You’re not racist, we get it. Well, we get that you desperately want us to think you aren’t racist. Those hollow emails proclaiming your support for the Black Lives Matter movement only get you so far. But it’s a confusing time. You’re being asked to confront your own unconscious biases, your own actions in systemic racism, and a bigger system that’s made you feel like somewhat of a puppet when you really think about all these things.
You’re trying your best, but unfortunately, the Black community deserves more. They have lived within this system we are only just waking up to their entire lives. That means you may need a crash course to catch up and be the supportive force you want to be. Here are some helpful guidelines for your company to use when putting content into the world during the Black Lives Matter movement according to Marketing Exerpt and Former Chief Media Officer at Mondelēz International Bonin Bough.
Do make sure you have actions behind your sentiments. While compassion goes a long way, feeling really deeply for a movement doesn’t actually further the movement. If you say you stand with BLM, then your workforce better show it. Your team picture should represent your consumer base. If it doesn’t, then your statement of support should be followed by actionable items your team is taking to create more diversity and inclusion on your team. If you’re profiting off of the money of the Black community, while not offering them equal job opportunities you’re doing something wrong.
Do seek out training for employees. When things have always been done a certain way it’s hard for some people (looking at you, Boomers) to change their way of life. Bring in an expert on diversity training to explain things like unconscious bias, microaggressions, and racial injustice. It’s hard to move a company forward when you’re not all on the same page.
Don’t think BLM or racial equality is a trend. Their fight isn’t going anywhere. It’s been around for hundreds of years. It did not become trendy because of a viral video. More white people joined the fight because they exposed (possibly for the first time) to how unjust the system truly is. We are waking up and no one is going back to sleep.
Don’t treat it like a trend either. A lot of companies rushed to release statements of support with no actions or with immediate one-time donations because they thought it would look good now and be forgotten later. Work to make real change within your company, your industry, and the entire system that supports you. Instead of rushing to save face, do some real self-reflection, find places you can improve and work to implement new systems that will make lasting change.
If we treat the BLM as a lasting force we can develop a more equal business world. If we shoo it away because it’s too hard for us to deal with, it may never reach its full potential. What you choose will do all the marketing your company deserves.