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Supplier Diversity



How are brands ensuring diversity among their suppliers and partners?


Supplier diversity should be simple, in that it should provide consumers with what they want and need while propelling growth and innovation for the company through a lens of inclusivity and diversity. Enrique Lores, president and CEO of HP, summed it up succinctly, stating, "I believe all companies must continue to find new ways to lead with purpose, and positively impact the planet, people, and communities they serve."

True growth can't occur if brands and companies don't invest in becoming diverse internally and promoting inclusion externally, which includes who brands partner with for its supply chains. To be truly diverse means supporting diversity at its core and in all aspects of business.

 HP, for instance, established three objectives to further this cause (called its "2030 Vision"), which include

  • Climate Action: Drive toward a net zero carbon, fully regenerative economy while creating the industry's most sustainable portfolio of technology, services, and solutions.
  • Human Rights: Create a powerful culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Advance a human rights, social justice, and racial and gender equality across the ecosystem, serving as a model for all.
  • Digital Equity: Help eliminate the digital divide that prevents many from accessing the education, jobs, and health care they need to thrive.

Further, creating an effective supplier diversity plan hinges on making strategic and decisive choices. Tabitha Mason-Elliott, partner, head of production at BARK BARK and chairperson of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers' Equity and Inclusion Committee, discussed this at an ANA event, stating:

People need to do more than set the intention of including people, because if you bid a car commercial and you bid the guy who's done your last 10 car commercials, and then you bid a guy who's done one, and then you bid a woman who's done some car work, but never had an opportunity, it's not really a fair bidding pool. It's really box-checking. So, you need to decide what in your campaign you can commit to putting dollars toward and do that thing. And then that thing will really help you develop relationships with different companies, different directors, different people, and really introduce them to other people. Because we like to work with people we trust, people we know do good work, people who perform. And we need to develop those relationships; they don't just happen. So, it's really important to commit to developing those relationships.

Below are helpful best practices, surveys, and case studies. Don't forget to check out our resources, ANA DEIB Resource Center and Supplier Diversity

Best Practices 

  • Resource List of Certified Diverse Suppliers for Marketing/Advertising. ANA, February 2023.
    The ANA's curated Certified Diverse Suppliers list, initially published in July 2020, is being updated regularly. The February 2023 edition has 13 additional suppliers for a total of 469 companies. The list is also available in a spreadsheet which allows users to sort as needed. If you have suggestions for diverse suppliers, or other comments, please email us at

  • The Marketing Community's Support of Diverse Suppliers. ANA, April 2023.
    This research is based on a survey of the ANA database of certified diverse suppliers serving the marketing/advertising industry. The ANA wanted to hear from these diverse suppliers to learn: how interest from the marketing/advertising community in supporting diverse suppliers changed in the past year; how investment from the marketing/advertising community changed in the past year and is expected to change in the next year; top challenges for diverse suppliers.
  • A Diversity Report for the Advertising/Marketing Industry. ANA, November 2022.
    This report is from ANA and ANA's Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) and based on three separate studies among ANA members. The report reveals that representation of women in the industry overall and in leadership positions continues to be strong. Further, there has been an increase in the ethnic diversity of the marketing teams of ANA member companies — the most significant growth of ethnic diversity in the five-year history of this report! The overall ethnic skew of the marketing/advertising industry is now 32.3 percent diverse, up from 30.8 percent a year ago.

  • Guidelines for Diverse Media Suppliers When Doing Business with Buyers (Agencies and Marketers). ANA, August 2022.
    Over the past year there has been an increased impetus from the ad industry to support diverse suppliers. The purpose of this guidance is to help buyers (agencies and marketers) and diverse media suppliers improve their ways of working together. This work was created by a cross-industry collaboration.

    The 4A's, the ANA, and AIMM, with input from our respective members, drafted the initial guidelines. We then reached out to diverse suppliers for input and improvement. While this guidance has been developed with diverse media suppliers specifically in mind, much of it is also relevant for diverse suppliers in marketing/advertising overall. See also the companion guide, Guidelines for Buyers (Agencies and Marketers) When Doing Business with Diverse Media Suppliers.

  • Diversity & Representation: Focus on Media Planning & Buying. ANA/WFA, January 2022.
    There are clear Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) opportunities for advertisers to consider within their media choices. These include working with minority-owned and operated media vendors, helping to fund narratives and people that are breaking new grounds and empowering community inclusion and diversity, as well as taking steps to prevent the funding of hate speech and misinformation, without blocking positive voices that represent diverse communities. The goal of this guide is to help advertisers build media plans that are representative of today's society, as well as play a role in building a media ecosystem where diverse voices thrive.

