As multicultural marketing experts, our perspective is more crucial now than ever. Between Black Lives Matter (BLM), corporate America’s response to social justice and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This summer, our team has been able to participate in dialogue about, and cultivate conversations around, these pressing issues, including this recent Vanity Fair feature with our CEO, Alexis Davis Smith discussing brand responses to the BLM movement.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, a highly respected publication with such reputable journalism, was a surreal experience for Smith. She was honored to be a chosen resource for this article, especially because she was able to intersect her passions -- the communications profession and racial equality.
“It’s funny being on the opposite side of the interview; because usually I’m the person that’s coaching the spokesperson. It’s interesting to give a reporter 45 minutes of your time and see three lines in the final article, because you always have so much to say,” says Smith with laughter, when asked about her experience speaking to the journalist. Following up with her team about the interview, she added, “It is important to remember that corporate America is a microcosm of America. Racism exists outside of company doors and it doesn’t disappear when you walk through those doors everyday. What we inside corporate America is reflective of what we see outside in America.”
“It’s going to take work for all of us to address it and eventually eradicate it, but you’re not going to undo 400 years of oppression in a short period of time. It takes real commitment and time from all of us.”
Over the past two months, our CEO has also been invited to be a guest or commentator on several media interviews and blogs. In case you missed them, check the links below where she:
Earned Media Rising discusses the importance of diverse storytelling and diversity in the newsroom
GPB News comments on why corporate responses to BLM are at this moment in time
Veracity highlights how brands should be proactive in responding to social issues and not wait for an uprising to be conscious members of the community
The Agency 100 shares tips on how agencies can recruit and retain diverse top talent
While our CEO has had these essential conversations, we have also been leading groundbreaking conversations with featured guests on our podcast, “Culture and Convos.” In June, we virtually gathered Dr. Joy Harden Braden, clinical psychologist and founder of Therapy for Black Girls, and Cheryl Grace, SVP of Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement at Nielsen for “Black Coins + Covid,” (E2). Hosted by Alexis, the three explored how the Covid-19 pandemic mentally affects Black consumers and how marketers should sensitively and strategically approach the demographic. One important takeaway from this episode: before you spend your money with a brand ask yourself:
Are they spending money in my community?
Are they hiring people who look like me?
Do they portray my demo in a positive way?
Do they sell their product/service in my neighborhood?
And, if any of the answers to these questions is “No”, do I still want to do business with this company?
Following, we had a thought-provoking conversation with Nsenga Burton, PhD., the award-winning writer, professor, and editor-in-chief of the Burton Wire, and Andrew McCaskill, Culture Analyst at All Def Digital & Culture and Economic Contributor at SiriusXM about what responsibilities brands have to their consumers in this age of fighting racial injustices “Protests + Politics,” (E3). A takeaway from this convo: brands cannot be afraid to speak about social justice issues, plus consumers value brands that show concerted allyship efforts as opposed to brands that are quiet about issues of inequality.
Culture & Convos, the podcast, streams on
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and SoundCloud.
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