MAA collaborates with WFA to launch global census

Brands must prioritise and accelerate the integration of diversity, equality and inclusion environments into their workforce instead of missing the mark, says MAA President, Kadri Taib (pictured).

The Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) is amongst many national advertiser  associations from 22 countries around the world who have confirmed their participation in the world’s first-ever global census of the marketing and advertising industry launched by  the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). The census is designed to provide industry feedback from the marketing and advertising industry across all levels of employment through a survey to assess where the industry is in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

According to a release statement released by MAA, this will be executed by investigating workforce composition across the industry as well as people’s perception of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including their sense of belonging and their perception of progress.  

Working alongside Campaign, Kantar, EACA, VoxComm ( the new global agencies association) and national advertiser associations as well as with their agency counterparts,  the goal of the consensus is to generate the largest and most representative sample possible.  

“This is a historic moment for our industry. For all the talk  of ‘we are in this together’, the pandemic has shown this to be simply untrue (as) inequalities have been exacerbated by recent hardships,” said CEO of WFA, Stephan Loerke. “Anecdotal evidence suggests the industry is  going backwards on diversity and inclusion (and) it is imperative we get a first-ever industry  baseline so that we can draw a line in the sand and move forward together in improving the  state of diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry.” 

According to WFA and its Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, the strain and pressure from the pandemic have made it harder for many organizations to prioritize their diversity and  inclusion efforts, while research has found that many women, in particular, have considered leaving the profession.  

Speaking to MARKETING Magazine, President of MAA, Kadri Taib, said the pandemic has magnified inequalities and industry efforts to drive diversity and inclusion have taken a hit.

“Things only get properly done when they are properly measured and the industry, including in Malaysia, needs a global baseline on diversity, equity and inclusion,” he told MARKETING Magazine. “The global industry is coming together for the first time to measure the current status of diversity, equity and inclusion in its workforce across 27 countries. This is a historic moment for the industry.”

Kadri also added that brands must prioritise and accelerate the  integration of diversity, equality and inclusion environments into their workforce instead of missing the mark.

“In the long run this environment will resonate with a brand’s value and culture,” Kadri said.

The initiative builds on work already carried out in the UK as part of the All In Initiative as  well as the many efforts led in the US by the Association of National Advertisers (“ANA”)  and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (“4AS”).

While national associations and their agency counterparts will be driving the samples at  a local level with the support of Haymarket’s Campaign magazine in relevant markets,  corporate members of WFA and agencies involved in the WFA Diversity and Inclusion Task  Force will be driving the initiative top-down via their own employees, clients, partners and marketing supply chains. 

The questionnaire will go live between June 21 and July 2, 2021. The results will be compiled and analyzed by Kantar and the key findings will be published by Campaign’s  global network of editions later in the year and presented at leading industry events in  October 2021. The results will also be used as the basis for an action plan devised and led  by WFA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. 

According to the statement, the WFA intends to team up with Kantar and  Campaign again in 18 months’ time to measure progress. 

The other participating markets in this census are Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia,  France, Greece, the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi  Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), Hong Kong (SAR), China, India, Ireland, Japan, the  Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden,  Turkey and USA.  

Supporting organisations include Brand Advance, Diageo,  Ferrero, Grupo Bimbo, GSK, Havas, Mars, Mondelez, m/SIX and Reckitt. 


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