“Making Marketing Colorful”: 5 Key Takeaways About Diversity

Making Marketing Colorful: 5 Key Takeaways
Author: Jamie Wells and Kayel Carroll

On May 9th, our team attended the AAF panel discussion titled “Making Marketing Colorful: Solutions for Solving the Massive Diversity Problem in Our Industry.” Drew Collins led an insightful discussion featuring panelists Molly Moses from JobsOhio, Valerie Thompson from Leap Graphics, Dr. Osei Appiah from The Ohio State University, and Harvey Austin from BoldSky Creative Studio. Each speaker brought unique perspectives and passionate discourse on the pressing issue of diversity (and the lack thereof) in marketing and creative industries.

Here are five crucial takeaways from the discussion:

1. Diversity is Good for Business

One of the panel’s central themes was the undeniable business advantage of diversity. They highlighted that diverse teams bring more creativity and innovation, leading to better decision-making and a broader range of ideas. Diversity of thought enriches problem-solving approaches and enhances the relatability of marketing campaigns. By embracing diverse perspectives, businesses can create more authentic and engaging content that resonates with a wider audience.

2. Rethink Your Job Descriptions

It’s important to consider re-evaluating how job descriptions are written. Often, job postings include long lists of qualifications that can deter potential candidates who don’t meet every criteria. To find the best talent, companies can use language that encourages applications from individuals who might not check every box but bring valuable skills and perspectives to the table. Dropping unnecessary “preferred” qualifications can open doors to a broader pool of talent and foster a more inclusive hiring process.

3. Share the Value of Marketing and Creative Industry Jobs with Younger Generations

The panelists spoke about the need to engage younger generations and make them aware of the opportunities within the marketing and creative sectors. Many creative young people are unaware of the potential career paths available to them. Establishing mentorship programs and school outreach initiatives can demystify the industry and inspire the next generation of diverse talent. By promoting these careers early on, we can build a more inclusive future workforce.

4. Don’t Give Up on Diversity

The panelists collectively stressed the importance of persistence in diversity efforts. Companies must be humble and prepared to face challenges and discomfort along the way. Achieving true diversity is a continuous process that requires commitment and resilience. Organizations should be ready to learn from their mistakes, adapt, and continually strive to improve their diversity initiatives.

5. Be Open to Non-Traditional Candidate Experience

In today’s rapidly evolving creative landscape, traditional qualifications are not the sole indicator of a candidate’s potential. Excluding self-taught individuals or those with non-traditional backgrounds can limit an organization’s access to innovative talent. Creativity does not always come from conventional education or career paths. Embracing candidates with diverse experiences and unconventional skill sets can infuse fresh ideas and perspectives into the industry.


The AAF panel discussion on diversity illuminated several critical strategies for fostering a more inclusive marketing and creative industry. Embracing diversity not only enhances business performance but also enriches the creative process. We can make meaningful progress towards a more representative and innovative industry by rethinking job descriptions, promoting creative careers to younger generations, persisting in diversity efforts, and valuing non-traditional experiences.

At Portfolio Creative, we are committed to making marketing colorful, vibrant, and inclusive for all! We hope you feel the same.