Jumping on the brand-wagon
To truly connect with a community, it takes more than a single blacked out Instagram tile or rainbow logo once a year, yet many still find themselves guilty of jumping on the brand-wagon.
Whether you consider Marks and Spencer’s LGBT (lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato) sandwich to be a misappropriation of Pride or not, many consumers found themselves unable to reconcile the introduction of capitalism, through a meaty-filled pun, in a month celebrating the self-affirmation, dignity and equality of its community.
The recent Black Lives Matters protests also drew every brand and organisation together to join the global conversation, but how many will still be driving change once the voices quieten?
In truth, social media is a vast and vocal mob. And like all mobs, when the streets are alight, it is easy to be sucked into rally cries. Most brands enter these debates for the right reasons, but without a plan of action, it can often serve only to exacerbate the ongoing cycle, leaving consumers to question, whose awareness were you really raising?
So, how do brands make a difference and ensure their words are not hollow?
Many organisations have cited reform in the representation and positive promotion of diversity and equality within their structures. But brands must also reflect on their own creative processes and the marketing of their products. Understanding the conscious and unconscious bias we all have within ourselves will allow brands to consider the impact their marketing will have on those around and avoid the exploitation of causes and cultures.
The Royal Society of Science recognised within their own practices the unavoidable presence of unconscious bias. To ensure the findings they publish and share are scientifically robust and have the widest perspective possible, they created principles which allowed them to track any bias that may impact findings.
The principles are as follows:
· To deliberately slow down decision making
· Reconsider reasons for those decisions
· Question cultural stereotypes
· Monitor one another for unconscious bias
It is through the questioning of ourselves and each other that we can encourage debate that will broaden the depth of our statements, and ensure cultures are nurtured and maintained, not capitalistically mined.