- Ben Brooks-Dutton
BAME This Way: Lessons in business diversity by Lady Gaga
It wasn’t that long ago that many people wrote Lady Gaga off as a flash in the pan or yesterday’s news. The detractors who then saw her silver screen performance in A Star is Born or watched her rousing performance of the Oscar-winning song Shallow with Bradley Cooper at the ceremony itself, however, will, most likely, now readily admit to having been wrong.
As a performer, she has always pushed the boundaries. Ironically, though, it might just have been this desire to break the music mould that saw people push her firmly back into a pop star box. Labelling, after all, helps people make sense of their world.
Most people would define Lady Gaga as a singer, but she has also earned the right to be called a musician, songwriter, producer, actress, model and businessperson. And not because she’s had a little dabble, but because she has proven herself a success in each field.
In business, labelling isn’t always easy to achieve when what you offer is actually quite broad. It’s also quite a self-limiting exercise when you have succeeded in bringing people together who offer a number of distinct skills and come together from different backgrounds and cultures.
The Unmistakables celebrated its first anniversary recently, which gave us an opportunity to take stock and consider our place in the world after a successful year full of extremely diverse client briefs.
Two weeks ago the British Business Awards 2019 gave us our first award, recognising The Unmistakables as the BAME business of the year. Last week PRWeek and The Holmes Report ran stories about our consultancy, too. And this week we were named ‘best in diversity and inclusion’ at The Drum Awards. The recognition and the outpouring of goodwill from peers, clients and industry friends made us feel great. But it also made us realise that box-ticking is not what we’re here for.
We’re here to help organisations to unleash mutual opportunities from what we call ‘the minority mindset’.
Tapping into this mindset allows us to step outside of monoculture to better reflect the society in which we live today. What we often do sits at the intersection of business strategy, diversity and inclusion, and marketing communications. What we always do is build truly reflective culture and communications for organisations, both inside and out.
Inside organisations, we help our partners understand the needs of diverse stakeholders and colleagues. Outside, we unlock their true potential to reach, attract, involve and retain new audiences through external communications and campaigns.
Our method delivers what we call a ‘difference dividend’ - a commercial, conversation or cultural return designed to drive the bottom line.
So, sure, we are BAME business, we are a diversity and inclusion consultancy (and we’ve hugely grateful for the acknowledgements), and we are a PR agency, too. But we’re also unticking the box as a now award-winning culture and communications consultancy made up of minorities. A fit-for-the-future business, which is avoiding ‘shallow’ definitions and on a mission to help other organisations get there, too.