Brands Need to Authentically Take Action for Racial Equality
Racism has always existed and often brushed under the rug by society, businesses and people. Companies with a real purpose-driven brand will need to evaluate how they function and run their business to authentically tackle racism bottom up and top down. This recent study by Edelman, featured in ADWEEK digs into our consumers' expectations of a brand across societal obligation, racial inequality, association with politics, gender and age. The obligation of what a company does is not only up to the CEOs but CMOs and marketers will have an important role to play.
60% of American consumers have relayed brands must invest in addressing the root causes of racial inequality and 58% want brands to educate the public. It will be essential for brands to take a stand by using their reach and messaging platforms to educate and influence the public. One might ask, "why does it matter what a 'brand' does?" It can be argued that brands have helped to shape our culture in many ways through advertising and communication platforms in what they say, where they depict it and who is representing the brand. Think popular soda brand commercials, like Coca-Cola or beauty brands like Dove with a diverse representation of people but then, many financial services often depict the financial expert as the homogenous suited man.
Brands have the ability to influence, educate and shape their communities. Some brands have already been engaged and are doing things to support and educate communities through strong Diversity & Inclusion programs, whether it is a balanced representation of race and gender or giving access to financial accounting courses, digital art applications or exposure to cultures through experiential events. Examples of brands doing this well are Raymond James with the launch of their Black Financial Advisors Network and Twitter with their #OneTeam initiative.
Launching actionable Diversity & Inclusion teams within a brand is a great start but let’s really get to the root of the problem and take action to help shape our communities moving forward. It begins with understanding your internal audience and educating them followed by your external audiences' perspectives and identifying ways to bridge the gap.
Tikka Solutions is a strategic marketing agency focused on branding, content, digital experience and MarTech across the B2B and DTC markets with a specialization on brand to human.