Case Study: Moving from Theory to Practice: Digital Marketing Agency Learns to Break Bias

The Challenge

A marketing agency based out of Washington specializes in using SEO, PPC, content strategy, social media, analytics, design, and development to create digital marketing campaigns that help companies grow their business. The agency came to Apothecarie looking to decrease the influence of bias in its daily decision-making processes. The agency’s executive leadership made a commitment to curating a culture of curiosity around mitigating the insidious impact of bias on business decisions and team dynamics.

The Solution

In June 2018, Apothecarie launched a comprehensive bias mitigation strategy focused on giving the agency’s leadership tools and resources to accept, label, and mitigate bias real-time with their teams. Apothecarie kicked off the program at the executive level, to ensure buy-in from the top. The program’s visibility was maintained through executive and management participation in monthly company-wide town hall meetings focused on understanding and accepting unconscious bias, monthly leadership development sessions to learn to recognize and label common biases as they appear within relevant job functions, and in an effort to ensure the adoption of learning, an intensive 30-day bias mitigation intervention for the leadership team. The leadership intensive consisted of leadership briefings and interventions to create processes, strategies, and tactics to address the various biases that impact individual teams within the agency using a bias mitigation model.

There are roughly 150 identified cognitive biases and five categories of bias, each category responsive to a different set of actions that will help mitigate them. The Model proposes an alternative solution to mitigating bias, derived from a brain-based perspective. It designs and guides processes to interrupt and redirect unconsciously biased thinking.

The Result

Unconscious bias has become a topic of interest across the agency, leaders are empowered to take a proactive stance against bias in the workplace, leading unconscious bias discussions and referencing their 30-day bias mitigation intervention experience as a real-world application of both small and large-scale bias mitigation tactics. Teams have adopted small and large tactics to address biases that impact business decisions, team dynamics, and business processes.