By Suzanne Basra, Content & Internal Communications Manager at Ogilvy UK

 

In a panel at Cannes Lions led by HP Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio today, action was the word on everyone’s lips when it comes to diversity.

A topic that is not new to the agenda, this panel event called for moving the conversation about diversity into action. And fast.

Joined by Westworld star, Thandie Newton, British Vogue Editor Edward Enninful and ADCOLOR Founder Tiffany R. Warren, the panel discussed diversity across the board and how businesses should take action, now.

Diversity is not a trend

Edward Enninful, who a year ago became the first black Editor in Chief of British Vogue and created a Vogue magazine cover which featured nine diverse models, explained how diversity is just the way the world exists for him.

People of all colours and all shapes and sizes from all backgrounds are the people he grew up around. His upbringing meant diversity is ingrained in the way he thinks and behaves – so is naturally reflected in the work that he creates..

For Edward, diversity is not a trend or a buzzword – it is something which brands and companies need to build into everything that they do.

Diversity across the board

Tiffany argued against ‘sameness’ believing there to be no business case for it. A range of talent is needed and she argued not a single company could tell you “how sameness has made them successful”.

Adding to this, Antonio argued the case for diversity in every element of the industry. “Clients need a diverse perspective, because they write the briefs. Agencies need diverse perspectives, because they come up with the ideas. And production houses need diverse perspectives, because they bring the ideas to life.”

Taking action within a business

While conversations about diversity are important, Antonio stressed the need for action. He argued for diversity and inclusion to move out of the HR office and become rooted and anchored in a business, “treated like any other priority - with objectives, metrics, and targets.”

For Thandie too, conversations about diversity are not enough – it’s time to act. She prepared listeners for a challenging path, believing “preaching to the converted” is insufficient.

Instead, she urged brands and companies to get uncomfortable. “Discomfort is what makes you grow” she believes and talking to those within an organization who aren’t keen to see a change in diversity could reap the best rewards and achieve greatest impact. Most of all, she urged those holding the power to “use their authority to put the pressure on, the encouragement let's call it. Because it's a positive and the results are astounding.”

 

Follow the action live from Cannes on Twitter & Instagram using  #OgilvyCannes

There's more from Cannes Lions as we catch up with Ogilvy UK's Kevin Chesters following his panel discussion on YouTube and storytelling here.