Colenso BBDO 66 Beyond Binary Code

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Simon Vicars (CCO), Maria Devereux (CIO), Dan Wright (ECD), Beth O'Brien (Creative Director), Thomas Darlow (Creative Director)
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Haylie Craig (Senior Art Director), Erin Mattingly (Copywriter), Lucy Grigg (General Manager), Ryan Butterfield (Senior Business Director), Jin Fellet (Business Manager), Elsi Gibbs (Business Manager), Rob Campbell (CSO), Lizzie McCollum (CX Strategist), Liam Norris (Social Planner), Elle Kiddie (Senior Digital Producer), Isabelle Hooper (UX Strategist), Jodie Heron (UI Designer), Kyle Wetton (Fullstack Engineer), Logan Maire (Head of Technology & Innovation), Hamish Steptoe (Senior Designer), Fern Holloway (Senior TV Producer), Zia Mandviwalla (Director, FINCH), Corey Esse (Managing Director, FINCH), Bex Kelly (Exec Producer, FINCH), Duncan Bernard (Producer, FINCH), Marty Williams (DOP), Julian Curran (Editor), Neville Stevenson (Production Designer), Pete Ritchie (Colourist), John Baxter (Projections & Online), Cam Ballentyne (Music Composition), Craig Matuschka (Sound Engineer), Tamara O'Neill (Producer, Liquid Studios), Billy Worthington (Copywriter), Anna Markova (Technical Lead)
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Claire Black (General Manager, OutLine Aotearoa), James Malcolm (Communications CoOrdinator, OutLine Aotearoa), Aych McArdle (Co-Chair, OutLine Aotearoa)
  • Client
    Caitlyn Hayes

Transgender and non-binary communities are unaccounted for by most business data sets. There are millions of people who make up these communities worldwide, but we don’t have true data on them. That’s because we’re asking the wrong questions.

When a form asks for gender data and it only has two options (male, female), trans and non-binary people are forced to lie. A daily hurt that makes them feel invisible. If a person’s information is not correctly collected, digital systems can’t understand or innovate with them in mind.

Beyond Binary Code changes that. Co-created with rainbow mental health organisations (OutLine), trans and non-binary communities, it’s a single piece of a code that can be added to any website to make forms and fields gender inclusive.

It includes:
1. Code builder tool. Helping businesses understand whether they need to collect gender data, and if so, customising the code for their needs.
2. Downloadable HTML code. Updating forms to create inclusive datasets and flow on experiences. Written to work in HTML, Java, as well as Wix, SquareSpace, WordPress and other direct-to-market website building software.
3. Business resources. Encouraging buy-in, implementing the code, understanding data privacy obligations, and celebrating the positive gender datapoint ripple effect.
4. Non-binary design language. Welcoming and representing trans and non-binary experiences through film, imagery and stories.

The New Zealand Government didn’t update the 2018 census to be gender inclusive, so Spark stepped in to highlight the problem and rally businesses.

We used the human side of data to emotionally connect Kiwis to the problem.

We had 3 audience sets:

1. Trans, non-binary and rainbow communities. Despite launching during NZ Pride, this was not a rainbow-washing effort. To affect real change, the community members were co-creators, advisors, and advocates at every step.
2. Changemakers in business. The code is only one part of the beyond binary journey. We worked with NZ businesses to design tools and packs to help them get buy-in with management/stakeholders, and roadmap change they could then implement.
3. Progressive apathetics. We brought to light a problem the rest of the nation probably hadn’t thought about, by getting them to understand its roots, and see the gathering of gender data as an archaic and unnecessary concept.

We started this conversation on social media. Audience targeting allowed us to tailor and segment communications, ensuring we could articulate exactly how a largely unknown problem impacts them.

Over a two year period, Spark worked with OutLine as well as trans and non-binary communities. They also collaborated with gov’t organisations to understand the positive ripple effect a single datapoint like gender has in a business – from marketing/communications, to third party vendors, recruitment, talent, and spaces.

To lead change, today Spark doesn’t collect gender data, operates from gender inclusive spaces, IDs include preferred names, pronouns, and inclusivity training sessions are mandatory.

In the first 2 weeks of launch, the website recorded over 10k unique views, 200+ code downloads and started meaningful conversations with 36 major businesses.