21 Jun 2023
My name’s Bryan and I run the marketing function at Ozone, the digital advertising platform built by the UK’s leading premium publishers. I’ll be coming up to four years in my current role and love the fact that our business is focused on making the world a better place for our stakeholders; by creating a more sustainable future for journalism and a more sustainable and better-performing digital ecosystem for advertisers. In addition, this creates a wider societal impact of making sure that editorially-led news and lifestyle content remains easily accessible to all.
I grew up in Ayrshire in Scotland and studied marketing at the University of Strathclyde. However, it was my part-time job in McDonald’s that – almost 25 years ago – got me my graduate career break and a move to London to work in media planning on the MaccyD’s account at Leo Burnett’s. After a few years on the agency side, I transitioned into B2B marketing within the media and advertising sector and since then have held senior roles at Capital Radio, DMGT, Metro, Primesight and now Ozone. There’s something really special about being responsible for marketing to some of the smartest people in the marketing industry that have kept me engaged with this amazing sector.
I would say my own career journey has been relatively uneventful when considering my sexuality, but I was incredibly conscious of trying to fit in when I first joined the media industry. Looking back on this, being a bit more authentically me would probably have made the start of my own journey even more enjoyable than it was. I didn’t have a particularly dramatic ‘coming out’ in the workplace, which meant that it took me some time to fully appreciate the challenges that many other LGBTQ+ people have in this regard.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work in many places where my sexuality made no difference to those around me. This has made me even more cognisant of the challenges facing others in the community – especially trans people – and the impact of today’s ‘culture wars’ on their wellbeing and feeling of belonging both in and out of the workplace.
For me, Pride has a three-way meaning; firstly remembering those that came before us who paved the way for greater equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community, secondly, celebrating the achievements and diversity of our community, and finally – and arguably most importantly – a reminder that we can never take our community’s hard fought-for rights for granted, as there are people out there who would like to take things backwards.
At Ozone we are privileged to partner with both PinkNews and The Independent who are both active and very vocal supporters of Pride. In particular, this year I have already been incredibly lucky to have attended PinkNews’ Pride Reception at the Houses of Parliament and I will be marching again with The Independent at Pride in London alongside my colleagues and our partners. We’ve also partnered with PinkNews to take their story to the stage at industry events like The Media Leaders’ Future of Brands.
20 years – now that’s making me feel old! I started secondary school in 1988, the year Section 28 came into force. I’ll be honest, at the time I don’t think I was even aware of it, so the impact at the time was probably negligible. However, looking back, not being personally exposed to LGBTQ+ themes during these years, combined with my classmates seeing heterosexuality as the only ‘normal’, had quite a big effect on how I viewed myself, and how others treated me.
While we’ve come a long, long way since then with more rights (yet still not equal), same-sex marriage and a broader societal acceptance for lesbians and gay men, there is still so much to be done; with neutralising the hateful rhetoric around trans people, and making sure conversion therapy is banned for everyone.
Within the workplace specifically, it’s really important to talk to your team about what inclusion looks like. That should definitely work both ways by talking to both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ colleagues. Sharing the outputs of this with the wider business is also really important. Another relatively easy thing to do is to revisit your policies to ensure they are as inclusive as possible for LGBTQ+ colleagues – make sure both the language and the action reflect this. It’s worth making a conscious effort to ensure these deliver fairly for everyone in your business as there’s every likelihood you will have to deal with this at some point. So it’s always best to act positively and to be on the front foot.
I would love to be able to keep this really simple and say “just be nice” and treat everyone in the way you would like to be treated yourself. However, given the current climate of hate that many LGBTQ+ people face from a very vocal minority, it’s really important that both the community and our allies shout louder and stand up for and advocate for those who most need our collective support.
I’m also a great believer in just starting doing small things that are meaningful for the LGBTQ+ community – not everything has to be a grand gesture. Even I sometimes worry about getting things wrong or making a misstep, but actually any well-intentioned progress should always be welcomed!
– Bryan Scott, Marketing Director at Ozone
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