Ed’s belonging blog

By Ed Bowler
November 2022

This feels more like therapy than blogging. But hey, integrity is a core value, and we believe honesty means everything. Always will.

First things first. Fluid is in its 20th year. I do not have any doubt at all that we’ve built a beautiful, caring, driven, ambitious, uplifting agency.
And within those words, the most important is caring. And another core value - pride is worth more than money.

Maybe I’m a simpleton, but I believe any business is just a collection of people. And the collections that make the best businesses are those that are united and excited by a shared vision. And bound and inspired by a shared culture.

All of the above is Fluid all over. And anyone from any background and any minority has always been welcome and will always be welcome.

But the bit we’ve got wrong - we thought everyone saw the world our way. We made assumptions. We thought everyone could feel our warming welcome. And we thought everyone would know that when we say we care, we mean it in the most pure and authentic and inclusive way.

So. Let’s talk about equality.

Another admission. I thought an equality policy belonged in the footer of your website. In the tick-box of a tender process.

Not because equality isn’t everything to Fluid and to me. But because a ‘policy’ always felt laughable. Especially when they are so often written by a lawyer. And something that should be about belonging and warmth and respect and care, just feels cold and officious and corporate and wrong.

I still feel the same way about those ‘corporate equality’ policies. Nothing feels right about those.

But I don’t feel the same way about everything. I didn’t realise that people from minority groups looked for those statements as a signal of safety. I didn’t realise people joined new jobs hiding who they were. And I cried when I found out people in our own team temporarily retreated every time someone new joined Fluid. Just in case they were no longer safe.

That’s why you’ll find equality stitched throughout our agency. It’s why belonging and respect is more verbally and visually etched in our culture. It’s why nothing’s been written by our lawyer with a corporate lens. It’s been written by our team with our hearts on our sleeves.

Everything at Fluid is done the Fluid way. Led by our values and inspired by our people. If that ever changes, the team deserves a different MD, so let’s hope not. Here’s to another 20 years of learning, growing, creating and caring.

Read more about equality and belonging