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New Britain and New Opportunities

New Britain and New Opportunities
Yousaf Khalid, Group MD of e>erything d.fferent, reflects on an inspirational Diversity Open Day that included The New Britain launch

When I think about the national debates going on currently in the political arena, the Nick v Nigel debate over being in or out of Europe and the impending Yes or No vote on Scottish independence, both are about going it alone, both about being inward looking for their future prosperity.

This week I had the honour to chair the launch of a new report called The New Britain – an in-depth view into multicultural Britain in 2014 as part of the IPA’s journey to keep abreast of cultural and consumer trends in the UK.

There were a lot of facts that were a total revelation, but here’s just three that grabbed my attention:

  1. 13% of the UK population is BME or black and minority ethnic, and this is set to double by 2045.
  2. In 2011, one in four babies were born to a mother born outside the UK.
  3. An expanded EU has meant that Lithuanians, Polish and Romanians were the top three newly arrived along with China and the Philippines.

So what does this mean to marketers? Why should we care?

Well, our job is to connect our client’s brands to audiences using compelling creative and targeted media.

The report highlights the nuances and differences in how Black and Minority Ethnic or BME audiences behave compared to the rest of the population.

For example, BMEs are likely to be early adopters of new products and have the highest penetration of broadband but worryingly 77% of Asians feel mainstream advertising has no relevance to them.

And this isn’t the first generation born in the subcontinent and brought up in the UK. This is the third generation who were born and brought up in the UK, and have probably never been to the subcontinent.

So therein lies the challenge for brands and their agencies, but also the opportunity to better connect and build more empathy with a significant part of the 13% BME audience.

If you promised 13% market share to a client, they’d no doubt relieve you of your right arm!

OK, so how do we go about solving this one? Easy, he says ;-)

Attract more people from BME backgrounds who wouldn’t normally consider the industry as a career option.

And, although the sector is on a par with the national population, there was certainly a feeling with all the speakers and contributors that more could be done with better representation in key decision making roles like creative, planning/strategy and analytics.

That’s the difficult bit, nevertheless there were some great ideas on how the industry could crack this including the legendary Robin Wight of Engine Group who talked about engaging with kids at school ages to provide a staircase into the industry. Not unlike footballing academies.

We’re almost there anyway but, under the IPA’s diversity agenda, the industry is looking to ensure that we’re ahead of the curve, not behind.

So, after a full day of debate, presentations and workshops with students from diverse backgrounds, I couldn’t help but think that the idea of cutting off from Europe or Scotland a rather fanciful one, as Britain is now more diverse and more multicultural within its own borders.

Sorry Nigel, sorry Alex, politics aside, I think the ship has sailed on this one - the horse has bolted. You can take your pick of idioms!

If you would like to get involved with the IPA’s Diversity programme, please write to Leila Siddiqi at or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #IPADiversity

Watch the IPA/SEO London Advertising Diversity Open Day video

Learn more about The New Britain report and Our Diversity Open Day

Yousaf Khalid is Group MD of everythingd.fferent

Last updated 11/04/2014

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