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Ella Sagar 

UK's 'first' not-for-profit diversity influencer talent agency REFLECT launches

UK's 'first' not-for-profit diversity influencer talent agency REFLECT launches

The UK's first not-for-profit diverse and inclusive talent management agency REFLECT starts work today to address the lack of diversity in the industry.

Content marketing agency The River Group has launched the Community Interest Company to increase influencer talent representation from all ethnicities, sexualities, religions, genders, neurodiversities, ages, body sizes and any other kind of difference.

The agency came up with the idea at a team bonding day during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nicola Murphy, group chief executive of The River Group said: “You don’t have to be a client media commissioner nor a creative agency to observe that what we see on TV, in social media, in outdoor, at the cinema, in magazines – isn’t truly representative of our wonderfully diverse society.

"Tokenism is rife, oftentimes because brands and agencies aren’t always sure how to best represent everyone without offending someone.

All profits will go into sponsoring college courses, training, apprenticeships and opportunities for marginalised individuals to have a media career, Murphy added.

A UK Influencer Survey by Vuelio found in 2020 that 91% of respondents were white and the remaining 9% identifying as BAME.

Its report also revealed that 79% of influencers surveyed identified as female, 20% as male and 1% as other.

The survey noted that this breakdown of influencer representation does not accurately reflect UK society which is 86% White and more needed to be done to promote diversity and inclusion.

Russell Amerasekera, shadow board member at REFLECT from consultancy Pearls and Poison, added: “The reality is, this narrow lens no longer reflects either the diverse world we live in or the inclusive society we aspire to become.

"Our aim is to address this imbalance by championing truly diverse content creators and working with brands and media channels to eradicate boundaries. Only by doing that can there be a difference to what people are seeing, reading, hearing and sharing.”

Through its social enterprise funding for learning and development, REFLECT hopes to encourage people from all walks of life to make media; from videography to design to editorial and more.

The River Group added that this shift is increasingly important for the future of brands as over half of Gen Zers want brands to include more diverse casting and imagery in their advertising, according to research by Quantilope.

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