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ISBA focuses on diversity, inclusion and representaion with refresh of its influencer marketing Code of Conduct

ISBA has launched an updated version of its Influencer Marketing Code of Conduct, with a focus on helping brands to deliver better diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation in their influencer activity.

The Code, first launched in September 2021, is a guide to best practice for brands, agencies, and talent – delivering transparency for consumers, enabling authentic and effective influencer marketing, and promoting collaboration and better industry partnerships.

ISBA’s Influencer Marketing Working Group, consisting of members from across disciplines and sectors, has revisited the Code and held dedicated discussions on how brands can ensure that they are delivering change in DEI. After input from agencies and influencers themselves, signatory brands are committing to:

  • be allies in addressing the unacceptable pay gaps in influencer marketing, including those based on race and gender;
  • regularly audit the diversity of the pool of talent with which they work;
  • work to address diversity in their own marketing teams, to promote truly inclusive campaigns.

The Working Group will consider what practical guidance on implementation they can share with industry, driving change and measuring progress so that the dial is truly moved on diversity and representation.

The Code has been boosted by the agreement of major brands including Costa Coffee, Heineken, Johnson & Johnson Ltd and Coca-Cola UK & Ireland to become signatories to its principles – as well as the signing up of seven talent agencies, including SevenSix.

ISBA will also shortly be launching an update to its suite of template contracts for influencer marketing, which will be brought in line with the principles of the Code of Conduct.

Phil Smith, Director-General of ISBA, said: “On its launch last September, the Code of Conduct was well-received by industry, with many welcoming the bringing together in one place of best practice and guidance. Today we take another step with the focus in version 2 of the Code on diversity, equity, and inclusion in influencer marketing. 

“As an industry, we still have an enormous way to go in ensuring that we meet the highest standards in terms of representation in the ads audiences see, and the diversity of the teams who are creating the campaigns we ask influencers to work on. The number of brands and agencies who have agreed to join the second wave of Code signatories is hugely encouraging in this regard. We hope that we will begin truly to move the dial on diversity and inclusion. It is way past time to do so.”

Charlotte Williams, Founder of SevenSix Agency, a diversity and inclusion-focused influencer marketing consultancy, said of the update: “I am so pleased to see ISBA using their resources to push for a change in our industry. The refreshed Code of Conduct is a practical guide for brands, agencies, and influencers alike, to ensure they are making the industry a more inclusive and representative space.”

Scott Guthrie of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body commented: “Authentic storytelling powers successful influencer marketing. That storytelling should represent the cultures, people, and values of the moment. Misrepresenting our audience is to alienate our audience, to the detriment of all.

“ISBA’s updated Code of Conduct offers advertisers, agencies, and creators a set of guardrails to guide our industry towards a more inclusive and representative future. The IMTB is pleased to have been asked back by ISBA to help shape these new guardrails.”