Stronger Stories retains full Blueprint status & Cirkle promoted from Ally to full status

Stronger Stories retains full Blueprint status & Cirkle promoted from Ally to full status

Wednesday 2 November 2022; London, UK: Stronger Stories has become the second agency to retain full Blueprint status and Cirkle has become the second agency to be promoted from Blueprint Ally to full Blueprint status after both agencies re-applied for the diversity mark in September.

The Blueprint diversity mark aims to promote racial diversity in PR and communications. Awarded agencies sign up to a series of commitments aimed at encouraging diversity from training to boardroom, staff culture to recruitment and retention.

Stronger Stories was the second agency to secure full Blueprint status after the diversity mark was launched in June 2020 and has become the second agency to retain the status alongside Manifest. Cirkle was awarded Blueprint Ally status two years ago and has become the second organisation after Blurred to be promoted from Ally to full Blueprint status following the latest application round.

The agencies’ submissions were marked by an independent panel of judges: Henry Rowling (founder, Flying Cars innovation agency); Sasha Daly (advocacy and influencing consultant); and Nyree Connell (healthcare policy manager and Blueprint strategy advisor).

Both Stronger Stories and Cirkle impressed the Blueprint judges with their determination to fulfil all the Blueprint commitments, to create inclusive workplaces where all can thrive, and to create inclusive work.

In addition Lewes based stories consultancy Stronger Stories once again impressed the Blueprint judges with a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging diversity including an advisory board to promote diverse voices, a planned apprenticeship programme and a values-led client charter. The small agency was awarded full Blueprint status for a second time in recognition of the big diversity strides they continue to make.

Cirkle was promoted to full Blueprint status after wowing the judges with a range of initiatives aimed at not only increasing EDI knowledge throughout their agency and amongst their clients but increasing workplace diversity too. The award-winning agency has seen an incredible 800% increase in Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority (BME) representation in its workforce since being awarded Blueprint Ally status in June 2020.

Elizabeth Bananuka, Founder, BME PR Pros; Founder/CEO Blueprinted, said: “Just over two years after the summer of BLM and after so many organisations have abandoned meaningful, impactful, accountable and transparent DE&I work, it is an honour to award Stronger Stories and Cirkle full Blueprint status. Their initial applications in 2020 showed a passion and commitment for diversity and inclusion, their reapplications in 2022 show progress, results, and incredible change. From Stronger Stories nurturing diverse talent in and out of its tiny but powerful workforce to Cirkle boosting Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority representation in its workforce by a stunning 800% in two years, the agencies are proof comms organisations can become diverse and inclusive workforces, creating the diverse and inclusive work clients deserve. On behalf of The Blueprint judges, I cannot thank Stronger Stories and Cirkle enough for maintaining their commitment to diversity and inclusion, for being great adverts for The Blueprint and for being DE&I inspirations.”

Fleurie Forbes-Martin, Story & Growth Director, Stronger Stories, said: “We are deeply grateful to have received our Blueprint recertification for 2022. Since we joined the community as allies in 2020, we have continued to dive deeper into our ED&I and democratisation mission. Rather than a single silo within a larger framework for change, supporting diverse voices and ideas is baked into every aspect of our business decision-making. Our continued focus on The Blueprint’s 23 commitments ensures that we continuously question our power and privilege as a business and team in order to stay true to this mission. We also urge our clients and partners to question their power and how they can use it too. Moving forward, the expansion of our storytelling skills services will unlock more ways to bring diversity into our team, our thinking and crucially, our impact. We’re proud to have retained The Blueprint’s confidence in us as we set out on our most ambitious chapter yet.”

Ruth Kieran, CEO, Cirkle, said: “Over the last two years we’ve worked hard to make Cirkle a more inclusive and diverse organisation. The Blueprint has been a fantastic and rigorous guide to ensure we’ve held a mirror up to our actions and words, and has kept us accountable along the way. We know that we still have much to do, but we’re extremely proud to have now been given full status, joining the rest of the cohort of fully Blueprinted businesses. We want to encourage others to join us in making our industry and our agencies better places to work for everyone.”

Since The Blueprint for Parity launched in 2020, it has been awarded to twelve agencies including Hope&Glory, Riot Communications, CCgroup, Harvard and PrettyGreen.

The Blueprint for In-house and The Blueprint for Comms. Organisations was launched in May 2022.

The Blueprint diversity mark has four application rounds a year and applications are judged by an independent panel who have taken part in a Blueprint diversity workshop. The deadline for the next round of agency applications is midday on Thursday 1 September 2022. Applications can be requested via the website.

Blueprinted agencies must re-apply for the diversity mark after two years.