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Giving diversity a seat at the table is not only the right thing to do, but it is also essential

For businesses to grow in 2021

By Guest Contributor: Nadya Ramos

Over the past eight years, I have lost track of the times I have sat in on strategy and planning meetings in a room where I am the only person who looks like me. This is common for Hispanic/Latinos and African-American/Black people in the marketing and advertising industry, both in the United States and Canada. And some organizations are advocating for progressive change.

Although racial and ethnic diversity among the U.S. population continues to increase, over the past three years, the marketing and advertising industry has remained virtually unchanged in terms of ethnic diversity. In Canada, where Black people make up 3.5 per cent of the population, a similar narrative follows suit.

This is problematic for several reasons, and some of which were highlighted following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, leading to months of civil unrest. Amid protests and riots, brands of varying sizes across numerous industries were called out for their response — or lack thereof — to the Black Lives Matter movement. Consumers scrutinized brands for paying lip service, engaging in performative activism and making empty statements proclaiming their support for the movement, without taking any necessary steps to back up their social media posts. While racial justice protesting spread throughout the world, the marketing and advertising industry’s lack of representation became increasingly evident, with tone-deaf chief marketing officers (CMOs) of global brands opting not to address the movement, carrying on with business as usual.

Professionals working in the communications field have a responsibility to create and disseminate messaging that accurately reflects the makeup of the publics they serve. This year, we have seen an increase in communicators who are coming together to champion the rights of and opportunities for others. For the past three years, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has been conducting studies on the state of diversity. According to Marc Pritchard, chair of the ANA’s board of directors, “Equal representation builds greater access to opportunity. Equal representation leads to equity in income and wealth creation. That leads to more purchasing power — which leads to market growth.” The current breakdown of the industry in the U.S. is described in the charts below, based on the diversity report findings of the ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM).

ANA/AIMM Population estimates per the United States Census Bureau

Source: ANA/AIMM

The disparities go beyond CMOs and carry all the way to entry-level positions and administrative roles.

ANA/AIMM graph showcasing disparities

Source: ANA/AIMM

ANA/AIMM graph showcasing ANA membership by ethnicity

Source: ANA/AIMM

Doing what is right is no longer just a feel-good thing; it is also essential for businesses to grow, especially in nations with populations that are diversifying at a fast rate. Industry leaders are encouraging communications professionals to take action and help bridge the gap in key areas, including recruitment, leadership, social investment, client work and partnerships.

As a Latina woman working in this field, I have experienced both ends of the spectrum. My ethnic background and bilingualism have opened doors for me in my career to represent clients on Spanish-language media channels and create a platform to highlight the voices and talents of Latinas. In other, less forward-thinking spaces in the industry, my ethnicity and accent have been the cause of microaggressions and discrimination in the workplace.

Doing what is right quote by Nadya Ramos

I take my role as a marketer and content creator seriously, because I understand the power of influence and communication. To contribute to bridging the diversity gap and create opportunities for advancement in my own community, I signed AIMM’s pledge to hold myself and “the industry accountable for promises made to rid our industry of systemic racism and institutional bias,” and I am working to launch a marketing consulting firm to provide Latinx and Hispanic small business owners more access to high-level marketing services. According to a May 2020 USA TODAY article, “Despite the opportunity gap between Latinos and other Americans, Latinos have become the fastest-growing small business owners across the U.S.”

MRK (pronounced “Marca”) Consulting Firm will join the industry and offer affordable business development and marketing services, as well as online training courses in English and Spanish, to help this underserved and untapped market grow. The Marketer’s Guide to Hispanic Millennials says this group is “no longer a small sub-segment of the U.S. economy, they are a driving force,” yet they continue to be depicted in the media as low-income earners, uneducated and more likely to commit crimes. MRK’s approach is designed with my educational background and personal experiences in mind, because, in part, they reflect similar aspirations and challenges of the Latino business owner. With this endeavour, I am making a commitment to help MRK’s clients leave their mark in their niche and create lasting impressions that lead to deeper connections with their customers, increasing brand loyalty and reaching business goals.

Please email me at for more information on MRK Consulting Firm.

About the Author

Nadya Ramos

Nadya Ramos is a writer, content creator, marketing specialist and business development consultant. Over the past eight years, she has worked, studied and conducted research in the marketing and communications field and has recently published her master’s thesis on influencer marketing and authenticity. Today, Nadya helps Latinx- and Hispanic-owned entrepreneurs grow their businesses using social media marketing strategies. She’s also the host of a weekly live talk show, Live with Nadya, where guests join in to have unfiltered discussions on womanhood, motherhood and careers.

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