media update’s Nicole van Wyk chats to Julie Humphreys, head of stratcomms at Demographica, about inclusive workspaces and changes within the marketing sector as we know it. 

1. How do you strive to challenge the status quo with regard to men heading brand portfolios?

The person chosen to head up a brand portfolio should be put in place because they have a strong understanding of, and experience in, marketing and how to reach and influence behavioural change in the market they are talking to — not because they are a man or a woman. 

Any good marketer should be able to take themselves out of the equation when deciding how best to position and market products or brands, and instead, base their marketing on real human insights and strategic thinking that aligns to delivering on real business results. The most dangerous kind of marketing is subjective marketing – based on an individual’s own view of the world, rather than objective research and thinking.  

2. Why should agency model development and recruitment be considered in the process of building a portfolio that promotes gender equality?  

In order to avoid groupthink and a legacy approach to marketing, organisations should work together with their agency partners to ensure that the team that works on the business represents a broad range of views and experiences.   

Too often, organisations and agencies seek to recruit and build teams that are replicas of themselves and their own world view. And whilst this can feel comfortable and reassuring, it can lead to a stale approach, which doesn’t challenge the status quo.   

Alignment around values is key when recruiting and building a team, but the model should allow for a healthy mix of stability and diversity — both in the composition of the team and in the injection of new thinking into the team over time.

Strong independent thinking is best generated when a team is made up of a diverse group of people.

3. Why is it important to build brands rooted in company culture?  

It is really important to build brands [that are] rooted in company culture because a truly effective brand needs to be more than a look, feel and a slogan.   

Great brands have substance, and that substance is felt and delivered on through every aspect of the organisation.   

When there is a disconnect between how the brand is communicated in marketing and the experience that customers have when they interact with people in the organisation, there is a significant impact on brand credibility.  

For more information, visit You can also follow Demographica on Facebook or on Twitter.

Do you think the marketing industry needs an equality make-over? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Want to stay up to date with the latest news? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Reckon you’ve got what it takes to tackle the marketing sector? Check out these Five reasons why being a marketer is the coolest job in the world.