Published on November 2, 2020
In the last 6 months many issues have been discussed, dissected and pulled to the top of the national debate, one of those has been race.
It has been 253 days since Ahmaud Arbery was murdered while on a run in his home in South Georgia, 234 days since Breonna Taylor was killed in her Louisville apartment and 161 days since George Floyd was murdered by police officers on the streets of Minneapolis, my home town. In the last six months there has been a concerted effort by companies, communities and organizations to revisit and amplify their policies on race and inclusion. As time continues to pass, the volume of those conversations and the sense of urgency have decreased.
As a Marketer, I am glad to see the Marketing efforts of Apple, Adidas, Coca-Cola and others prioritize diversity in their national campaigns. More of the campaign content and narratives show an increase in the representation of diverse groups (racial, economical, sexual preference, age). We saw Adidas rise to the top of the Culturally Relevant Brands list, due to their commitment to disrupt, create positive change and stand for something, among other criteria.
However, adding one or two models of color to an advertisement is not enough. Tokenism is not enough. There is still work to be done.
What more can we do to increase corporate impact on this issue? There are many layers, but here's just the start:
David Kelley, IDEO and D. School, teaches Design Thinking and the importance of Diversity when creating true innovation. Diversity in the team, diversity in roles of the team and diversity in the background of the team all lead to better results and more innovative solutions. That concept can be woven through every aspect of our approach to business. How can we add more diversity in all aspects of thinking and within an organization?
Your Commercial Footprint:
Vendors and support of vendors can make as much impact as the finished product. Who are you purchasing from? Where are they based? What communities are you supporting? As Marketer, you may also be using freelance staff, copywriters, designers or photographers. You can go out of your way to find vendors of color to bring their art and work forward while supporting your brand.
Supporting Your Community:
Many large corporations use labor forces made up of a high minority population, potentially making up a large percentage of the company’s total work force, and yet the systems and structure of the company often caters to an elite executive team. How can you give back to the community of your workforce through grants, college scholarships, education or employee programs that support giving money back into the community the company depends on?
Question the Status Quo:
Did you know that our election college structure, that we will put to the test tomorrow, was built 216 years ago around a debate that we continue today? Racial equality? NPR ran a story today about this history and the ties to slavery. There are so many things that we don’t realize are built on biases and injustice. No matter how the election results land tomorrow, or in the weeks or months to come, one thing is certain: we need a new definition and a new approach to almost all things political, community and global collaboration. We need reinvention.
This issue is still in its infancy, please help keep this conversation going, think about what you, your business, your colleagues and your industry can do to continue this dialog. There is more work to be done.
Please share how you and your team are continuing the conversation.