A major new WARC report compiles insights and learnings from prominent Black voices in the marketing community with the aim of helping marketers navigate the challenges of addressing racial injustice and leading with purpose.

Guest edited by Kai D. Wright, Columbia University lecturer, Ogilvy Global Consulting Partner, author and Founder of The Blacklist 100, the WARC Guide to brand activism in the Black Lives Matter era highlights eight key takeaways for marketers.

1. The US is moving toward a majority-minority culture

According to US Census data, in 2014 minorities made up 38% of the country, but by 2060 they will be in the majority at 56%. US marketers should no longer default to white culture, while non-US marketers should note the call for better representation is present in many markets; lessons from the next wave of brand activism will be relevant globally.

2. Black Lives Matter is bigger than messaging, affecting how brands operate internally and externally

It is not just a multicultural issue – it’s a human rights issue, and one that goes far beyond posting a black square in protest on Instagram. For some brands, confronting racial injustice is new territory, but other brands came prepared. What they share is a strong brand purpose and often a history of addressing social issues.

3. Addressing racial injustice is a business imperative

More than a third of consumers have taken action based on a brand’s approach to combating racial injustice, and they influence others to act in the same way. Especially in younger demographics, people say they will vote with their wallets and voices in terms of what brands they purchase.

4. Brands need to accept discomfort and be prepared for polarization in addressing racial inequities

Consumers firmly want brands to show solidarity but are torn as to pace and scale. According to PSB Insights, there is clear polarization around how brands are seen as “responding to the current conversations and protests around racial injustice”.

5. Ads that reflect diversity work

A global analysis of over 11,000 ads on Kantar’s Link platform showed ads are more likely to get viewers’ attention and be remembered if they feature people from diverse backgrounds. They’re more enjoyable and involving – and they show sales benefits.

6. A brand purpose, alone, is not enough

Purpose only works when brands show true commitment and willingness to change. Visa, Levi’s and P&G are committing to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Visa is reviewing progress every quarter.

7. Media budgeting is overwhelmingly skewed toward the general population

Only 6% of all US media spend of the total $480bn per year is geared toward minority groups. Brands need to act on bringing more equity to media investment.

8. Consumers prefer concrete action

Consumers prefer community investments and internal diversity, over donations. Research by WARC and Wunderman Thompson shows that of 1,006 adults surveyed in the US from Sept 3-9, 47% of Black/African American versus 32% of the general population want brands to change current internal practices and policies.

Guest editor Kai D. Wright describes the WARC Guide to brand activism in the Black Lives Matter era as “quick-start foundation for ethically activating Black Lives Matter to be relevant among, and resonate with, diverse communities by creating a new growth imperative based on their empowerment”.

A sample of the WARC Guide to Brand activism in the Black Lives Matter era is available to download here. The full report is available to WARC subscribers.

To complement the Guide, WARC will host a webinar on October 27 with Monique Nelson, Chair and CEO at UWG and Kai D. Wright entitled Marketing to Multicultural Consumers Now and in the Coming Majority-Minority. You can register here.

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, WARC has joined forces with Cannes Lions and industry bodies to partner with the HBCU Business Deans Roundtable in the US to support future Black marketers, as well as partnering with the Black Cultural Archives in the UK to produce the video series Hidden Figures: A look at Black British Marketing & Design (released on October 15). More information is available here.

Sourced from WARC