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Adland Diversity & Inclusion Index 2021: Toaster

Adland Diversity & Inclusion Index 2021: Toaster

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Toaster shone brightly among the competition with its diversity and inclusion initiatives, especially those which focused on the marginalised LGBTQA+ community. Founded by three Googlers with a passion infusing creativity, media and technology, Toaster builds highly engaging communication solutions for global clients.

Toaster wanted to create a culture where everyone feels they belong, and being well-represented was important to the agency. Toaster did not want its diversity policy to be a mere document. Instead, it wanted employees to take what was important to them, make it their own and show it to the world. Hence, a special creative campaign was created to talk about pride at Toaster. The agency launched a global social media campaign known as “Pride has no borders” which ran over the past 12 months.

The initiative received help from every office globally across Singapore, London, San Francisco and London, and was supported by Toaster’s leadership. The team crowdsourced social narratives where employees were encouraged to share their thoughts, beliefs, community heroes with regard to LGBTQA+ community.

This exercise eventually transcended into some of the creative works done for clients – albeit with tweaks to meet the client’s brief. But the core message of embracing diversity and championing inclusion remained. One example was the “Be Unstoppable” video the agency helped create for Google India which champions female representation in sports. According to Toaster, the video garnered 100 million views.

The ground-up initiative by Toaster has also lifted the overall spirit of the company during the last 12 months, with additional working practices such as working flexibility, training budgets for self-improvement and mental health support if it gets too overwhelming. With the pandemic’s impact, the agency saw the need to also concurrently address the challenges faced by the employees’ mental approach and the challenge of working from home. In order to motivate every employee to feel at ease and boost morale, diversity, equity and inclusion exercises were spread across 12 months.

This bottom-up exercise started on a simple Google excel sheet that asked employees to share their pride stories, challenges and inspirations. It then turned these into global social media campaigns using its own Toaster social channels.

At Toaster, talent is valued above anything else. The company wants to create an environment here it does not matter where the individual’s background, looks and mannerisms do not matter.

For example, in the Singapore office alone, there are nine nations and 11 ethnicities represented. The agency wanted its rockstars from various backgrounds to represent Toaster on the world stage. Many of its employees were taking the initiative to represent Toaster at regional creative juries.

At the same time, Toaster also knew marginalised communities were facing even more challenges during the pandemic and it wanted everyone at Toaster to be aware of this as well. The reason being, Toaster believes everyone is equal and wanted to ensure that as a company, they look after one another.

To read the rest of the agency initiatives in the Adland Diversity & Inclusion Index 2021, click here.

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