Companies and #BlackLivesMatter: truth or opportunism?

June 9, 2020

ig brands around the world decided to enter the social conversation about racism, sparked after the murder of George Floyd. A black man choked by a policeman who knelt on his neck for at least seven minutes, while he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach. The tragedy has caused a series of protests in the United States, as well as a commotion that has crossed the American borders.

This movement, named #BlackLivesMatter, has gained strength in the past weeks, and major players in the communications market are taking a stand. However, brands need to understand the problem of appropriating a cause like this.

Now more than ever, it is necessary to take a position on issues that are on trend, but to do it in the right way so that there is no misinterpretation.

Just doing a hashtag, changing a logo, sharing Martin Luther King’s quotes is not enough. How brands are advertising with black media and black influencers? How many black people do they have in the company? Are the wages the same? How much time and money do these companies invest in those who are close to the black community? Brand positioning must be something continuous, and not emerge just when the subject became a trending topic.

Check below some brands that are taking action in this period.

Nike made a video to take a side and encourage others to do the same. “This time, don’t. Don’t pretend there isn’t a problem in America,” says the company, which had already supported Colin Kaepernick in 2018. The football player was famous for kneeling during the US national anthem to protest racism.

Adidas, the biggest rival ratified the competitor’s speech by retweeting the video.

Netflix, owner of titles like “When They See Us”, which deals precisely with racism and police violence, also positioned itself.

YouTube pledged to invest $1 million in social equality initiatives. But it quickly faced criticism that its moderation efforts against racist content are historically weak. “Your hypocrisy has no limits,” wrote the media watchdog group Sleeping Giants in response.

Our biggest and most valuable advice for companies right now is: get closer, get together and above all, hire and give opportunities for initiatives that already exist to facilitate this communication between brands and the black community.

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