We hear the people, but what about brands?
Many organizations were quick to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020. While this received plaudits from much of the public, media, and government, others were skeptical of perceived opportunism.
But do Americans, and Black Americans in particular, care if brands do or don’t speak out? And, from the brand’s perspective, how does this impact on consumer behavior and shopping habits?
Over two thirds of Americans (68%) say that it is important for brands to speak out about racism, rising to almost eight in ten Black Americans (78%).
Brands speaking out about racism is significantly less important
for White Americans (55%), with over two in five saying that it is
not important (45%). A similar gulf in opinion is apparent between young and old Americans. While over eight in ten 18-22 year old’s say that it is important for brands to speak out about racism (83%), this falls to just three in five of those aged 55+ (59%).
Three quarters of Americans say it is important that brands commit to racial justice, diversity, and inclusion (75%), with almost
half of Black Americans saying it is very important to them. This is
significantly higher than people of other races. This commitment
is also significantly more important to urban areas, than rural or
With company activity, or lack thereof, being focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives, political affiliation unequivocally becomes a large part of consumer perception.
One in three Americans say a brand’s contribution to political
campaigns affects their business with them. Although, over half of
White Americans say it doesn’t affect their business (54%), as
opposed to Black Americans (44%).
Overall, there seems to be consensus amongst consumers that
brands aren’t doing enough to promote equality. Two fifths of Americans say that brands are doing a little to promote equality (41%). Almost a quarter feel that brands aren’t doing anything
or much at all (21%). Crucially the bigger problem appears to be that one in four Americans don’t even know what brands are doing to promote equality.
What becomes apparent in our data is that knowing where your brand stands when it comes to racial justice and systemic problems is important. While brands should tread carefully to avoid opportunism, it is clear that avoiding such topics may impact their bottom line.
To learn more about perceptions of racial inequality across the US, click here to download the 2022 BLM report: Re-energizing the conversation.