With so much happening in the world today, it’s easy to get lost in the news or bury your head in the sand + avoid commenting altogether — but it’s important to consider that your audience may be looking out for your response. However, speaking out on social issues needs to be a thoughtful decision. We’ve talked so much about creating an emotional connection with your audiences + showing them what you stand for that we wanted to take a break from our regular One Thing Wednesday tips to provide some resources + thought starters for you. Brands are speaking out. From huge corporations to small local storefronts, brand voices are adding to the conversations happening around the Black Lives Matter movement — from the protests to police violence + racial inequality.
- Think about your ‘why’ + your reason for speaking out. Why are you making a statement? If you’re just posting because you feel like you have to or you want to get in on the buzz, people will see through you. You can offend or hurt your brand supporters + actually harm your brand. Be an ally + add value.
- Align your statement with your current values + mission. If your corporate culture could use some work, now is an important time to reflect + grow. Maybe it’s time to acknowledge your company’s weaknesses surrounding diversity, opportunity + growth.
- Educate yourself + use your channels to amplify others’ voices. Share social media posts from supporting groups + individuals, share educational videos intended to breakdown the complex issues of systemic racism + inequality, provide links to educational resources, share clean-up events in your city, etc.
- Adjust your marketing messages to what’s happening. You may need to pause some of your efforts to work on your internal policies + issues first or to use your platforms to shine a light on other narratives happening right now. It’s not ‘business as usual’ these days + you should be adjusting your efforts to reflect that in an authentic way.
- Have a zero-tolerance social media policy ready to go, so you have an actionable plan if you see racist remarks from your followers, employees, or other brand ambassadors.
- Avoid the impulse to consult Black employees, customers, or brand ambassadors about your marketing efforts or use the current events as a reason to promote them + their accomplishments. Despite good intentions, this is an inappropriate response that will turn off your customers + can damage your brand. As an ally, it’s up to you to do the research + emotional labor to educate yourself, your team + your customers.
- Follow your words up with action. Consider donating part of your profits to organizations + people doing the hard work in regards to breaking down systematic racism, like Black Lives Matter, NAACP + the American Civil Liberties Union. Or maybe your company could host a fundraising initiative to support a local organization or cause. Your customers will love to hear about this! Words often fall short without action.
- Be prepared for criticism. Nobody is perfect, missteps happen. The important thing is that you listen to the criticism, stay teachable, grow moving forward + remain true to your brand’s values.
However you’re moving forward, make your marketing messages intentional, thoughtful + action-oriented. Push your brand to better understand your target audiences, learn more about what matters to them + live your corporate culture + mission every day.