How to build a diverse PR agency

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

This week we’re chatting to Jo-ann Robertson, partner and CEO, London at Ketchum and Janita Lakhanpal, director of business development at Ketchum about “How to build a diverse PR agency”

It’s a journey Jo-ann and Janita started back in 2018 and I thought it would be interesting to ask them on the show to chat about their experience of building a more diverse organisation.

Before we start, just to tell you about PRmoment’s new Patron Scheme. If you are a regular consumer of our content, including this podcast, and you’re getting value from it, if you fancy making a contribution to help fund PRmoment - now you can.

We have three different Patron Tiers—The Daney Parker Tier, The Chadlington Tier and Edward Bernays Tier.

Also, The PRmoment Awards final entry deadline is coming up. You’ve got until 28th January to get your entries in.

Finally, thanks to our PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

Here’s a summary of what Jo-ann, Janita and I spoke about:

2 mins Why did Jo-ann decide that diversity and inclusion was an important objective for Ketchum UK when she became UK CEO?

4 mins Many agencies want to recruit more diverse teams but say the talent is not out there - why does Jo-ann think that’s “bullshit”?

7 mins Janita talks about starting the process of increasing the diversity of Ketchum UK and the role of Creative Equals in helping Ketchum through that journey.

9 mins Janita talks about Ketchum’s D&I roadmap.

“There was stuff in the staff survey that was horrifying, especially when you’re a business you think is driven by equity, equality, kindness and generosity.”

10 mins How Ketchum shared the results of Creative Equals 2018 survey “warts and all” with its employees in London.

12 mins What were the critical changes Ketchum made in response to the D&I data they got back from the Creative Equals survey.

16 mins Where do organisations need to start if they want to increase the number of diverse employees in their workforce.

17 mins Why “the rewiring of Ketchum’s recruitment strategy made everyone in Ketchum’s life more difficult.”

20 mins “Years 2018, 2019, 2020 were really about the foundation and infrastructure…internally focussed…2021 was a transformational year we went from the leadership team having to drive it to…the demand for progress and change was coming from the grassroots (of the business.)”

27 mins Jo-ann talks us through Ketchum’s This Is Me education programme.

29 mins For any PR agencies looking to go on a similar journey, Jo-ann and Janita talk about their approach to the key challenges to improving a business’s approach to D&I:

  • Culture

  • Organisation structure

  • Client work

  • Clients

33 mins My biggest piece of advice would be to get an external partner, in the early days we could not have done this without Creative Equals.”
38 mins When asked about Ketchum's plans for 2022: “This is a job that will never be done.”

If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our twice weekly event and subscriber alerts.

Currently, every new subscriber will receive three of our favourite reports about the public relations sector.


ESG Awards The intersection of Data, Insight and PR Planning SUBSCRIBE NOW