DIFFERENT VOICES. EQUAL VOICE.

Jamie Cooper
Oct 13 · 4 min read
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Dear Clients and Partners of Drake Cooper,

At Drake Cooper we say, We Build Brands for the Ambitious. We also say we mash-up creativity and innovation to build successful campaigns for our clients. As the President of the agency, over the summer of 2020, I had to deeply consider if we were living up to those words.

As we’ve all sadly witnessed this past summer’s racial injustice and resulting demonstrations and protests, there has been a national rethinking of all the things that led us to this moment. The Black Lives Matter movement made me wonder if my own silence and inaction, as a white male, is part of this ongoing problem. What can I do as an agency leader and a marketer to help? How can Drake Cooper be a better resource for our clients? Have I led our agency to give this topic enough discussion and thought in the past? Where we have failed as a company starts and stops with me. This moment of national reckoning made me stop in my tracks and question everything.

For these reasons, over the summer of 2020, we set out as a team to discuss, listen, and rethink how we might be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. We talked with various resources inside and outside our industry to help us understand the perspectives of underrepresented people, starting with black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) as it relates to branding and marketing. We have been seeking to learn, but also hoping to gain a better understanding of what Drake Cooper might be able to do specifically given our industry, our craft, and our skills.

Where has all this led us?

The first place it leads us is to the unique talents we can bring to the problems we face as a culture and as a country. What can advertising DO?

Informed by the many discussions happening at the national level in the advertising industry, a Drake Cooper Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) team came together and launched an initiative on Juneteenth. At first, I thought this work was something we would do inside the agency, but the more work we do and the more conversations we have, the more I realize we need to speak to you, our clients, about the ideas behind this initiative and our responsibility to each of you as your agency.

Although advertising many times follows culture, we also know our work as brand builders, creatives, and storytellers can shape trends and start conversations. We understand the power of communication and helping ambitious brands speak authentically. Communicating equality without bias means we must understand and think of all underrepresented people as we build and run successful campaigns.

Specifically, we are suggesting that this mindset of diversity, equity, and inclusion should be something Drake Cooper brings to the table in our relationship to build your brand.

As a part of our DEI work, it should not go without saying that we must also look at the makeup of our own organization at Drake Cooper and strive to do better to create a more diverse staff. We are inside a state and industry that is not as diverse as others, but that should not be an excuse. To this end, we have engaged outside consulting on the topic of recruiting and hiring. We have also begun DEI specific training for our staff to ensure we are doing everything we can within our walls to create a company that fosters these values and is equitable to all people.

The team and I feel strongly about our DEI initiative and the energy around it. We must turn our frustration, sadness, and anger into something that helps. This is how we can help. This is our responsibility as your partner to help you build your brand.

The ask? As we continue to plan for 2021 with you and your team, we would love to schedule some time to talk about how, together, we can bring more diversity, equity, and inclusion to the advertising and marketing we do on your behalf. We will be reaching out to all clients and partners this fall.

From there, as always, the sky is the limit.

Thank you for your continued partnership and here’s to the future!

Jamie Cooper
President, CEO

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Action Taken:

  • This year we signed the 3% Pledge for Pay Equality. Drake Cooper is committed to fair and equitable compensation for our team members.
  • 2020 is our third year as a GoodWell Certified business. GoodWell helps align an organization’s values with actions to build engaged, equitable, and humane workplaces.
  • This year, more than any in the past, we took a more in-depth look at diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry, our work, and our organization. We engaged partners like Magnet Global, People3, and Inclusive Idaho. We are currently offering Inclusive Idaho a home in our building and helping them grow their voice in our state.
  • We invite our partners and industry peers to join us, to share resources, and to find ways to learn from each other.

Action Planned:

  • Strive to be more active in our local community supporting DEI initiatives, i.e., sponsoring the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Virtual Summit at BSU this fall.
  • Provide our staff with ongoing training and access to People3 to create a more equitable, respectful, and inclusive workplace.
  • Monitor and refine job postings to make sure they are inclusive for all.
  • Provide opportunities for staff to become more educated on Human Rights by offering the ability to complete courses such as the Human Rights certification provided through the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights.

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