Anti-racism: how brands should position themselves

August 3, 2022

On May 25, the murder of George Floyd, a black man from Minnesota, United States, generated a wave of protests around the world, resurrecting the cry for justice of people who are affected by racism, unfortunately present in society. In recorded footages, a white American police officer is kneeling on Floyd's neck, who repeatedly said that he was unable to breathe.

That said, the purpose of the article is not to talk about death itself, which was certainly disastrous (access the full story in this link for more information) and a coward act, but rather to show how brands and personalities should and can take a stand before to this situation.

Let's start with a clarification: if you have a company, should you express your opinion in these cases? It depends. Of course, a fact like this generates indignation, revolt, protests and a lot of movement in the social networks and press. But, first of all, we must think about the audience we are talking to on the company's channels, what will be the purpose of this communication, if there really is a reason to position the company and how the it will be done.

Of course, big and small brands must raise awareness and support causes, but this must be done with all the planning and care, with the help of the communication and marketing team, so that there is no noise and its positioning is not a shot in the foot, generating a subsequent crisis. We have created some paths your company can follow that will, in fact, help turn the tables and make an impact on society.

1 - Broad strategy

First, consider your broader strategy before going around crazily filling your brand profile with “Black Lives Matter” or anti-racist phrases. And when we talk about strategy, we are not saying here how much your company will have in the long term, or in terms of relationship with the public. Let it be clear that here we do not want nor do we aim for conversion, but for positioning and intangible value. Does it make sense, at the moment, for you to simply position your business on social media with a black background photo? What value will this add and show to your audience? What are the attitudes you and your brand, such as branding and identity, are taking so that black lives really matter?

North American brands such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Under Armour, NFL and other great sports brands have positioned themselves united, showing that they are against racism. Historically, these brands show themselves in this way and allocate amounts of their profits to entities with this social nature, in addition to using diversity in all their communications.

Large conglomerates have also demonstrated concern on that matter. YouTube and Twitter, for example, changed the color of their logos to black and the first company declared that it was allocating a million dollars to support entities that fight social injustice.

So, more important than just positioning yourself, is making a difference. Bear in mind that attitudes will always be worth more than words.

2 - Be detail oriented

Just sharing a black photo is not enough when we talk about a brand. You can even fall into the graces of websites and portals that reported and registered not so good positions from companies around the world. Be original. Otherwise, your message falls into common sense and can be used for any other situation or positioning. So be specific, detailed and, in addition to showing your support, tell your followers how you are acting behind the scenes.

3 - Look within and make changes

While Nike has received a lot of praise for its positioning and global campaign, it has also received criticism due to a posted link showing the composition of the leadership and marketing team: all white. A recent survey by Spencer Stuart showed that only 14% of CMOs are from different origins and only 1% of CEOs are black.

In other words, if your company is overwhelmingly white, it is time to look inside and, in addition to supporting, donating resources and being anti-racist, modifying the company's culture, organizing the internal affairs to then position itself, giving examples and, as already said, several times, making a difference.

4 - Admit your mistakes, acknowledge, apologize and do better

All businesses, brands, companies and conglomerates have a past and more than that, they are made of people. So, having kept silent in the face of some previous situation, not having positioned itself in the right way or having made a mistake regarding the cause discussed at the time does not prevent the brand from now admitting the failure, repairing the damage and changing its culture.

Recognize, for example, the way your company dealt with racial issues, say that the internal positioning changed based on a whole awareness and twists of concepts that are and remain rooted as absolute truths in the conscious and subconscious layers, lasting, sometimes, for generations. Admit it and now change, engage your audience, make your followers also with you and change the world.

5 - Stand your ground and keep your promises

Anti-racism, or any other engagement of your brand, cannot last only when the spotlight of the entire media is focused on a certain event. It should, in fact, be part of your company's culture. Also do not forget to fulfill what was promised. After the subject cools down, social networks, your audience, customers and followers will charge.

Would you like to know how to position your brand in the best possible way? Contact us!

Rick Garcia
Sócio-diretor | Publicitário
Em sua carreira atendeu empresas reconhecidas internacionalmente, destacando entre elas a RPC (afiliada Globo), Fundação Banco do Brasil, Claro, Oi, Cyrela, THÁ, Jandira Alimentos, Chef Vergé e Bem Me Quer.

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