This is another one I’m really pleased to present. Last week J. Walter Thompson London launched an industry first business consultancy called Female Tribes Consulting, this came out of its leading global Female Tribes Initiative. This new iniative is headed up by Rachel Pashley (centre in the image above which features the new Female Tribes Team), who took some time out to answer our querstions about this iniative and ethical marketing in general.
For those people who have not heard of you could you explain a bit about yourself and your background?
I’ve spent 8 years client side, now 16 yrs agency side, and I’ve been working at JWT happily for the past 12 years. I’ve always loved problem solving and taking on difficult challenges. I love writing and have spent the last 5 years compiling Female Tribes, what we believe to be the most in-depth insight study into modern femininity in the industry.
Could you tell us about Female Tribes Consulting?
Female Tribes started out as an insight study, based out of a frustration that women were represented in very narrow terms in the advertising world, I kept seeing briefs which referred to ‘the busy working Mum’ so we defined women based on our parental responsibilities ignorant of her needs/ ambitions/ aspirations. I never saw briefs for ‘busy working Dads’.
Female Tribes Consulting was has been born from that and is an industry first consultancy created to help businesses harness Female Business Potential – a multiplier effect of yet to be realised female audiences. We take the insights and understanding from the global Female Tribes Women’s Index study and help clients re-design their entire business through a female lens by offering a complete set of bespoke consultancy products and services.
Can you tell us a bit about the Female Tribes Women’s Index study?
Initially our work was fuelled through desk research but as the study grew in importance and momentum we secured funding from the agency to conduct our own proprietary research, we now have a global insight study covering over 8,000 women across 19 countries, speaking to women aged 17-70, it’s deliberately broad and diverse, and paints a very interesting picture of contemporary femininity.
How important do you feel ethical marketing is to what you do?
I’d like to feel that the commercial world can be used as a form of benign social engineering, I truly believe we can change the way the world works for women through the work that we do, and whilst legislation takes decades, in the commercial world we move at the speed of culture, so it’s an irresistible opportunity. Who doesn’t want to leave a positive legacy even in some small way?
Can you talk a bit about the importance to you of diversity and equality within your business and within the Marketing/Advertising industry in particular?
We’re a business that sells ideas, that’s our ‘tangible product’ and if you want diverse ideas, and not the same group think you need diversity within your organisation, and that’s something I think that we embrace within JWT – and I think it’s something the industry is recognising more.
If you could see one change in your industry what would it be?
This year in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute we analysed over 10 years worth of Cannes entries. The results demonstrate that in advertising women don’t get much screen time, we don’t see a diverse representation and we don’t see women in positions of power, or intelligence: those are just a few of the barriers we need to address! We’re still much more likely to present women either in the kitchen or the bedroom and that’s a problem given how advertising shapes our view of the world, after all it’s designed to be persuasive.
Why do you think it has taken so long for a major marketing company to create an initiative like Female Tribes consulting?
I can only speak for us here, but I think building a global study of this scale and depth takes time: the worst thing we could do would be to launch with something superficial. We’ve been at pains to dig deep and develop diversity of insight across geographies, cultures and ages. It’s something we’ll constantly be adding to, equally we had to test the market, to understand if our perception of the need and opportunity matched those of our clients.
Do you see any changes in the attitudes of marketing towards inclusivity, and general ethical behaviour?
Yes- going back to my previous comments, if we’re in the business of selling ideas, the more diverse our talent pool the more diverse the ideas- so this creates an imperative for change
Has there been any company or person who has influenced and inspired you?
I don’t think there’s one, I think there are many- like some of the early women of advertising, through to female activists, the women of NASA, women who want to create change and don’t wait for permission or anyone else to do it- that’s inspiring
What’s next for Female Tribes Consulting and yourself?
To keep building, keep growing, keep learning, it’s like a living study- and I just want to keep building it increasing it’s depth and reach…and impact
Are there any ethical marketing campaigns by others you’ve particularly enjoyed?
Sport England has been fantastic in encouraging women to participate in sports, removing some of the barriers and negative associations
Can you sell us Female Tribes Consulting for those who might be looking for something different, why you guys ?
We have a team of passionate, committed individuals, we really believe in what we’re doing, and I think when you have that passion you get to an entirely different place, we’re not just going through the motions, we’re personally invested- and I think clients respond to that. Plus, no one else has our level of insight or knowledge.
Thanks to Rachel for an interesting interview. Good Luck to Female Tribes and we will be following your progress with interest.