Perspective - Sustainability, workplace culture and DE&I to shine in 2024

By Sophie Madden | 8 December 2023
Sophie Madden.

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

A year of ups and downs, change-making initiatives and celebrations, emerging challenges, and collaborative solutions to new and old problems – 2023 has been anything but dull.

There’s also no doubt that it was a year of rapid acceleration of innovation and improvement for most industries and workplaces, not just ours.

 Against the backdrop of escalating inflation and waning consumer confidence, the demand to achieve more with less became paramount. As these conditions persist in 2024, the role of agencies will be increasingly vital in helping marketers navigate through the complexities of the market to achieve success. 

For the MFA and our media agency members, the focus of this year was firmly on driving change and making our industry better, through collaboration. We worked together with our industry partners to align on major initiatives on privacy, sustainability, and contractual equity, and to enhance trust and transparency in out-of-home through the development of improved metrics.

A highlight was the release in October of the updated Advertising Pays report, which quantified advertising’s economic impact as $53 billion, or 2.1% of the GDP, an important proof point of the value of our industry. Commissioned by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), Advertising Council of Australia (ACA) and Media Federation of Australia (MFA), the report also had the backing of the CRA, IAB, Free TV, OMA and ThinkTV. 

Amid economic challenges and global uncertainties anticipated in 2024, marketers, agencies and media owners alike will continue to focus on the impact of AI and rapid technological advancements on work processes, along with ethical considerations.  

The refresh of Australia’s Privacy Act coming into effect next year and increased regulations will also be top of mind, alongside improvements in the diversity, equity and inclusion space, not just in our industry but across all sectors.

Similarly, employers will increase their efforts in addressing psychological wellbeing and ensuring supportive workplaces, with new legislation focusing on preventing psychological harm. Working with our members, advertises and the media owner community, the MFA aims to achieve just that for our industry, through the creation of an Industry Psychosocial Safety action plan in the new year.

The focus on sustainability – already an important consideration for marketers, agencies and media owners alike – will continue to gather momentum in 2024. At the MFA, we’ll bring this to the fore through our collaboration with the AANA, IAB and other industry partners to help transition the industry into a more sustainable economy. This is an important aspect of the MFA’s ambition to lead a sustainable, respected, inclusive and future-proofed industry.

I’m also looking forward to another year of inspiration at MFA EX, with an increased emphasis on our industry’s craft to make us better at what we do. In three short years, MFA EX has grown into an important event for our media agency community to come together and shine a spotlight on everything that is great in our industry and our ability to make change. I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved together and excited for what’s to come.

As always, we will continue to empower and inspire our members to create positive change in our industry and the broader community, because We Are The Changers.

By Sophie Madden, CEO, Media Federation of Australia

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