As we reflect on the events that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement just over a year ago, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of continuing to be advocates for social change, not just in the heat of the moment but always. If the events of 2020 showed anything, it’s that brands with a platform have a responsibility to advocate for pressing issues that are affecting marginalized groups. As a result, we are sharing how brands can continue to use their platforms to fight for social change in a way that is genuine, meaningful, and evokes action from their audience.
Put simply, vague statements in support of Black Lives Matter are performative and disingenuous. Brands who put out simple statements with no substance might have thought they were in the clear from criticism, but that was nothing further from the truth. Users weren’t shy to call out well-loved and established brands like Nike, Disney, and Amazon for the lack of representation in their staff or past racist behaviors. People want to know that brands are knowledgeable on the issues concerning marginalized groups. Therefore, brands like Ben and Jerry’s who continue to spread information and resources on their website and social media succeeded in helping the movement beyond performative activism.
Brands have resources that can help affect social change. Whether it be money, talent, or a following, brands can use their resources to take action. In 2020, 60 percent of American respondents said brands needed to use their marketing dollars to advocate for racial equality.
If your company is criticized for racist behaviors or tendencies, the last thing you should do is be silent. As the events from last year taught us, being silent is being complicit. If you or someone close to you is called out for racist behavior, speak out publicly against it and share how you will be taking action to implement change in the future. Social change can be made possible by using our voices.
Understandably so, the events from last year resulted in many brands realizing the responsibility they have to use their platforms for advocacy. That being said, 2021 gives us no excuse to stay silent. Marginalized communities still need our help, support, and resources to gain equal rights in our country. Advocacy evokes more change if it is a continuous effort rather than a temporary one. We encourage you to continue to stand up and speak out on the issues that matter to you to see change happen.
Grova Creative is a woman, minority, and veteran-owned agency headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, and works with clients all across the United States. If you are a business or organization seeking help with advertising, marketing, branding, messaging, marketing, strategy, website development, or other creative assets, visit grova.com.