry goes from here.

‘Stand back’

Speaking at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting, White says attendees were asked to score the industry’s progress on diversity.

“We came back with probably about a C minus,” she says, believing the score to be accurate.

“I also was actually appreciative of the honesty. I think sometimes, we have a tendency to score ourselves higher than we actually are. Admitting that we have a lot of progress to make, I think, is the first step.

“You have to step back to understand what are you actually trying to accomplish and start within your organization, the diversity, equity, inclusion in your organization, your policies, your practices, your programs, and then how that ultimately impacts the work.”

Company initiatives

Publicis Groupe is a global advertising and communications company with offices in over 100 countries.

The company has publicly stated its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and has implemented several initiatives to promote diversity within the company.

The company also has a mentorship program for underrepresented groups, as well as employee resource groups for different diverse communities. Publicis Groupe also regularly releases its diversity statistics and sets targets for increasing diversity within the company.

Inside and out

But Publicis Groupe cannot just let diversity be addressed inside the company, it also wants to produce inclusive creative material.

Still, outer diversity begins inside, White says.

“A lot of the things that have been tried and true in our industry, even the marketing funnel, it’s about relationship, it’s about engagement, it’s about connection,” she says.

“You can’t have those authentic connections with our consumers if we’re not also first having it with our talent in the organization and reflecting on who are we representing, how they’re being represented, and who are they being represented by.

“So the mix of those things absolutely shows up in how we’re actually able to reach those consumers. If we don’t embed that from the very beginning of conversation in the ideation, it’s never going to show up in the execution.”

You’re watching “What’s Next: Scaling CTV Through Industry Collaboration,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series produced at IAB ALM 2023, presented by Index Exchange. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.