The country is in turmoil with all the protests in response to the police killings of George Floyd. Although what is happening may seem like a social justice issue, brands cannot afford to stay on the sidelines.
Your customers, especially your black customers, want to know if the brands they are spending their hard-earned dollars on are theirs. They want to know that your brand cares about them as people, not just as customers.
Business is all about belonging. And in order for your customers to feel that they belong to you, you must demonstrate that you see them, you value them, and that you care about the basic issues that concern them, especially when they are being treated unfairly.
As I & # 39; I've been looking at my social channels for the past week, and I've seen a lot of comments like this one that capture the critical need for brands to talk:
This is the first time in my life where I started to highlight it social to see which side of the story the people I follow stood on. Those who say nothing, that's all I needed to hear. It may not be business as usual when there is an assault on a segment of the American population.
Don't stay still. Here are some quick guidelines to help you answer this growing movement and the central point of the story.
. Recognize the injustices that have negatively affected the black community.
We cannot begin to solve the problem until we realize it exists.
Target did so by naming them whose senseless killings happened in recent months
The killing of George Floyd has unleashed the agitated pain over the years, as did the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We say their names and keep a long list of others in our hearts.
Just say the words "Black Lives Matter." Here's how Netflix did it on their Instagram feed:
2. Be clear on what your brand does.
Posts in social media and email are a great first start – but they are just a start. You must demonstrate your commitment to make positive changes by working to promote the cause.
Donating to organizations that do important work to eliminate systemic racism, ensure that your own workforce is diverse, and make inclusive marketing efforts are all great ways to do it.
Later Media, a social media planning app, was very clear on the steps it takes:
3. Be part of the ongoing dialogue.
People – both your team members and your customers – are hurting. One of the ways people work through their pain is by talking about it.
Provide opportunities for employees to talk about what is happening. When you try to make or limit these conversations to forums outside your workplace, you communicate that your company is not a "safe room" to deal with such important issues.
Then encourage and engage in dialogue. Hold space for those connected to your company. Be active in comments and discussions on social media. Organize team meetings. Whenever possible, provide resources to help your team work through this.
In his email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook encouraged communication:
For all of our colleagues who have been hurt right now, please know that you are not alone and that we have the resources to support you. It is more important than ever to talk to each other and find healing in our common humanity. We also have free resources that can help, including our employee assistance program and resources for mental health that you can learn about on the People page.
In these conversations, you do not need to advise anyone or position yourself as an expert on racial inequality. You do not have to offer solutions to all of society's problems. Just asking how people are feeling, creating a safe environment for them to share, and then listening to what they have to say can do wonders. Being empathic will almost never steer you wrong.
And if the call asks for answers you don't have, it's okay to admit it. Commit to working together to figure things out, then follow through.
Both your team and your customers need you to talk and lead. Do not let them hang, otherwise they will just leave you.