We were wrong.
This past Saturday, when timeline feeds were full of peaceful demonstrators in the streets of Arlington and Washington, DC, we posted a recent blog about Marketing in Phase 1. At the time we scheduled the blog it seemed right. We want to help local businesses create COVID appropriate messaging as they reopen in and regain/retain their customers.
But if COVID-19 has taught us anything in Marketing, things change. And nowadays, they change daily and often hourly. We need to step back on all messaging and ask ourselves, does it fit with the environment of this very moment? The carefully crafted message of yesterday may fall flat and seem tone-deaf in the light of the current moment of today. We never intended to come across as ignoring the outrage in our streets and throughout our community.
Where do we go from here?
Admitting our mistake is step 1. But the truth is, there are many mistakes by our society that have brought us to this critical moment in time. We have all played a part in creating a country with wide-ranging racial inequalities. Posting on social media or marching in the streets is not enough. We must be part of the change.
What Can We Do?
There are many ways that individuals and businesses can play a role in addressing systemic racism in this country. Many Individuals and businesses have stepped up to be a part of change in recent weeks. But, all action is not equal and consumers are seeing through actions which may appear hollow.
Simply talking about racial injustice is step one. But businesses need to do much more than that. The public is smart, and these actions need to be genuine and not for the sake of PR. Consumers are seeing through those companies that are leaning into the movement as a way to be relevant in this time. Increasingly, brands are being asked to “open your purse.” People want their beloved brands to support the causes that are near to their hearts not simply with a blackout Tuesday post or an email talking about racial inequality. They demand companies put money into the game too and support anti-racism organizations.
Not all companies are just riding this moment of time. Many are long-time community partners. One company, Levi Strauss and Company, announced they were making a $100,000 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for its critical work on criminal justice reform and racial justice. Additionally, the Levi Strauss Foundation announced a $100,000 grant to Live Free, an organization on the front lines of social justice issues. This is not just a one-time donation to meet the moment. Levi’s has been a leader in community issues. From their early support of the LGBTQ community to gun violence prevention efforts to their resource group for Black employees, Project Onyx, Levi’s is a consistent and reliable community partner.
What about Us?
As individuals, we have direct control over our own actions. We can choose to do better. We can choose to elevate the marginalized voices in our communities. We can choose to stand up for racial discrimination. We can choose to stop the spread of hate in our communities. At Arlington Strategy we are choosing to do better. We have to do better.
- Pause and listen to the voices that are active in this movement.
- Recognize there is much to be learned and work to educate ourselves.
- Amplify the voices of others who have been traveling this road for decades.
- Advocate for a media and marketing environment that reflects all audiences, not just white audiences.
- Commit to take action as a movement and not just as a moment.