Thought Leadership

Effie UK teams with Creative Equals to explore the link between diversity and effectiveness

The partnership will explore the link between workforce diversity and marketing effectiveness.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


Diversity drives creativity. A belief that sits at the heart of a new partnership between Effie UK and Creative Equals to explore the link between diversity and marketing effectiveness. 

The initiative seeks to explore whether there is a link between workforce diversity and marketing effectiveness. Initial research is pointing to a positive correlation.

The partnership will use data aggregated from Effie Awards UK across the last three years (2021, 2022 and 2023). Initial analysis shows that an Effie Gold winning agency is 7.2% more diverse than the industry average and an Effie award-winning agency (all trophy levels) is 4.3% more diverse than the industry average.

Diversity drives creativity 

According to Creative Equals 60% of the top Effie UK award winners in 2023 had positive social change at the heart of their work.

This was closely tied in with a diverse range of DEI areas included in award winning campaigns. Focus areas included male suicide, explored by CALM in a campaign by Adam&EveDDB. As well as sexual harassment, tackled by the Mayor of London with a campaign by Ogilvy UK and celebrating Ramadan, in a campaign for Tesco created by BBH London.

Over half of 2023's Silver Effies award winners also covered positive change for the environment and social good, featuring a mixture of DEI topics.

Consumers expect brands to take a stand

This initial research linking purpose with effective a reflects other existing industry data.

Research from Facebook found that online campaigns with more diverse representation had higher advertising recall in 90% of the simulations they ran. While a study from Deloitte revealed that 94% of Gen Z respondents expect companies to take a stand on important social issues. 90% say they are more willing to purchase products that they deem beneficial to society. Consumers aged 18-25 years claim to take greater notice of inclusive advertising when making purchase decisions than consumers 46+.

Other studies, like the much-cited McKinsey, have found a link between workforce diversity and financial performance but none have examined the link between diversity and marketing effectiveness in the real world.

Effie UK has also been exploring how the industry can progress conversations and behaviours around DE&I, and its UK initiative will offer valuable insight for further studies.

Rachel Emms, Managing Director of Effie UK, explained: “We are in the early stages of establishing a connection between agency diversity and campaign effectiveness among Effie winners, with our existing data already suggesting an interesting directional trend.”

Ali Hanan, CEO of Creative Equals, added: “At Creative Equals, we believe that 'who makes the work shapes the work'. Now we are proving this theory through the lens of creative effectiveness together with The Effies. This follows a long body of research from companies like McKinsey, whose 2023 DEI report included data on how there would be $12tn in additional GDP if the gender gap is narrowed by 2025, and how companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity show an average 27% financial advantage over others.”

She continued: “With this partnership, we hope to add to the growing body of data, to prove the business case for DEI, once and for all.”

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