Inside Diversity and Inclusion in the Creative Industry

People-based marketing is important but what about enriching diversity within the workforce? A recent article by AdNews got us thinking: Why is diversity and inclusion (D&I) the creative industry’s new 100-year-old baby?

Easy: It’s not just the right thing to do, a corporate D&I plan is now essential to the future success of any business (and client happiness), especially in the marketing and advertising realm. As we look internally here at Proper Trends to solidify our commitment to D&I, we also work together with our clients to develop authentic and meaningful campaigns.

This industry is uniquely positioned to shape how people think and should use that position to create positive change.

Diversity has many different facets: gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status or physical abilities, religious beliefs – the list goes on. But collectively, we still have a long way to go in the creative industry.

The number of women in creative leadership positions globally, for instance, is now up nearly 50%, which is an encouraging sign in a discipline that’s been notoriously slow to change – ironically. In strategic planning, the number of women in leadership positions has risen only 10%, with a 13% increase at the executive level – but creative and digital are still struggling.

Many firms make an effort (especially in the tech industry) by changing policies, creating working groups, joining third party organizations for help, as well as hiring diversity-focused creatives that can spearhead and lead change. Focusing on this issue is only going to benefit an organizations’ people, partners and communities. “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization,” said Pat Wadors, Head of HR at LinkedIn. Not only will employees have a sense of inclusion, their standards as decision-makers and will evolve to produce diverse creative strategies.

According to Deloitte’s most recent Human Capital Trends report, companies with inclusive talent practices can generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors.

One-size-fits-all rarely works in any scenario, so why would it work in marketing?

So we’re a lot more powerful and impactful if we move as an industry, rather than at the individual level. One-size-fits-all rarely works in any scenario, so why would it work in marketing? This industry is uniquely positioned to shape how people think and should use that position to create positive change. Remember: t’s not about making sure ad campaigns feature different races, genders and ages; it’s about making sure that different kinds of people are portrayed in a fair, accurate and realistic way – instead of relying on age-old stereotypes that reinforce society’s preexisting conditions.

Companies that increase and improve upon diversity will outperform in their marketing strategies. Further, a team that reflects the vast diversity in the marketplace is much more likely to develop messaging and advertising that resonates with their audience. To change how people behave, we need to change how they think. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what marketing is all about?

All the Cool People Are at the Blog

We’ll admit, even marketing agencies can neglect the task but blogging for a business is crucial. Blogging will drive traffic to your site, leverage leadership members as experts in their industry and garner more visibility for your brand. Blogs can’t be fluffy sentences squished together with a photo or two, they need to have rich content to get a great ROI.

So, how do you write the perfect blog? This formula will work every time:

  1. Introduce the topic in an opening sentence. Pro tip: Add a relatable lead for extra points.
  2. Add three to five bullets supporting your topic. Pro tip: There’s a 90% success rate if your argument has statistics to back it up.
  3. Add a featured image. Pro tip: Today, our phones have amazing cameras so don’t let technology stop you from a great photo.
  4. Conclude with a call to action. Pro tip: Consumers are turned off by over the top sales-pitchy language, so be genuine.
  5. And lastly, have a second set of eyes read it before you post it. Pro tip: You’ll be surprised at how helpful even the CFO can be in a pinch!

Follow these five easy steps and you’ll be writing up blogs in no time. And, if you’re still unsure how to get started, email us.

See what we did there?

Sine Qua Non: Defining Post-Digital Marketing with the Whole Brain

By Crescent Seward

The left side of my brain is making a brief appearance to remind us all about how marketing and branding is becoming more and more science. The days of a creative-type‘s dream C-Suite position are gone. Or are they? Is it possible science can make you more creative? I recently read an opinion piece about innovation and brand management in the post-digital world and got to thinking: What the hell are we talking about, anyway?

That’s right, post-digital is still human, still creative and still hard to quantify.

Let’s back up. Social media, marketing, advertising, content creation (all of it!) … the post-digital world … is becoming a science. Post-digital and other terms like postinternet are associated with both creativity and technology, working across old, new, digital and analog mediums. It’s focusing on longer-term brand building and valuing share growth, while still being able to creatively bring a brand from the ground up. We’re in a sea of ever-changing and shifting characters, channels, platforms and disciplines — so just like you should upgrade your phone every two years, you best upgrade your digital transformation too. But is that even how it works?

Digital transformation is becoming an over-played term that sort-of puffs up above your head and hoovers about but no one really knows what it means until it’s explained. I’m going to head on over to my tried and true digital friend and futurist, Brian Solis for a better description: “The definition of digital transformation is the realignment of, or new investment in, technology, business models, and processes to drive new value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.”

And before we get all science-y and technical about it, he reels us back in: “One of the most interesting findings across every report is that digital transformation is part technology but also part human.” That’s right, post-digital is still human, still creative and still hard to quantify. I think that’s why we’re all struggling to define, meet and predict our digital future. The main reason for that is because how a brand focuses on the post-digital landscape is different for each brand and industry – and also the same.

