Diversity in licensing:
A salad not soup approach

Diversity is paramount to creating open inclusion, acceptance and diminishing the damaging effects of discrimination and exclusion.

Understanding and acceptance of different cultures, backgrounds and identities perpetuates a kinder world. This opens the gates of opportunity for all.

In a commercial sense, it is now actively understood that diversity is the determinant between success and failure. It has been shown that diversity in the workplace increases creativity, knowledge sharing, flexibility and as a result performance.

Of course, the licensing world is no exception.

For any company operating within this industry, all parties need to ensure that:

  • Brand values are reflected 
  • Core audiences will resonate 
  • Reputation is enhanced
  • Costs are saved


Ideally, the right licensing will lead to evergreen products; beloved by all for generations to come. 

Anticipating an active strategy for diversity and inclusion will ensure the sanctity of your licensing partnership is not only protected but beneficial for your entity, and your audience and deepening cultural understanding of differences.

Yet it’s so easy to make common mistakes.

It’s not enough to rely on the perspective of people working on a project. 

Research shows us that everyone has unconscious biases towards others in certain groups. These beliefs form outside of our own conscious awareness which stems from the brain’s tendency to organise the world by categorising. 

It’s important to obtain a wide range of perspectives from different sociocultural backgrounds. 

Representation matters.

So how do we solve this?

Let’s break it back down to understanding what inclusion is.






A great image to think about here is inclusion as a salad – not a soup.

We don’t want to completely blend everyone together into one group where everyone’s the same. 

Let’s celebrate differences and the extra flavour a combination of ingredients gives us! (No one wants a plain lettuce salad).

Representation is important throughout life and particularly in our younger years.


Diverse representation in children’s products, media and content can help children 

  • To understand the reality they live in 
  • To discover other cultures
  • To develop empathy
  • To develop respect
  • To have a growth mindset


When there is poor minority representation this will negatively impact children’s:

  • Development of self-esteem
  • Limits to their capabilities
  • Recognition of aspiring leaders
  • Internalisation of harmful and inaccurate stereotypes

Around 1 in 20 children in the UK under the age of 16 have a diagnosed disability.


So it’s important those children have representative figures they can place themselves in and develop positively.

If we think about it personally, at some point or another we will likely be excluded from a situation and it’s generally a negative outcome on our self-esteem and feelings of capability.

Understanding ourselves, how we fit into society’s make-up and our unconscious bias will help build our empathy for others – which is the first step to creating a more inclusive world.

Back to licensing…

Hopefully, you can take this ‘salad not soup’ analogy with you every step of the way in your licensing process. Ensuring strategy isn’t just public facing… but ingrained into everyone’s understanding of each other.

The upcoming September 20-22nd Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) event has stated the event is hoped “to educate, inspire, and invite action to the licensing community.” 

Let’s make diversity in licensing a top priority on the agenda, for better licensing – and a better world.

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