Do More than Break Your Silence, Take Action

Nidia SerranoJun 18, 2020

Just one month ago, the country’s focus was on a pandemic that took over a hundred thousand lives. Today, everyone’s attention is on a global march against racial injustice, one that’s igniting a need for change in all of us.

With protests erupting in the US and around the globe, brands have become increasingly vocal about their support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a drastic change since the movement’s inception six years ago. But consumers want brands to do more than break their silence. They want brands to enact meaningful and lasting change both in and outside their companies.

As a marketer, you’re probably trying to find a way to show your brand’s support for the movement, but don’t want to come across as opportunistic or out of touch. Or perhaps you’ve declared your solidarity and don’t know how to move forward. We know from previous Pandora studies that Black Americans and other communities of color have been craving meaningful support from companies for a long time. Now is the time we all listen and employ tried and true strategies to ensure our efforts go beyond the surface.

Steps to making meaningful and lasting change

Know your audience Do your research to understand the racial and ethnic makeup of your consumer base. According to Nielsen, Black consumers and consumers of color represent more than 50% of the overall spending in key product categories such as dry vegetables and grains, baby food, personal soap and bath needs. Understand what’s inspiring or keeping these consumers from using your product or service, and be ready to alter your offering to address their needs.

Heal from past mistakes Some brands have had a rocky history with communities of color, especially the Black community, while some have not spoken to these communities at all. If you’re one of those brands, make sure you repair that relationship and heal. Admit where you’ve fallen short and what your company will do to fix it. Go beyond one-time commitments and identify long term solutions, then outline the internal and external policies that will make these solutions tangible and sustainable.

Walk the talk Be proactive about showing Black and other communities of color that you care about them, but don’t expect or demand their praise. If you’re a brand that has made valuable contributions to the communities you serve, find ways to amplify those efforts to maximize your impact. You can start by donating to causes, but you can also lobby for changes in and outside your industry.

Be Inclusive For decades, multicultural marketing experts have advised brands to be more inclusive in their marketing approaches, but many brands have been very slow to react. Consumers want to see their lifestyle and culture represented in ads, but the industry continues to under-represent them. Ensuring racial and ethnic representation at every step of the marketing process is the first step. Revisit your marketing strategy and ask yourself, are my communities of color seeing themselves in these ads?

Diversify your approach Messages of solidarity have become very templated, and consumers have learned to see right through them. Be authentic and find creative ways to show your support so that your message stands out.


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