Born Blak is a program that aims to increase representation and create opportunities for First Nations content creators who have been underrepresented in Australian marketing and communications for far too long. What makes Born Blak unique is that it’s a long-term commitment to foster, educate, and mentor emerging First Nations content creators, providing them with the skills and connections to increase access to commercial opportunities.
There is a chronic underrepresentation of First Nations social media content creators in Australian marketing and communications. Our research shows that 79% of Australians can’t name any brands that have featured Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their campaigns. Brands and media unconsciously default to working with stereotypical Australian influencers, and we recognise the role that we can play as industry leaders to help increase representation of First Nations peoples online in media. The program will help to drive tangible commercial partnerships and monetisation opportunities for First Nations creators by facilitating connections with culturally responsive businesses.
Yes, absolutely. We’ve always wanted Born Blak to be a program for First Nations creators, developed in close collaboration with First Nations creators. Since its inception, the program has had various consultation with First Nations Elders, communications experts, and First Nations content creators currently facing the challenges that Born Blak aims to overcome. We’ve also appointed an independent Advisory Panel to assist in the overall development and delivery of the program.
Born Blak will kick off with its first cohort of creators in September 2023 and will run for six months, ending in March 2024 with a summer break from 1 December 2023 - 15 January 2024.
Over six months between August 2023 and March 2024, successful applicants will receive education and training to support in their development as an emerging content creator. This will include two paid-for trips to Sydney to meet with the Born Blak community and participate in workshops, 12 virtual learning and mentor training sessions, and access to additional support including mental health services and learning and development platforms via Publicis Groupe ANZ.
Born Blak’s education curriculum has been developed alongside the Advisory Panel and industry experts to include all forms of knowledge sharing including in-person workshops, online/virtual training, and one-on-one mentor sessions with First Nations community members and professional leaders in media and marketing. The education schedule has a variety of sessions on offer, some of which include; how to build your audience online, how to manage mental health online, how to find your personal content style, how to interpret a creative brief, and more. In addition to Born Blak’s robust education schedule, Publicis Groupe ANZ’s People & Culture team will offer one-on-one LinkedIn branding workshops and complete access to the Publicis Groupe ANZ learning and development ‘Power Skills’ employee training sessions.
The program’s mentorship offering will include both community and professional mentors. Community Mentors will comprise of First Nations peoples who will support the program’s participants on a personal level, empowering creators to celebrate Indigenous culture through storytelling and take action on uplifting First Nations voices through their content. Professional Mentors will comprise of specialists in the marketing and communications industry that can share expertise in brand building, social media, creative content development and more. Born Blak participants will have theopportunity to interact with potential mentors before sessions begin to establish trust and identify the ideal mentor to match their individual requirements.
Our research with YouGov shows that sadly, 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples say they’ve received abuse or racism for their cultural identity online, with 77% saying that it’s had a negative impact on their mental health. Acknowledging the realities of what life can be like as a First Nations content creator online, we will provide program participants with free access to wellbeing app, Sonder. Born Blak will also help to facilitate various community group sessions where those involved in the program can have a yarn, either in person or online, on tips for managing mental health and advice on how to deal with online negativity from well-known First Nations content creators that can speak to their lived experience.
With Sonder, our Born Blak creators will have free access to confidential, professional medical, mental health, and safety support right at their fingertips via chat, on the phone or in-person, from anywhere, 24/7. The platform can support people through mental health concerns, medical concerns, family life, stress, anxiety, fatigue etc., physical health, safety concerns and relationship issues. Services enabled through the app include chat instantly with professionals, safety features, medical support via contact with nurses, emergency responders and a library of self-support resources.