arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash

The Newsletter | Edition 053
Progress Report is dedicated to providing inspiration for action. In our Off-White Papers, we provide practical guidance on how to respond to our rapidly-changing world. This newsletter explores those topics in real-time, with information and action steps on how to make progress now.

But in this special newsletter series, The State Of, we dive a little deeper into the long-term work that comes after, in the places where we’re seeing new types of progress in action. From brand strategy to design, internet trends to sustainability, music to science, beauty to travel, and more.

There is no doubt we are currently in an era of great social awakening (it was the impetus for my talk at this year’s 4A’s StratFest). But more than anything, it has served to highlight how far from inclusive and equitable we are today. Our current aims for “diversity” lack the openness and active engagement that can create true progress and advancement in our society. And so, it’s time we push past our diversity and create a plurality.

Looking back across time, from the Islamic Golden Age to NASA’s moon landing, we see repeatedly that openness to varied peoples and perspectives yields great progress and advancement. Equally, insularity has caused the downfall of great societies (think—Europe in the Dark Ages). While today we are certainly experiencing our greatest levels of diversity, we are also at risk of insularity as a nation fiercely divided, politically and otherwise—starkly aware of our deep interdependency.

We are at a critical juncture. One where we could falter. In our worst hours we have exploited diversity for capitalist gain. But there is potential to change direction. If we can open ourselves up to, participate in, and engage with our diversity, we can create a new culture that is not defined by a core and its margins, but one that is redefined by all, for all. We have the potential to create a plurality—a new collective culture.

In fact, as brand professionals, it’s our responsibility.


Let this sink in—there is no right or one solution to engaging our plurality. But there are key questions to ask that can help us find our own starting points.

Creating a true plurality means encouraging a new level of exchange and engagement, sharing, and understanding. And doing that means questioning our day-to-day work. How open are we, really? Here are pointers to help us interrogate that.

Ask yourself: How can I center marginalized perspectives in core perspectives?
By bringing marginalized perspectives to our core work, we can innovate and design for those who live on the fringe, and thus welcome all into our solutions.

  • One team who did this well was the group who created the Nike Go FlyEase Shoe. The shoe was originally designed for people with cerebral palsy, with no laces, no hands needed. But they did it so well that the shoes have broken out into the mainstream, and are now sold and used by all.

Ask yourself: How can I create campfires that drive new connections?
Rather than perpetuate existing relationships and conversations, create new ones. Brands should act as a campfire for people to huddle and converse around, where they can create new connections, understanding, and engagement that will become the foundation of our plurality.

  • I love NFTs as an example of this. NFTs have brought so many disparate groups together: People from the art world, people who work in finance, people who aspire to invest but don't know how, crypto-fanatics, and people who are just plain curious.

Ask yourself: How can I honor individuality through relatability?
A plurality is not a monoculture. In fact it requires diversity to thrive. Equally, as we grow more diverse, people will want to celebrate their individuality. Doing this in a way that is welcoming and relatable is important, lest it spur division.

  • The wine brand Black Girl Magic showcases this one perfectly. While not everyone feels they have Black girl magic, it’s a concept we can all get behind. The women behind it are fighting industry biases, creating a family of women, and inspiring others with products like She Can. They are making their individuality relatable and welcoming others into it. And it shows.

Shopping Cart