Black History Month
This October, WPR has been marking Black History Month (BHM) as part of the agency’s wider and ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
On Thursday 19 October, one of TikTok UK’s BHM trailblazer creators, Sam Redman (biggiesamz), spoke to the WPR team about his experience of working in today’s social media and marketing landscape.
He shared interesting insights about the challenges he has faced, the risks of tokenism, a lack of transparency in conversations between brands and creators, where representation is happening well, and where there is room for improvement.
Rebecca Williams, director of people and planning, said: “We’re committed to improving our approach to DEI year-round, but Black History Month offers an opportunity to focus on specific issues. So, exploring a topic which directly relates to our work was valuable for the whole team. We’re grateful to Sam for sharing his experiences as a content creator; it was a useful reminder of the responsibility agencies have in championing diverse representation in brand campaigns.
“We’ve taken important steps towards making WPR a more representative and diverse agency – both internally and through the work we do – but we’re never complacent and know we have further to go.”
As well as hearing from Sam, WPR has been celebrating Black culture by displaying artwork by Black artists around the office and adding a selection of books from Black authors to the WPR library.
The marking of Black History Month is part of WPR’s wider focus on DEI. This has seen the agency commit 1% of net profit to initiatives that foster diversity and inclusion, with the goal of ensuring the WPR team is representative of the West Midlands community by 2028.
Action WPR has taken to date includes:
- Removing academic requirements from job descriptions, introducing blind recruitment and diverse interview panels
- Training the entire agency in racial equity and culture change
- Working with the Taylor Bennett Foundation on their Summer Stars, Step Into PR and graduate training programmes, in addition to participating in their mentoring scheme
- Working with 10,000 Black Interns to facilitate internships
- Consulting DEI educators for advice
- Broadening outreach activity to deliver workshops, careers advice and talks at schools, colleges and universities to reach more diverse groups of young people
- Recruiting a record number of juniors and interns, and facilitating a 20-week T-Level placement in conjunction with a local college