In a year that started off with one of the most gruesome showcases of white privilege, it was almost expected for brands to come correct for this year’s Black History Month. However, things overall seemed rushed; brands weren’t ready, messaging wasn’t concise, and several just focused on internal engagement vs. external communications. As a marketer, I’ve been looking for a few to “make good” on their billion dollar commitments since the (public) murders of last summer…but many missed the mark as there seemed to be more money spent on talent fees for SuperBowl ads, rather than real research and investment for ongoing campaigns. So, how can you make sure to incorporate a smart, inclusive multicultural marketing strategy? Here are the first four steps needed to create an authentic campaign:
Step 1. Have leadership/C-Suite buy in.
If it is deemed as not necessary, or a way to “chill the feelings,” then you won’t have much jetway to launch an idea.
Step 2. Get support.
Whether it’s an agency, a consultant or an internal ERG (Employee Resource Group), get help so that you can ensure your messaging and tactics are effective and realistic. These brand champions also can share the load in creating the campaign before you present it to leadership.
Step 3. Know your audience and what you are inspiring them to do.
Whether you are highlighting BIPOC partners, employees and their journey in their careers, or doing a diversity recruiting campaign, imagery and messaging will be key and should exude authenticity.
Step 4. Be honest and make it measurable.
Many brands try to market to BIPOC consumers – particularly African American consumers- because of our buying power, media consumption, influencer engagement or ability to set trends. Come correct. If you know that you won’t be able to deliver on your promise, don’t make one. “Black Twitter” and the power of the social aggregation of our voices is real and more than anything, it will seem like fluff- in other words, it will seem like a halfhearted attempt at being “down” for the culture.