As part of Race Equality Week 2022, Edelman worked with Race Equality Matters to create and launch a digital tool called #MyNameIs. It helps people to correctly pronounce their names and others, by phonetically spelling it. We spoke to Executive Director and Co-Head of UK Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Satyen Dayal, and Executive Creative Director Jamie Cordwell about it.
What has your journey into Edelman looked like?
Jamie: I joined as a Creative Director in 2016 and recently became an Executive Creative Director. Before that, I spent about 15 years working for advertising agencies.
Sat: I am a re-joiner. I left, went to a boutique agency and came back in 2012. It's now been 10 years!
How did you get into the communications industry?
Jamie: I worked on TV and print ads – then realized that people weren't watching TV to see TV adverts – the traditional ways of reaching them were shrinking. Edelman does very different work that actually breaks through and people share, which is fantastic.
Sat: I wanted to become a DJ, but my mum said no. So, I looked through a local college’s pamphlet and found a course on journalism. It then changed to a multimedia course, but I enrolled and loved a module in PR. It felt like it was made for me. I went to university, got a degree in it and went from there.
What was the creative process behind #MyNameIs?
Sat: We helped establish and launch the first Race Equality Week in 2021, with our recruitment partner Green Park. For 2022 they wanted to go bigger and came up with #MyNameIs. Everyone has problems with name mispronunciation – it’s prevalent within minoritised ethnicities. We helped them to define the narrative, some creative and press support.
Jamie: We wanted to bring this issue to light and solve it at the same time. We worked with the creative team, a wider creative production and integrated team within the agency.
Did you face any challenges throughout the campaign journey?
Jamie: To say this was a sprint is an understatement. I've never seen anything so high level turned around in such a short amount of time - hats off to everyone! We had a workable model in a week that needed to work on the existing Race Equality Matters website, then input and spell over half a million names.
What was the most rewarding part of the work?
Sat: Reading people’s stories about growing up as a result of name mispronunciation, how they overcome it and what it meant for them to share the correct pronunciation of their names. There’s a huge amount of pride and identity in names.
Jamie: Yes. It shows that there's a lot more in a name than we ever realized.
Is there anything extra you would have done with this work if it had been possible?
Sat: Different expressions of names. We are hoping to include this in the next phase.
What do you like best about your job?
Sat: The people I work with. I get to do stuff I never imagined doing when I wanted to be a DJ - I mix things up in a different way!
Jamie: The opportunity to create work that impacts people's lives.
How do you relax outside work?
Jamie: During COVID I took up golf, as it was one of the few places that was open. Now I'm into it, which surprises me because I never thought I'd be a golfer. I also play video games, paint a lot and cycle.
Sat: Over the pandemic I took up badminton – I try not to get beaten every week! I also have two kids who keep me busy. I listen to music and watch movies - put me in a cinema for week and I'll be happy!
What’s the next big project?
Sat: I'll be working with Jamie again on some big creative. All I can say is that will be quite transformational!
What advice would give to someone considering a career at Edelman?
Jamie: There’s almost no limit to our creativity. For some that can feel quite scary. But it’s one of the most exciting things you could ever have in a job where you are innovating.
Sat: We are big, which makes people see us as inaccessible, but they get a very different picture when they come to the office. Come talk to us and see what we can do for you.