In the wake of George Floyd's murder, corporations are now faced with a pressure to have a stance on social justice. As a result, corporations have created emails, print ads and TV commercials to explain to the world their stance and approach to our current state of the world. Consumers see messaging developed straight from the corporate communications department laced with buzz words of "diversity," "racism," "social justice," and "task force." Unfortunately it is a miss.
Corporations need to understand the value of the Black dollar and develop genuine grassroots efforts. Nielsen Media Research reported that in 2017 Black people spent $1.3 Trillions and have projected that in 2022 Black people will outpace all other ethnic groups with $1.5 Trillion in spending. This spending will be deliberate. Black people are conscious consumers.
Black consumers are WOKE and understand the value they play in our economy. The corporate response has to go beyond trendy messaging. Corporations must have concrete measures in place that will avoid insensitive messaging and off-colored initiatives. New strategies have to be firmly based in the fabric of your company. Here are some initial steps for immediate consideration:
• Board of Directors - Your board of directors should reflect the corporate culture of having credentialed and qualified Black people on the board of directors.
• Marketing & Communications - It is not enough to have a Black person working in the communication or marketing dept. That person still may not feel comfortable expressing the truth without an uncomfortable recourse. You need to have a Black owned Marketing & PR company fully integrated in every initiative and strategy.
• Beyond the Statement - A corporate statement has to provide actionable items that speak to how you will commit to change. What are your actionable items? Is this through: pro-bono work, dollars committed to philanthropic organizations with deep roots in the community, partnering with philanthropic organizations like the NAACP or the Links, Inc, and/or identifying a Historically Black Colleges and University to donate to like the largest - North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University.
The Black conscious consumer is alive and well. It is in the best interest of every corporate executive to understand this, if not by heart then by bottom line. Long gone are the days of the overlooking missteps and forgiveness. The Black conscious consumer understand the power of their dollar and will act accordingly.
Jessica Garrett Modkins is the founder of the Miami-Based award-winning firm Hip Rock Star Advertisement, Chairwoman for Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce Communications Committee and Executive Director for the Miami Chapter of ColorComm.