It isn’t often we’re given the platform to talk to hundreds of people about the wonderful organisations and people we partner with here at Ocean Outdoor. So, when the recent Mindshare Huddle had the theme of ‘The Power for Good’ there’d never been a better opportunity for us to stand up and shout about equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and how people can get involved through our partner organisations.
Ocean Outdoor have partnered with Team GB for the last seven years but this year we have extended our partnership to include Paralympics GB and Special Olympics GB too. Where Team GB supports able bodied athletes, Paralympics GB support athletes with a physical disability and Special Olympics GB supports athletes with an intellectual disability. Fully representing the communities we are in is so important to Ocean and everything we stand for – we want to make sure fair opportunity and value is given to everyone. We have strong platforms for communication and we want to make sure we are giving everyone an opportunity to use them, especially underrepresented groups.
Did you know that 1 in 5 people have a physical or intellectual disability and 3 in 5 either know someone or have a family member with a physical or intellectual disability? But where the representation of gender, race and sexual identity has significantly progressed in recent years, only 19% of people say they have noticed fairer representation of individuals in areas such as intellectual disability*. Therefore, we have chosen to support these organisations specifically and use the partnership to amplify the EDI message within the industry and within our own organisation and practices.
The Mindshare Huddle was for Mindshare employees and their clients, who work closely with many brands. We decided to create an interactive and informative schedule for the day so that attendees left our stand with some insight into the lives of others, and hopefully some call to actions to take EDI back into their businesses and conversations with clients.
We were lucky enough to get athletes from Paralympics GB and Special Olympics GB to attend the event because who better to tell their story than those experiencing it for themselves? We had Lily Mills, a Special Olympics tennis player, Lauren Rowles, a Paralympic rower, and Ashley Facey, a Paralympics table tennis player and cyclist.
Throughout the day, the athletes were on hand to chat to attendees about themselves, their organisations and their personal thoughts and experiences. We also organised a Q&A at midday where the three athletes were quizzed by Jenny Seymour, from Paralympics GB, about their experiences and how organisations within the industry and brands can support the EDI agenda and move it forward, as individual organisations and as an industry.
The athletes talked about everything from simply the way people spoke to them to the logistics of workplace setups for people with a disability. This included simply asking someone with a disability what they needed to make the workplace accessible for them and making the setup so seamless that someone with a disability wasn’t made to feel like their needs were a difficult ask.
The audience were really engaged and asked many questions – from questions around their own personal experiences of disability to questions that helped their own understanding to take back into their workplace.
Alongside the athletes on the stand, there was also an interactive activity where people could row for the chance to win prizes – we got each person to row 1km to make up the 40km row from Dover to Calais with the idea of us heading over the Channel Tunnel ready for the 2023 Special Olympics Games in Berlin and the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in Paris.
Want to do your bit? There’s three ways to help move EDI forward.
Your organisation – we have a responsibility, as an advertising community, to keep the conversation going and growing. Why not get a GB organisation into your offices to talk to your teams about their experiences, run your own equality, diversity and inclusion events or create a working group? You could also arrange fun team activities to fundraise, as organisations such as Paralympics GB and Special Olympics GB rely on public funding.
Opportunities to volunteer – get along to some of the GB events, whether it’s as a volunteer or a spectator. There’s loads of opportunities to get involved and if you sign up to our email newsletters we’ll make sure you’re in the know about anything coming up. Going to the events and meeting the athletes is the best way to experience and understand first-hand the wonderful opportunities these organisations give to athletes of all abilities. If you have your own charities you want to support, why not volunteer with them?
Upcoming sponsorship – In 2023 the Special Olympics have their games in Berlin and in 2024 Team GB and Paralympics GB have the Olympics in Paris. We’ll be talking about the games on screen and showing the action and there’s plenty of sponsorship opportunities of our partnership content.
We’ll be coming in to your businesses and brands to talk about our the partnerships and how this can work for you commercially so please look out for our email in your inbox. For more information or to ask any questions please get in touch.
*This is from our recent At the Local data, 2022.