  • The Growth of Supplier Diversity. ANA, May 2021.
    This report provides a deep dive into supplier diversity in marketing/advertising, covering areas including benefits, challenges, spend, goals, and measurement. The report is based on both quantitative (March 2021 survey with 112 respondents) and qualitative research.

  • And Now a Word from the Diverse Suppliers: The Supplier Perspective on Certification. ANA, December 2021.
    This research surveyed suppliers. Specifically, it surveyed suppliers on the ANA/AIMM list of certified diverse suppliers. The focus was on certification, to understand its importance, benefits, challenges, ease/difficulty of the process, and more.

  • Creating Connections Between Minority Businesses and Corporate America. ANA, November 2022.
    The mission of the National Minority Supplier Development Council is to serve as a growth engine for certified minority businesses — Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native American — and enable those businesses to advance economic equality. NMSDC creates connections between minority business enterprises and corporations to help them benefit from each other, stoking entrepreneurship, and growing wealth for these systemically excluded communities.

    Celebrating its 50th anniversary, NMSDC is the nation's largest, most effective, and successful nonprofit advocacy organization for MBEs, proving growth for MBEs is growth for all. Given that supplier diversity in the advertising supply chain has never been more important than it is today, the advertising industry will surely benefit from the perspective of NMSDC.

  • Diversity in Production and Postproduction. ANA, May 2022.
    During a session at the ANA's 2022 Advertising Financial Management Conference, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) shared the work it is doing to promote diversity in the commercial filmmaking industry, especially through the work of groups such as the Mentorship and Access subcommittee and the Best Practices subcommittee.


  • HP: The Supplier Diversity Journey. ANA, January 2023.
    HP has already made incredible strides in supplier diversity, especially in terms of diverse representation across numerous supplier disciplines. Despite recent success, there is still a determination to scale supplier diversity efforts to even greater heights. For those just starting to develop their supplier diversity strategy, or those looking for tips on where to improve, learn how HP started the journey, where they have found success, and how they hope to continue exceeding expectations.

  • Responsible Marketing: A Framework for Growth Through Diversity. ANA, October 2022.
    While many brands and agencies are making inroads with DEI, most are only solving part of the equation — especially when it comes to increasing diversity and equity across creative supply chains. Tony Wells, Verizon's CMO, spoke about the power of making a brand message resonate in the marketplace and the steps the brand is taking as part of their Responsible Marketing Action Plan to aid in a movement that fosters industry-wide growth opportunities for diverse talent, suppliers, and media.
  • Supplier Diversity at Northwestern Mutual Is a Business Imperative. ANA, February 2022.
    At Northwestern Mutual, inclusion is a core value that they approach from a top-down strategy. They value the creativity of a diverse workforce, suppliers, and community. One pillar of Northwestern Mutual's efforts includes cultivating a diverse supply chain to generate economic impact in the communities that they operate in and serve.

  • Nestlé's Supplier Diversity Program. ANA, December 2021.
    Nestlé's Jonathan Stine described the launch of an Employee Resource Group (ERG) and how it influenced the organization's approach to supplier diversity. In 2018 to 2019, Stine helped launch the Nestlé Pride Alliance ERG at the company's Cleveland office. He brought his experience with procurement to the task, so that the ERG not only provided employee assistance, the most traditional role for an ERG, but also addressed issues related to suppliers, as well as issues related to advocacy, government relations, and communication with customers. The Nestlé Pride Alliance cultivated a membership of over 1,000 within a year, inspiring Stine to take a similar approach with other ERGs.

  • The HP Way: Supplier Diversity Strategy Within Marketing. ANA, October 2021.
    Terrell Smith, global supplier diversity program manager, and Danielle Tisser, marketing agency strategy and management, both at HP, explored their approach to supplier diversity within the marketing space.

Virtual Supplier Diversity Fair

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

  • Explore content to access best practices, case studies, and marketing tools. Our proprietary content includes Event Recaps, which share actionable insights from conference and committee presentations.
  • Connect with our Ask Research Service in real time for customized answers to your specific marketing challenges.
  • Stay on top of trends with Marketing Futures Pulse issues, which explore how new technologies and innovations will affect marketers and consumers alike.

"Supplier Diversity." ANA, May 2023.