In May, IPG Mediabrands announced its commitment to invest a minimum of 5% of its aggregated budget among all its clients in Black-owned media by 2023. Also in May, GroupM made a 2% pledge, calling on its clients to invest at least that amount of their annual media spend in diverse and Black-owned media. As a result, a group of 20 brands that include General Mills, L’Oreal USA, Nestle, Target, Tyson Foods, DoorDash, Mars Wrigley and WW committed to the media agency’s pledge.
In August, Burt’s Bees became the first brand to launch a campaign using Omnicom Media Group's Diverse Creators Network launched this summer. This was part of a larger trend of holding companies and networks like Publicis Groupe, Dentsu and Havas committing to improved diverse marketing efforts.
Brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald's pledged to double their ad spend with diverse-owned media companies. Also this year, Hyundai hired Culture Brands as its first-ever African American agency of record and Taco Bell tapped Cashmere, now part of Media.Monks, as its culture AOR.
Lerma said this surge sparked the idea for the BIP Index tool.
“I had the idea about a year ago,” he said. “I've talked before about 2020 having been this year of multicultural awakening. I started to see brands talking a lot about making real changes within their companies and within their marketing. It occurred to me there should be a tool that lets a brand evaluate how well they're doing across the spectrum of measures that would indicate that they are becoming a more multiculturally attuned brand.”
A tool like this and the recent focus on multiculturalism points to an evolution of how multicultural agencies are viewed and can help clients, Lerma says.
“As brands have become more open to and inviting of multiculturalism and what it means to their businesses, I think agencies that have a multicultural sensibility are going to be able to help brands, not just tell their stories, but also with how they engage their customers, how they staff their teams, and how they authentically become better multicultural citizens,” Lerma said. “Our value is now beyond just advertising.”
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Given that this is the first iteration, the agency will refresh the tool annually based on the release of updated data inputs. Lerma said he would like to incorporate more segmented scores in the future beyond just one overall score and be able to break down a brand’s consumer base. Brands are encouraged to contact Lerma/ once they use the tool if they would like to learn more about their score and see if the agency can help the brand in any way.
Also if any brands feel they are unfairly scored, Lerma said he would “welcome a conversation with any brand that would like us to update our scoring with any additional information they’d like considered.”
“We applaud the companies who are making this a priority as well as the organizations looking to provide brands with guidance,” The Hispanic Marketing Council said in a statement. “What is compelling about Lerma's BIP Index is that it not only takes into account a brand's audience composition and company-level DE&I practices, but it also looks at community investment, ad spend in multiculturally-targeted media with original creative, and whether or not brands are partnering with segment marketing specialist agencies to lead these efforts.
"We call this responsible and intentional investment," continued the Council. "HMC has always challenged brands to avoid "either/or" approaches with DEI and multicultural investment but rather adopt an 'and' strategy. So far, Lerma/'s BIP index currently is the most inclusive and comprehensive measurement tool in the market that understands this scorecard—that is the difference of having a specialty firm like Lerma/ lead these conversations."