Mosaic Principles

The American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Mosaic Council is the advertising industry’s preeminent think tank on diversity and inclusion. To create a foundation for the Mosaic Council’s work, the members have created the AAF’s Mosaic Principles. These Principles offer agencies and companies at-large the recommendations needed to institute common diversity practices that are essential to addressing the demands of our consumers.

1. We Must Recruit to Develop An Inclusive Industry 

We believe that the future of the industry is reliant on a workforce that reflects the diversity of demographics, lifestyle, experience and mindset of America today and tomorrow. For long-term success, the advertising industry must better represent the mixtures that together create America.

Actionable Practices:

  • Recruit from institutions comprised of multicultural students, experienced professionals and cultural organizations 
  • Incorporate inclusion recruitment goals into management and leadership evaluations 
  • Create partnerships focusing on relationship building and career navigation, intently filtered through the 
    lens of inclusion
  • Leverage affinity groups in the hiring process 
  • Analyze job specifications, requirements and interviewing questions to prevent hidden bias on an annual cadence
  • Require a diverse slate of candidates 
  • Compose interviewing and hiring panels that consist of multicultural employees 
  • Include multicultural employees in all recruitment activities 
  • Request candidate referrals from multicultural employees 
  • Support industry high school enrichment programs
  • Ensure there is equitable pay for all employees

2. We Must Provide Greater Access to Development and Leadership Opportunities

Exposure to the right people, brands and assignments in the advertising industry is career-defining. Facilitating connections within the AAF membership and advertising community at-large will help drive the change that we seek through retention, development and leadership. 

Actionable Practices:

  • Create a culture that embraces and values multicultural talent’s voices and input 
  • Implement programming and disseminate internal and external messaging that encourages company-wide understanding that the success of multicultural talent is an indicator of the success of the organization 
  • Build mentorship, sponsorship and career path training 
  • Assign an individual responsible for new-hire company culture training 
  • Investigate organization’s systems and seek out blind spots, biases or lack of diversity awareness, in order to promote diversity intelligence
  • Develop a specific plan to retain experienced multicultural talent 


  • Conduct formal training programs (i.e. leadership, management and job-specific skills)    
  • Implement career multi-disciplinary rotation programs 
  • Create open access to competitive, high-profile assignments earmarked for multicultural talent
  • Support multicultural employees requests to attend inclusion career development and growth workshops and conferences
  • Incorporate metrics and feedback into performance evaluations to assist with career advancement


  • Promote multicultural talent to executive positions 
  • Provide opportunities to participate in roundtable discussions with senior leaders 
  • Invite multicultural employees to attend high-profile industry events to build a diverse industry presence
  • Encourage multicultural employees to be active in industry organizations and strive for leadership positions
  • Sponsor high-potential and strong performers skill-stretching assignments

3. We Must Implement Fair Business Practices—Supplier Diversity

Ensuring a diverse supplier base in procuring goods and services is integral for any organization. It reinforces the development of a supply chain that secures the inclusion of diverse groups in an organization’s business plan.  A company’s commitment to supplier diversity initiatives displays its dedication to doing business in diverse markets, as well as highlights it’s responsibility to the economic growth of all communities.

Actionable Practices:

  • Formally integrate supplier diversity into the corporation’s strategic plan 
  • Determine benchmarks and compensate positive outcomes 
  • Develop a multicultural supplier database –identify diverse suppliers in the company’s supply chain and how much is spent with those suppliers, setting measurable spend and percentage goals for certified multicultural suppliers
  • Utilize multicultural suppliers for scalable internal operational needs, as well as partners for core business ventures 
  • Be intentional about including multicultural businesses in RFPs 
  • Get involved with government and non-profit entities that have been established to aid minority enterprises 
  • Invest in the development of supplier training programs 
  • Match senior executive “mentors” with diverse supplier “protégé” companies to help them grow their own businesses. 
  • Provide opportunities for multicultural suppliers to obtain constructive feedback 
  • Develop “proof of use” cases demonstrating how current multicultural supplier(s) won the business and the impact value they drove as a result

4. We Must Recognize the Diversity of Talent Within the Industry

Recognition comes with reward. We must bring greater awareness to the hidden storytellers, innovators and provocateurs in the industry.

Actionable Practices:

  • Increase multicultural talent nominations for awards programs. 
  • Submit diverse set of candidates to serve on awards judging panels 
  • Identify speakers at various levels of leadership for industry panel participation 
  • Promote senior leadership attendance at industry programs that recognize multicultural talent and initiatives 
  • Submit multicultural creative campaigns and organizational initiatives for recognition 
  • Partner with industry publications to be included on their recognition lists 
  • Require corporate communications departments to include multicultural employees in awards nominations 
  • Encourage multicultural engagement on social media platforms 
  • Profile multicultural talent in company promotional materials
  • Encourage thought leadership contributions as a means for talent to foster and develop their professional brand

5. We Must Encourage the Industry to Portray Multifaceted Images of Multicultural Communities 

Presenting realistic images of multicultural markets can play a key role in creating a society that is inclusive of the many consumers who define the American marketplace and dispel the stereotypes that have been perpetuated for far too long.

Actionable Practices:

  • Make conscious decisions to produce and disseminate advertising messages that portray the many facets of multicultural life 
  • Seek the opinion of multicultural consumers regarding images that resonate  
  • Assign diversely represented creative teams to develop messages and images for all markets 
  • Conduct research to ensure culturally authentic messaging  
  • Challenge creative teams and content creators to present non-stereotypical concepts and images 
  • Showcase examples of work targeting multicultural markets that portray diverse communities in various life situations 
  • Partner with education, entertainment and law enforcement entities to create best practices that dispel stereotypes and assist in disseminating multi-faceted images  
  • Participate in industry craft training
  • Be vocal during the campaign process regarding stereotypical messaging and unrealistic portrayals of multicultural communities 
  • Offer sincere apologies when missteps occur
  • Conduct “after-action” reviews to learn, grow and institute procedures to avoid future missteps

Download the Mosaic Principles