Burson-Marsteller rolls out program to help clients close the gender gap

Called Advantage Women, the initiative is supporting clients by developing communications strategies about gender equality in the workplace.

Burson worldwide chair and CEO Don Baer
Burson worldwide chair and CEO Don Baer

NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller is rolling out a global offering called Advantage Women to help clients develop communications strategies about gender equality in the workplace, the agency said Wednesday.

Burson-Marsteller plans to leverage its research and data analytics to produce "evidence-based campaigns," including internal audits, perception analyses and research and message testing on women audiences. This will be accomplished in conjunction with sister company Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller Studio B.

"[It’s] intended to help clients do everything they can to realize the benefits of closing the gender gap and create leadership opportunities for women," said Don Baer, Burson’s worldwide chair and CEO.

He added that the agency is already offering the service to some clients, but declined to disclose them or specify how many.

The program will be led by worldwide vice chair Karen Hughes; Prema Sagar, vice chair of Burson Asia-Pacific and principal and founder of Genesis Burson-Marsteller; Robyn de Villiers, chair and CEO of Africa; Margaret Key, CEO, Asia-Pacific; Latin America COO Claudia Adriasola; EMEA COO Katarina Wallin Bureau; and U.S. COO Nicole Cornish.

Burson has been developing the program since late fall, when a group of women staffers in leadership positions, including Wallin Bureau, proposed the idea to Baer.

"It seemed natural," he said. "Every sector has been working hard at this to make progress at every level."

Both Baer and Wallin Bureau highlighted the social and business benefits of gender equality in the workplace, an issue they said Burson has counseled clients on for years.

"There aren’t any real challenges [creating the program]," Wallin Bureau added. "We’ve been offering this kind of service for several years and are only now just formalizing it. This is an issue that’s at the top of the agenda for most companies and organizations."

The program will tackle gender equality by offering communication programs that "help all levels of leadership recognize the importance of women in executive roles and gender balance across the workplace," the firm said in a statement.

It will also lend a hand with internal and external campaigns that show a company’s understanding of and commitment to enhancing the role of women.

Advantage Women will also support clients with marketing, helping them reach women as both consumers and decision-makers, which is critical because 90% of household purchases are made by women, Wallin Bureau pointed out.

"We want to help companies communicate to desired audiences and think quite fundamentally about the kind of message they’re going out with," she said.

Burson is also the media and communications partner of G(irls)20, a global organization that works to increase labor-force participation among women and "generate growth, stabilize communities, and lead to social innovation."

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