In 2020, the murder of George Floyd made an impact as more than 20 million people came out and participated in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The #BlackLivesMatter movement started in 2003, but in 2020 leading brands and businesses came out to show their support for racial equality and social equity.
However, claiming that you support a cause is not enough unless your claim is backed by a solid strategy and real impact. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, businesses must use this chance to create an authentic, long-term branding solution that is focused on community, social equity, justice, and equality.
Why is it important to align social equity in your brand messaging?
As a brand grows and welcomes new people, adds new teams, and scales new strategies, it becomes very significant to stay aligned with their brand’s core messaging. Whether it’s your website, your social media, content strategy, or marketing strategy—honing one message is very important.
With the increased focus on community relations, diversity, equity, and inclusion, businesses are taking initiatives to create a diverse workforce and provide opportunities to underprivileged people and communities. To enhance their reach and impact, leading companies are set to align social equity in their company’s message, vision, branding, and marketing.
If you are a growing brand or business, how can you align social equity in your message across all platforms? In today’s article, we will share actionable steps to get you started.
1. Understanding your Community Issues & Needs
Branding is all about becoming a brand of top choice, and to become a favorite brand of the people, your branding must be focused on the community where you operate. Whether you are a local brand or a global business, identify prominent issues in your community and learn how you can help.
Chances are that you must be already participating in community programs. Analyze your partnerships to ensure that they support diverse populations including minorities, women, LGBTQ, and disabilities.
As a brand, you can support education, health, financial support, or partnership programs that align with your brand’s positioning.
2. Start with a Clear Message
If social equity is one of the fundamental values for your brand, it should be acknowledged throughout your brand’s story. When crafting your brand’s message, it is important to ensure that social equity is a part of your brand’s mission, vision, values, and brand story. Moving on, it should be included when designing any outreach or marketing strategy for the brand.
3. Aligning your Workforce
Initiate educational programs and encourage your employees to participate in community outreach partnerships. It is not easy to align a single message among the members of your workforce. From CEOs to interns, from sales to marketing, from HR to auditing department- everyone working with you and your brand is an advocate of your brand message.
Assuming that the employees you hire will learn about your brand’s message by reading the literature you provide, can be a big mistake. It is important to make sure that the message is deeply rooted into the matrix of your brand, and that your workforce fully aligns with and inculcates it daily.
For this, having regular workshops, educational programs and seminars can help. Another great way is to offer incentives to those who participate in your community outreach programs and display their understanding that social equity is an integral part of your brand’s mission.
4. Create Room for Open Dialogue
Saying that you support a social cause or believe in equality and equity is not enough. This should be a living and thriving part of your company culture. To begin with, businesses must ensure that they hire a diverse workforce. Moving on, they must provide a safe environment where people can raise voice about any acts of social injustice and engage in an open dialogue.
How Leading Brands are Doing it?
Amazon—The leading e-commerce group, Amazon donated $10 million to organizations supporting equity and social justice. In a company campaign to combat social inequality, employees from 33 countries raised $8,5 million. The company matched the donations made by its employees and donated to 12 organizations including NAACP, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and UNCF.
- Disney—The Walt Disney company aligned its standing against social injustice as Disney Channel, Disney XD, and other Disney affiliates declared their support through social media. The company also aired an educational video commercial with a strong message. In this 30-seconds video, Disney displayed a strong message that it stands with ‘humanity’, ‘solidarity’, and ‘justice.’
- McDonald’s— As the riots increased, and more and more people came out, the restaurant showed its standing locally and globally. From showing that they support the black community through signs and statements, franchise owners honed on the brand’s message locally. Likewise, the brand used ads globally to show that, “we stand for them and any other victims of systematic oppression and violence.”
These examples show how brands use various strategies on multiple platforms to show their standing and position for a social cause. As a brand, you have a social responsibility to support and raise a voice for those who need it. Your brand’s efforts to show empathy and support equity can help you get connected with your community. It also helps in humanizing your business standing and makes you a trusted and reliable choice of your customers.