As a people-based agency, Merkle has made diversity and inclusion (D&I) a core pillar of their strategic business plan. They continually seek out new ways to improve D&I. They are working to minimize unconscious bias in the recruitment and interview process to create a more diverse workforce. From trainings around mental health issues to the installation of gender-neutral toilets to fundraising with key charities, Merkle is infusing D&I into every aspect of its business.
Merkle also works with clients to adopt inclusive marketing. “As part of our joint business plan with Microsoft Advertising last year, we wanted to move beyond focusing on just products and platform. We really wanted to focus on people--and by people
, I mean our employees, our clients, their customers, and our partners in the industry,” says Richard Lewis, Head of Internal Excellence at Merkle UK. The Merkle team invited Jeff Wilson, Executive Board Member for Microsoft Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft (GLEAM), to host a talk on ‘Influence and Impact’. Attended by over 125 employees, Jeff provided their team members with invaluable strategies to help secure client support, increasing employee confidence in pitching inclusive marketing strategies to advertisers.
Microsoft Advertising has shared their own Inclusive marketing learnings and has helped to organize trainings for Merkle. “We've been really inspired and empowered by Microsoft's example in not just looking at diversity and inclusion as something to do internally as an HR function, but actually something to talk to brands about,” says Lewis. Merkle is also working to develop their own inclusive marketing campaign checklists to support account associates when developing and optimizing campaigns.
They continue to pursue training and education on the topics for their employees. Recently, they hosted Microsoft’s inclusive marketing training via video call to over 60 employees, covering their Digital Delivery and Strategy & Planning teams, representing all their top tier clients. With a high level of engagement from employees with the program, they are well on their way to ensuring all employees have a strong foundation in inclusive marketing practices and can clearly communicate the benefit to clients.
Merkle is also sparking positive change industry-wide as co-founder of the Conscious Advertising Network
, an organization that highlights the positive choices that advertisers and agencies can make together.