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✊ #BLM & What We Can Learn from Brands Taking a Stand ✊ | The Blogsmith #119

Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman
Hey Listies,
I apologize for my inconsistency with getting out last week’s newsletter. I was prepping for a trip home to visit my mom and just completely ran out of time!
This week, I want to address the unrest that’s driving change in our nation and around the world.
Specifically, I want to focus on what we can learn from brands who are taking a public stance on the matter.
I’d also like to acknowledge that I have a limited perspective of the right way to show support right now and I’d love for you to share your thoughts — whether you agree with what I’m saying here or not.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that I have a lot to learn. But I’m willing to put in the work.
Also, if you don’t agree that #BlackLivesMatter, then you probably won’t be interested in the rest of this newsletter (or following me moving forward) — but I encourage you to give this a read, regardless, in hopes that it helps you move forward with a more open mind.

#1: Ben & Jerry's: Strength in Consistency
Right now, we’re seeing a lot of brands feeling the pressure to make a statement — any statement — to create a positive association between what they stand for and being on the right side of history.
But a lot of these efforts fall flat when it comes to the hypocrisy of saying one thing and historically doing another.
Looking at you, NFL.
Where were you when Colin Kaepernick was taking a knee as a peaceful protest against the systemic racism we’re trying to change now?
Obviously, it’s better to be more like Ben & Jerry’s, where it’s part of their brand identity to consistently and forcefully speak out when they see things that are wrong.
All that said, it’s not too late to make speaking out against what’s wrong in the world a part of your brand strategy.
Just make sure that you’re showing up consistently — not only when you feel pressure to make a statement.
#2: Airbnb: Deferring to POC Employees for Insights
Remember when we got daily emails from brands about their ever-changing COVID-19 policies?
Those were the worst.
While the intention of keeping people in the loop was good, the execution was clunky and resulted in more than a few unsubscribes that wouldn’t have have otherwise happened (at least as far as I’m concerned).
We’re now seeing a resurgence of these policy update emails.
Here’s the issue:
I don’t care about what your historical policies have been.
At the end of the day, they haven’t worked. What America is experiencing right now is a complete systemic failure.
Something’s gotta change.
So I love instead seeing updates like this from Airbnb:
Airbnb was smart enough to realize that they needed to involve POC employees in their efforts to communicate what they’re doing moving forward.
Who else could be better equipped to understand what needs to change?
[Download the guide referenced in Airbnb’s email above.]
A sizeable donation to organizations that will help the people who need it most helps to reinforce that Airbnb is willing to put their money with their mouths are.
Like Airbnb, I also made a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which exists to fight for racial justice. I’d encourage you to consider likewise making a donation to this organization or another on this list.
#3: Nickelodeon: Change Starts with the Youth
I was really impressed by Nickelodeon leading the charge with driving education and change with America’s youngest constituents.
The time of the outage directly corresponds to the brutality experienced by George Floyd (may he rest in peace that he was not afforded in his final minutes) in the series of events that pushed our nation to the edge.
Nickelodeon’s Declaration of Kid’s Rights helps reinforce that all our lives are important and have value — with no privileged class outranking any other human being.
#4: e.l.f.: Shutting Down Business for the Day
Beauty brand e.l.f. really put their money where their mouth is by completely shutting down business operations on #BlackoutTuesday.
We’re all struggling amidst the COVID-19 economy, but e.l.f. decided that taking a stand was more important than whatever money or business progress they could’ve made that day.
Although I’m sure they’ll get some good PR for this bold stance, I’m just as sure they’ll also be losing customers who disagree with the #BLM movement.
Then, on the other hand, we have the beauty brand tarte, who has successfully demonstrated the fact that pre-scheduled marketing campaigns are just not a great bet right now:
There is so much more to say but I’m running low on time today while I try to stay present with my family while I’m visiting Chicago.
So I’m going to end this week’s newsletter by sharing a few more resources while I listen and learn more in the week ahead:
Instead of the other links I usually share at the end of this newsletter, today, I’d like to let the main message stand alone.
Thanks for reading. As always, I’d love to continue the dialog — just hit “reply” if you have any thoughts to share.
Until next time,
Maddy Osman, The Blogsmith
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Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman @MaddyOsman

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