Throughout the past two months, many brands have been using their platforms (and their dollars) to support anti-racism organizations and the Black Lives Matter movement. While a majority of these brands have remained silent in the past on similar issues, this time has been different. Millions of people have spoken out against the injustices inflicted on George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. People have also begun to challenge themselves, their behaviors, and the behaviors of those around them. They have started to educate themselves further on anti-racism, their own privilege, and the issues that Black people have been facing in America for hundreds of years—and brands have followed suit.
Take a look at these brands that are taking a stand against racism through social media campaigns that are both innovative and genuine, and the lessons you can learn from them.
1. VSCO: Black Joy Matters
Photography app VSCO kicked off #BlackJoyMatters with a global call to action, urging online communities to create, capture, and share their interpretations of Black Joy to social media through posting art, first-person videos, and/or photos across every social platform using the hashtag #BlackJoyMatters. Throughout the summer, VSCO will spotlight the submitted imagery and art across its social channels and within the Discover section of its app. The project’s goal is to use social media as a global call to action to archive and document the realities and spectrum of Black life, beyond (and inclusive of) the trauma—and to help the world see a more holistic picture of Black folks’ stories and joy through their own lens versus what’s portrayed by the outside world.
Why This Works: VSCO is taking what it does best (sharing photos) and using it for good—to share and amplify a more holistic view of modern Black existence, centered around Black joy.
2. Groupon: #PassTheMic
#PassTheMic is Groupon’s effort to transform its social media platform into an amplifier of prominent voices in Black communities. The brand is partnering with leaders in Black communities and allies for change—such as Dr. Jewel Jackson, Troy LaRaviere, Alexa Rae Caves, and Clarkisha Kent—and amplifying those voices to its audience of over 22 million social media followers. Our employees Jenn and Michelle, the hosts of the All the Social Ladies podcast, even got to interview Jori Evans who came up with the idea!
Why This Works: Groupon is putting power into the hands of people of color, and amplifying Black voices instead of speaking for them.
3. Postmates & Resy: Black-Owned Restaurants
In addition to a powerful letter and call to action from its CEO, Postmates reaffirmed its commitment to elevating Black voices by launching an important new collection in its app: Black-Owned Restaurants. These restaurants span more than 130 cities. Resy did something similar as well—the company shared a collection of Black-owned restaurants (with specific city-by-city guides), as well as lists of Black food writers to follow and Black food publications to subscribe to.
Why This Works: Postmates and Resy went beyond just words, altering and retooling their products and service offerings to help meet the needs and support Black and marginalized communities.
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Today we launched an important new collection in our app: Black-Owned Restaurants. Tag your favorite Black-owned restaurant below, so that we can continue to build this collection. We remain committed to elevating Black-owned businesses and their voices. Today we’ve launched in more than 130 cities and we’ll be adding more each day. Stay tuned.
4. Pernod Ricard: Crowdsourcing App
Pernod Ricard announced its plan to create a crowdsourcing app that allows consumers and brands to collaborate with one another to drive real change. Consumers can identify and report hate speech or content they find objectionable directly to brands and companies. Brands can then leverage their influence with social media platforms to help ensure the content is reviewed and removed, if warranted. The app will be an additional resource for individuals, brands and social media platforms to use in the fight to stop hate speech online.
Why This Works: The initiative is about giving consumers a voice, helping brands own their responsibility to hold social media platforms accountable given their influence, and ultimately creating a more transparent and positive world with an internet that is safe for all.
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Pernod Ricard USA stands firmly against hate and hate speech. As creators of conviviality, our mission is to bring people together to celebrate the moments that make life worth living, not to divide, deride or tear people apart. The #StopHateForProfit movement is demonstrating that brands and consumers want social media companies to take more urgent action. This is important, and it is why we are pausing advertising across all social media channels – not just Facebook – for the month of July. But the big question is: What happens August 1st? We need more action and more people within the broader industry to find more solutions. Today, we announce our plan to create a crowdsourcing app that gives you – our consumers and those affected by hate speech on social media – a tool for your voices to be heard when you see hate speech spreading online. The technology uses crowdsourcing to surface hateful speech at scale. Once identified by you, we will flag to the social media platforms to help ensure they can take appropriate action. This is a work in progress and will be developed in collaboration with technology partners. We are hoping to launch as soon as possible, aiming for mid-summer. We invite US and Global organizations representing other advertisers, media and social platform companies, as well all brands, big and small, to join us. Let’s work together to go #BeyondTheBoycott and stop hate speech on social media, bringing more transparency to our world, and ultimately creating an internet that is safe for all. More to come soon – including information on how you can get involved. For full press release, visit the link in our bio.
When it comes to social justice issues and movements like this one, it’s crucial for brands to understand what they can do to provide authentic value. But, before taking action, companies need to ask and listen to their communities about what is needed. Responding to something of this caliber requires more in-depth reflection, and far more than just a vague or one-off statement. So, take a page from the book of these brands if you want to make a meaningful impact. Invest in action, amplify marginalized voices, and use creativity to alter your product in a way that helps those who need it. It’s not easy work, and it may never be fully finished, but it’s more important than ever for brands to do this work—and to use their power, platforms, and resources to help employees and communities overcome these challenges and build a better world.