Actions speak louder than words. Instead of simply posting about racial equality and the importance of lifting up Black creatives and industry leaders, actively show what your brand is doing to take a stand. Simply pushing out a single-post shoutout for Black History Month on your social media channels and calling it a day will no longer do. We are now in an age where the pressure has increased for brands to not only recognise but tackle social justice issues in their day-to-day business operations.
Brands that are doing more than ticking the box and actually incorporating meaningful action into their marketing activities set a great example for how to go above and beyond tokenistic shows of support. Do more than just talk the talk; here are some brands that are actually walking the walk when it comes to lifting up the black community and showing their support for racial justice all year round.
Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s have been vocal about their support for Black Lives Matter since the Ferguson unrest in 2014, well before #BLM became a trending hashtag. Outlining their support in a lengthy statement, the ice-cream brand encouraged people to recognise the imperative need to tackle “systemic and institutionalised racism”, highlighting racial injustice as “the defining civil rights and social justice issues of our time”. Stepping beyond a tokenistic approach to celebrating the Black community, Ben & Jerry’s stood proudly in allyship and were not afraid to get political. Their statement declared: “All lives do matter. But all lives will not matter until black lives matter.” Putting social justice before their brand’s reputation and not being afraid to rock the boat make Ben & Jerry’s stand out from the crowd.
Tik Tok kicked off Black History Month on their discovery page by displaying their #MakeBlackHistory campaign and revealing its inaugural Black TikTok Trailblazers list. Celebrating Black excellence and honouring Black creators, Tik Tok is using Black History Month as an opportunity to pass the mic to Tik Tok’s Black content creators.
According to Wearisma Data, the hashtag is already receiving 16M Total Engagements, showing how these actions are driving engagement and traffic to Black content creators. In fact, American singer-songwriter Todrik Hall received a whopping 102% engagement rate on his TikTok video mentioning the hashtag and Black History Month. Engaging with BHM in a way that both shows support for the cause and simultaneously provides a platform for Black content creators sets a good example for other brands to follow.
In fact, TikTok have taken their campaign even further by bringing their commitment to diversity from the online sphere to real-life this BHM, scattering billboards shouting out Black content creators all across the streets of London with the hashtag #thisisBlack. Here, @itsjustnife stands proudly in front of her billboard, thanking TikTok with the tag #HappyBHM.
Spotify is marking Black History Month with several guest-curated playlist takeovers, including images from Black photographers as cover art, as well as new playlists and podcasts. Pushing out content that educates the wider community as well as amplifies Black content creators rightly engages with Black History Month as an opportunity to pass the mic, instead of stealing it.
Thinking Beyond Black History Month
Ultimately, the most important lesson for brands to learn is to be considerate, authentic, and transparent in their approach to Black History Month. If you are celebrating BHM, think about how your strategy actually acknowledges Black history or provides a viable platform to the Black community rather than just jumping in on the trend to avoid criticism.
Remember that ensuring your approach aligns with your brand values as well as considering whether your strategy can be implemented beyond BHM is essential when thinking about how your brand can take authentic action when conveying a commitment to diversity. So, this BHM, think further than October and reassess what diversity and inclusion mean to your brand every day of the year.