While we all agree science and creativity don’t always mix, for a post-digital world, they have to mix. Strategy and timing needs to be perfect because you can’t just schedule it and go these days – you still need to monitor your content, be creative in your engagement and focus on the analytics – or you’re wasting your time. The analytical side tells you to work on your short game to drive the longer-term value (everyone, raise your hands if you agree that’s a pretty good goal!) but it’s harder than it looks.

If you post it, they will (not always) come – especially in 2018. Sure, you can visually see the post (so there’s that) but we need to dive deeper into the science of a post. Before we collectively utter a resounding ewe because we’re right-brained creative-types, I hope you’re starting to see how important this is for savvy marketing. You need to know how to use the data you’ve gathered to make more informed and creative decisions, delivering what your audience loves and meeting their mindset. Do you see what I did there?

Be mindful how fleeting interactions on social media can be and figure out how to capture that engagement to add long-term brand value. Don’t treat your social media platforms as billboards, use them to socialize with potential customers and clients to generate leads or followers. Provide a customer service! Wow, that’s a term we haven’t used interchangeably with digital transformation much. But think about it: nerdy science (data) helps us be more creative and offer better customer service.

[This post was originally published on]

CRESCENT SEWARD is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Proper Trends. She is a global public relations, communications and marketing professional with a focus on maintaining a strong brand. She’s a creative powerhouse that loves to get down and dirty with content strategy. Her head hurts with all of this science talk. @lunarismoon //

5 Ways Drunk Messaging Influencers Can Help your ROI

By Crescent Seward

Reasons to not drunk text your crush (or ex) are the same reasons not to drunk message influencers when you see their on-point espadrilles hanging off a boat on the Amalfi Coast. Sure those shoes are amazing and you do want to know where to find them (save the LIKEtoKNOWit crap … that’s too complicated when fueled on rosé). I’m not going to condone any obsessive, irrational drunk messaging but hear me out on this one.

Waking up to an Instagram message from said espadrilles-wearing blogger will suddenly spark excitement.

She noticed me and my amazing blog and wants me to collaborate! Soon I’ll be sailing the seas with her as her special guest at the next Revolve event! But my hopes and dreams are crushed when … it’s just a kissy-face emoji. Huh? Oh wait. I think I’m starting to remember what happened last night. My embarrassment washes over my now-red face in a hot flash.

But is it really that bad? No. And I’ll tell you why. Here are five ways a drunken message can help your ROI:

1. Communication As long as you don’t bully the influencer or disrespect her, a connection is still a connection. A positive, drunken shout out to the espadrilles is obviously a silly message to receive but if your target took the time to respond, that’s progress. You’ve opened a door of communication that you otherwise never would have had. What you do with it next could potentially help you!

2. Networking Don’t think traditional, brick and mortar networking — think digital networking. Now’s your time to find like-minded influencers and companies to connect with. Say the influencer tells you where she purchased her sought-after espadrilles, so you go find her Instagram page … then and find out the company is hiring for a position you’d be perfect for! You never know.

3. Advice Now here’s something that influencers do a lot: offer advice. They know their worth, their passion and their struggles before they got where they are now. Some are more than happy to share the wealth (so to speak) and offer solutions.

4. Reach Let’s face it, I mean followers. When an influencer publicly replies to your comment, likes you or likes one of your comments, potential followers are watching. You are now in the inner-espadrilles circle.

5. Opportunity This is also just another word for collaboration. Let’s collab. Please don’t straight up drunk message “let’s collab” to anyone. Personally, it’s the same as when that certain someone creepily texts you: “what are you wearing?” No. Opportunities are everywhere but it’s important for the relationship to build naturally. Collaborations will happen.

So you see, it’s actually not as bad as drunkenly engaging with a crush. Next time you’re filled with liquid courage, remember each interaction could be used as a positive lead towards your hustle.

[This post was originally published on]

CRESCENT SEWARD is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Proper Trends. She is a global public relations, communications and marketing professional with a focus on maintaining a strong brand. She’s a creative powerhouse that loves to get down and dirty with content strategy. She may or may not have drunk messaged an influencer on Instagram. @lunarismoon //

Proper Trends Marketing: It’s Who We Are

We’re a boutique marketing agency focused on small and mid-sized companies who need help navigating through the most successful marketing trends and building a strong brand. We’ll show you the proper trends.

It’s who we are.

Our main goal is to provide our customers with marketing tools and consultation to increase exposure to their target audience.

We provide a wide range of services, including but not limited to:

  • digital marketing such as social media management, contests, email campaigns and video
  • creation of social media content, blogs and thought leadership pieces
  • effective content strategies and management
  • experiential marketing and event planning
  • earned, paid and owned media through traditional channels, grassroots means, SEO efforts and digital advertising
  • app and website design

Commercials are dead. Banner ads and cold-calling bounce off firewalls. Social media and experiential marketing are the new norms. Streaming live and interacting on social media are new best practices.