5 Ways Brands Can Amplify Black Voices
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Now is the time for brands to elevate black voices. After #BlackoutTuesday, many brands need to take action beyond just posting a black square on their social media accounts and continue to support racial equality.
Brand’s mission and values are important now more than ever. This is a pivotal time in history. Brands have to take a stand in an authentic and vulnerable way. Here are five ways that brands can amplify black voices both internally and externally to implement change.
Make a statement
The first and most time-sensitive initiative is for the CEO to make a statement in support of black lives matter. Brands that were swift in their action and recognized as leaders included Ben and Jerry’s and Nike.
In their statements, brands outlined actions they are taking to right the wrongs of the past and do better. Companies are also putting their money where their mouth is and donating to causes including NAACP, Black Lives Matter Global Network, Bail Funds, and many more. Brands that are highlighting their fight against racism find support with the masses.
Change comes from within. For brands to practice what they preach, they need to hire and promote black talent. Errick Page, Social Media and Marketing Consultant of Page & Co. Los Angeles, shares this sentiment, “It’s time for brands to make an explicit effort to hire more black people. Brands have to make an effort to ensure they value black leaders as members of the team. No one wants to feel like the diversity hire.
Brands have an opportunity right now to professionally nurture their black employees and are positioning them for success, to be able to move them up in the corporate organization. Too many black professionals are stuck in junior-level roles, barely ever making it beyond director. That’s a problem, and now is the perfect time to address that.” By creating a company culture filled with diverse talents and voices, this will have a positive impact on products and campaigns.
Continue social media conversations
With over 30 million Instagram users posting #BlackoutTuesday, there is more that brands can do on social media to continue these important conversations. Although brands will still need to promote their products and services, there are ways to keep discussing current matters. “You can still push out your latest product. However, you also have to dedicate time and posts to talk about social justice and not remain silent, shares Courtney Newell, Multicultural/Millennial Expert & President, Crowned Marketing & Communications. “Many brands are providing online forums for educational resources around social injustice, racism, and bias to create a space to share experiences and learn from others.” The possibilities are endless for brands on social media between going live or hosting virtual events to creating visual, shareable resources to provide their community with ways to support racial equality.
Work with black influencers
Influencer marketing provides brands and opportunity to tap into new communities and highlight black voices. Brands can find black influencers through searching hashtags on social media and direct messaging them or working with influencer agencies to find the right fit. Page expands, “If a brand does not have the resources to find influencers organically, I recommend working with the agencies that specialize in working with black influencers, which include: Cashmere Agency, Crown + Conquer, and Burrell. There is a black influencer for every niche you can imagine. It’s time for brands to broaden their scope while looking for influencers and make an investment in all ranges of the influencer spectrum. From elite to mega, to nano ––there are black content creators in every influencer range.”
The #ShareTheMic now initiative is a step in the right direction for diversity in influencer marketing as their mission is to, “Magnify black women and the important work that they’re doing in order to catalyze the change that will only come when we truly hear each other’s voices.” White female leaders like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Brene Brown are passing their social media accounts on to black female leaders including Bozoma Saint John and Elaine Welteroth for an Instagram takeover
Partnerships with different organizations allow for access to a broader community and skillset while aligning with a cause that empowers employees. Newell notes, "Partnerships can be with different organizations. We've seen a lot of partnerships with large organizations such as the National Urban League and NAACP as well as with local community organizations, where employees and even the CEO work together to show support, not just for black communities, but the community in general." By providing ways for employees to connect with the community, change occurs in big ways and small.
As consumers look to connect with and purchase from brands that align with their values, brands need to take actionable steps to highlight their support for change and equality.