The Black Lives Matter movement has led many brands to want to do more in order to dismantle inequality, but knowing exactly how to take action can be difficult – a new report explores which responses are working.

When Insights agency Nimbly looked at the responses of 100-plus businesses, it found everything from “vague solidarity statements to complete overhauls of internal hiring practices”. 

The finding sparked the question: how should brands be responding in a meaningful way? To answer, the agency launched a study with 400 participants across the US, covering the gamut of markets, ethnicities and genders.

What researchers concluded is that the BLM movement has now reached a critical mass and is here to stay. What’s more, the movement is hugely popular – 73% of Americans say they support BLM and 84% think the attention the movement has received is either “here to stay for years” or “here indefinitely”. 

And brands can benefit significantly: 89% of people believe companies need to respond to BLM; and 90% of those asked agreed that when a brand they like publicly responds to BLM in a positive way, it increases their loyalty to that company.

But if brands get things wrong, they can expect their actions to backfire – 79% of people said brands should be prepared for a backlash if they use BLM to sell products, and 79% advise brands not to simply pay lip service to BLM because it’s politically correct. 

Response needs, most of all, to be authentic, says Nimbly. They offer a checklist to ensure brands achieve this.

Show understanding of the Why – show why BLM is important to your specific brand and how it connects with your values. 

Leverage a brand’s uniqueness – find the synergies between BLM and something unique to your company.

Be bold – bold responses show a brand is clear about its values and identity; avoid responses that are just going through the motions.

Think long-term – commit to long-term and “exponential change”. Continuous and consistent actions over time signal a brand’s commitment to BLM; also, invest in actions that compound over time, such as “placing people of colour in influential roles”.

Importantly, the report’s authors advise that what companies do should reflect what they can do – if not, the perception will be that a brand could have done more. 

Overall, the authors advise ensuring that any actions taken must be taken thoughtfully. When asked which is worse, 51% of people said, “A company trying to have an active, public response to BLM and unintentionally misstepping”, and 49% said “No response at all”.

Nimbly concludes: “Be humble about your mistakes (they will happen!) Know that you might be called out, but don’t take that as a sign to give up, use it as an opportunity to evolve.”

Sourced from Nimbly