How Brands Can Show Up for Black Lives Matter

Slide 32
4 min readJun 4, 2020

Hey there! You are likely reading this because you are a brand or organization that wants to show your solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Maybe you’ve already posted to your social media that you support the movement but you’re quickly realizing that you need to take real action and you’re wondering where to start.

We believe brands have the power and responsibility to use their influence for good and now is as good of a time to do so. So let’s get started.

1. Acknowledgement

This step will likely be a little painful, but it’s super important for the rest of these steps. Your brand or company functions in a capitalist system that is inherently exploitative of Black people and other minorities. It’s also important to acknowledge that racism is not new. Just because it is topical now, it doesn’t mean you can ignore the centuries of racial injustice that lead up to this moment. Even though you yourself may not be overtly racist, our industries were built on top of systemic, institutional racism and it’s important to understand your current role in this machine. Understand you have work to do. Racism isn’t going to go away overnight or even after the protests stop, get ready to roll up your sleeves.

2. Educate yourself

  • Do your research: Find out about the movement behind the cause you want to support. How long has it been around? What is the history of it? Who are the major players involved? What other brands have joined or attempted to join? It’s really important to have context so you can find out what is most helpful.
  • Listen: Talk to the Black community about what’s important to them. How do they want to see action? Follow Black profiles on social media and see what they have to say about how their allies can support their movement.
  • To keep this article as short as possible, here is a great Black Lives Matter educational resource (things to read, organizations to support, how to be a better ally, etc)

At this point, it’s ok to publicly acknowledge the work you are doing on social media to keep your consumers informed — however we’d recommend waiting until after you’ve started step three.

3. Take action

Change doesn’t come in one step. It takes a lot of moving pieces. Here is a variety of ways you can back up your words

Make a donation:

  • This is probably the easiest way you can help. Here are some organizations you can donate to: Black Lives Matter, ACLU, Advancement Project, Citizen Now. if you’re already making donations, consider matching employee donations as well.

Implement inclusion into your workplace:

  • Yes, if you are going to tell the world diversity and inclusion are important to you, it better be important enough to actually show up in your organization.

Create a diverse and safe workplace:

  • Hire a diverse workforce. Make sure you’re promoting Black employees. This seems obvious but, sometimes it is not.
  • Facilitate diversity education and spaces for Black voices to be heard.
  • Develop practices that encourage inclusion and understanding, empower employees to listen and have open dialogues in order to retain a diverse workforce (Check out Awaken for awesome workshops).

Give employees space to heal and time off to process and/or take action.

  • Especially now, your Black employees likely might be experiencing psychological trauma. Allow them the time and space they need to process and recover. This includes but is not limited to: time off, reduced work loads, extended WFH policies.
  • Don’t just give your employees paid time off to vote, encourage them to use it.
  • Encourage employees to attend demonstrations in support of the movement. You can even help organize! Demonstration and protest is a critical part of the American experience and everyone is entitled to participate.

Advocate for Black representation in your marketing materials

Partner with like-minded organizations who take action for the movement

  • Vendors, media outlets, influencers, other brands, agencies, charitable organizations, etc. Take it a step further and choose vendors that are Black-owned businesses.
  • Collaborate with Black creators. Tell Black stories. (Again, representation matters)
  • Offer your platform to causes or organizations for free to promote their movement. If you have advertising space, donate it.
  • Allow nonprofits to use your offices as a meeting place.

Direct consumers to take action

  • You have an audience, mobilize them. This is not just saying “we stand in support of…” This is asking your audience to take a specific action to forward the cause. Sign petitions, donate, volunteer, call legislators, etc.

4. Take a stand

Good job so far! Most brands have actually been great about letting the world know that they support the cause. We strongly recommend that you take some action before declaring your support.

NOTE:

PR isn’t our speciality, however, we strongly recommend that if any Black people critique your social posts or declaration of support, thank them for their feedback and take it seriously. Don’t get discouraged, defensive, or delete or hide their comments. You are participating in their cause, and use this as an opportunity to grow and show your respect for the movement.

Likewise, if there is something we missed or could do better, please let us know, we’re still learning too.

Slide 32 is a marketing agency with a conscience. We believe that the best marketing a brand can do is contribute to their community. We’re here to help you connect your marketing efforts to create a real positive impact. Connect with us here.

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Slide 32

Slide 32 is a marketing agency with a conscience. We help you connect your marketing efforts to your community to create a positive impact. https://www.slide32.