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Brands have a responsibility to speak to their audience – and that means the whole audience. With global spending on advertising set to surpass $630 billion in 2024, that’s a huge amount of money being spent on the same old images and videos, and a huge budget to do better.

Doing the minimum

isn’t enough

We’re used to seeing the same stock photos again and again, and from the boring to the plain weird, they aren’t doing brands justice anymore. With audience diversity growing, and pressure being rightly placed on brands to do more and use their voice for good, brands have to work harder than ever before to make sure they’re reaching everyone and missing no one.

Representation matters

It’s not just local brands or agencies doing the work. The Drum recently reported on a new initiative called Brim, which is working to improve Black representation in marketing. Brim is backed by some big names including Facebook, Droga5 and Unilever and Wunderman Thompson. With these top names in marketing signed up to help the cause, it’s helping to pave the way for more brands to do the same. It has published a framework, which is free to download here, that encourages the industry to make lasting change.

According to research by Brim, 7 in 10 marketing professionals in the UK understand the need for fairer Black representation, but 42% of those marketing professionals haven’t made any decisions to increase Black representation. Not only that, but Tomasz Dyl, founder and marketing director at GottaBe! agency pointed out that although 1 in 6 people in the UK are from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background, only 1 in 5 UK companies reach out to them.

Doing better

Marketing teams know they need to do better, but how? Hiring needs to go beyond a diversity and inclusion policy, and go straight to the heart of making working environments better and more welcoming to everybody. And when it comes to mass media, Channel 4 in the UK is the ones to watch for everything it’s doing to highlight and elevate work by and for ethnic communities. With upcoming programming called Black to Front, a Fifa campaign running throughout Ramadan, and growing audience figures from a range of ethnic communities, Channel 4 is doing something right in 2021.

From stock images

to art

Would creating more diverse marketing campaigns help? We reckon it would be a good start. So where should you look for diverse stock images or videos? Getty Images, home of online stock imagery, launched #ShowUs, a campaign aimed at improving female and non-binary representation in 2019, and in the USA, artist Kenya (Robinson) is running a project called Blixel: The (Re)stock Image Project. She’s snapping Black people in traditional stock photo poses to raise awareness of the lack of people of African descent in mainstream stock photography. You can check out her instagram account here: @blixpix.

How can you

do better

When you’re putting together marketing, ad campaigns or using stock imagery or video, take a step back and check your audience. Are you speaking directly to them? What could you be doing better? Speak to your audience and find out who they are and what they want. If you want to use stock photos with better representation, check out for beautifully styled stock imagery of BAME people. To support Black and BAME owned businesses both in the UK and around the world, check out this list by that includes independent businesses, cultural collectives and more.

By communicating with your audience and understanding who they are, you can make sure you’re sending the right messages and representing the right people. If you want help getting the right brand message across, get in touch with us today.