The power of brands: highlights from this year’s Advancing Racial Equity Conference

Author Nick Croucher
April 12, 2023
Nick Croucher and Elfried Samba on the “power of brands” panel

We were very proud to be gold partners at this year’s Advancing Racial Equity Conference hosted by Shereen Daniels, Managing Director at HR rewired and bestselling author of The Anti-Racist Organization – Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Workplace.

Our own Nick Croucher took part in a panel on the power of brands, led by Reeta Loi – storyteller and strategist who’s supported household names such as Vice, Gay Times, Amex, ASOS and Sony. Nick was joined by Elfried Samba – Chief Community Officer at Ioconic, CEO of Butterfly 3ffect and former Head of Social Content at Gymshark.

You can watch a replay from the virtual event here:

Here are some highlights from the panel where Nick, Reeta and Elfried discussed how brands can use their power to leave the world in a better place than where they found it.

How can businesses embrace diverse thinking and hiring?

It’s crucial to approach transformation within businesses with an authentic lens and willingness to have an open conversation. Start by creating a roundtable of people from different walks of life and perspectives.

This is a sound strategy for any brand or business that wants to grow inclusively and successfully. An important part of this process is to branch out from what is comfortable and familiar.

Are hiring decisions changing and shifting?

There’s been a clear shift over the last five years in UK businesses looking to hire a more diverse workforce. But many hiring processes still rely on referral networks i.e., people that employees have known and worked with before – which often isn’t a diverse group.

Businesses are also producing mandates or vacancies that require specific skillsets based on previous experience, which can exclude many talented professionals. To change this, businesses should look at their hiring differently and more holistically.

For example, a term we hear a lot in recruitment is “culture fit” – but rather than looking for candidates that think and act like them, businesses should recruit people with a different view and approach to the way things are done.

Another way businesses can assess their hiring process is to focus less on specific skillsets within their industry and look wider at other skills that can transform the business or push it in a different direction.

In the UK employment market, some businesses with mostly white boards and C-Suites look to hire diverse candidates to resolve an existing lack of diversity. It’s important for these businesses to remember that it’s not that candidate’s responsibility to fix an existing problem for their business.

How can businesses look at “culture add” instead of “culture fit”?

Instead of focusing on a “culture fit” when recruiting candidates, businesses should lean towards people to add to the culture with a new world view. This is important for any brand that is focused on servicing the audience of today and tomorrow. Look at hiring people who challenge the status quo and see things from different perspectives.

The UK’s job market is under scrutiny as talented professionals are leaving the corporate market because they’re not stimulated or excited. To overcome this, the market needs to bring that talent back in by moving away from “the way things have always been done”.

Brands are incredibly powerful because of the individuals within them. It’s when these individuals unite that change happens.

You can watch a replay from the virtual event here:

You can also hear more about Shereen Daniels and her own career journey in Nick and Shereen’s latest interview.

Get in touch with Nick at to discuss your own hiring needs or career.


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