As the United States erupts in protests and deep racial divides, many brands scrambling to show support and solidarity with the #blacklivesmatter movement find themselves facing scorn and vocal, “too little, too late” criticism.
We compiled a long list of brands stepping forward with donations, many to yet-unnamed “organizations supporting social justice”.
The only brand that has received widespread kudos is Ben & Jerry’s, which has publicly embraced racial justice issues since 2016 and has taken the time to educate leadership and staff on the issue. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the company was one of the few that was able to quickly and credibly take a public stand by issuing four specific calls to action.
Not sure how to help or where to start?
Below is a compilation of suggestions for brands from two black leaders when it comes to taking a stand on these critical issues.
From Dwayna Haley, SVP and practice director, brand innovation and impact at Porter Novelli excerpted from this article:
Educate yourself: There are so many reputable organizations and sites that can share the historical view of racism and injustice along with resources on the issues. Anchor your desire to get involved with the facts. Doing so will undoubtedly inspire organic integration with your brand. When problem solving, research and data are critical to our impact.
Start inside: Partner with internal DE&I champions to find solutions to creating a work culture that invites black people to show up whole, rather than playing the role that makes the organization comfortable. When recruiting, partner with organizations like Colorcomm, the National Black Public Relations Society or KLH & Associates. Intentionally build a strong pipeline of diverse talent for consideration.
From Vivienne Dovi, media executive at MediaCom, excerpted from this article:
Put your money where your mouth is: Talk is cheap. Speaking so strongly about injustice needs to be backed up with actions, and numbers do not lie…Over time, other funds will be created that need help, so the payout shouldn’t be a one-time thing. After all, racism has existed for centuries.
Don’t ignore your supply chain: Brands can start to make a difference by looking at the brands they work with across their supply chain – question what their values are and how they align with your brand. Start by actively weeding out companies that have problematic policies or do not speak out on racism, and seek to involve black businesses in the brand’s supply chain. In turn, the focus isn’t only on selling products but ensuring that the brand is tackling racism wherever possible.
We all can – and must – do better when it comes to social justice issues in this country.
We look forward to seeing new efforts and new resources dedicated to this critical cause in the weeks and months ahead.