GENERATE INSIGHT FOR STRATEGIC PLANS

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General market agencies should strive for culturally diverse account and creative teams because society's geographic living patterns are becoming more and more polarized.

There is little dialogue between the races within the socio-interactive human dynamic. The workplace needs to be diverse so as to encourage interaction between whites and various ethnic groups. TV sitcoms should not be the guiding criteria for understanding and judgment.

A culturally diverse workplace will give agency personnel more in-depth insight into distinctly different cultural and lifestyle perspectives.

This will allow for greater insight into the development of strategic marketing plans and creative execution.

A diversified agency workplace is crucial in maintaining a client's confidence in the agency. True marketers are driven to sell brands in abundance, thereby satisfying market share, revenue and shareholder objectives. If the agency doesn't have sufficient understanding of the consumer marketplace, it will significantly narrow the client's selling universe -- by as much as 25%.

Client objectives will be more difficult to attain, more pressure will be placed on the agency and the relationship could be irreparably strained.

Lastly, a diversified workplace can greatly affect brand-building. For example, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren Polo have both posted extraordinary business gains due to their popularity with urban youth. In no way did managers foresee this windfall popularity. Had there been greater diversity on the agency team, they may have been able to capitalize on this phenomenon two years earlier.

Mr. Coleman is president-CEO of Don Coleman Advertising, Southfield, Mich.

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