Last week, a week in which – quite rightly – the news has been dominated by protests and demonstrations against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on Monday 25th May. Celebrities, corporations, news labels, sports stars as well as everyday users of social media have fuelled a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement, with many vowing not to post on their accounts on ‘Blackout Tuesday’ (2nd June) as part of an initiative to use time – otherwise spent on social media – to educate themselves and their communities on Black Lives Matter.
Brands and Black Lives Matter:
Without doubt, showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement is important and the sea of black squares across social platforms last Tuesday is testament to the powerful messages that can be achieved when we act collaboratively. Many have highlighted, however, that simply posting on social is not enough. We need to use the time to reflect on prejudices and turn our messages of solidarity into action. There are brands who – last week – have done just that. A standout example is gymwear retailer, Gymshark. Taking a stance and refusing to sit on the sidelines, the brand have donated $125,000 to Black Lives Matter and developed a range of initiatives to build diversity in their athlete roster and support their local communities. Glossier, too, have put their money where their mouth is, pledging $1 million to black resistance causes and black-owned beauty brands. Founder and CEO, Emily Weiss, announced that the brand would “stand in solidarity with the fight against systematic racism, white supremacy, and the historic oppression of the Black community.”
Gymshark and Glossier’s responses are important. They represent more than just solidarity on social media, they represent meaningful action. More can still be done, though. As highlighted in Campaign’s article on the movement, there are important steps brands can take to genuinely show that black lives matter, including looking at the set-up of an organisation (particularly within leadership positions) and making a difference offline.
However you look at it – whether expedited by the coronavirus pandemic or not – the retail sector is set for a shake-up.
E-commerce is booming and that only looks set to continue as more businesses look to tap into the opportunities of the D2C market. Snapchat are the latest to do so, launching its dynamic ads function.
Before long, in-home advertising opportunities will be the norm and – with smart-speaker purchases on the rise – Chinese brand Xiadou will be looking to engage with consumers at home with relevant, tailored and bespoke content.
Bricks and mortar stores continue to adapt to challenging circumstances and New Look, among others, are set to re-evaluate property terms with commercial landlords.
Finally, some good news for the travel sector as the EU announces its desire to open borders by the end of June. In addition, British Airways, EasyJet, Wizz Air and Ryanair have been names among the 53 companies that are beneficiaries from the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
Grant Shapps – Secretary of State for Transport – announced this week that face coverings will be mandatory on public transport and it seems certain that brands will seek to use this as an opportunity to build brand awareness in the coming months. Already, EasyJet have announced that they will be issuing comic book face mask covers to help ease children’s anxiety about flight rules.