Marketing and the #BLM Movement: A Reading List
Below is part of a mini-diary of some of the resources I’ve been reading about the Black Lives Matter movement and how we, as marketers, can affect change.
These diary entries, and many others, are also posted on LinkedIn, in case you want to follow along there. Not every article will be posted here, but if you’re a marketer (or leading your brand’s marketing), these are great ones to start with.
Thanks for learning with me. 💙
Evie Cheung believes introducing “friction” into technology at the right moments is useful (especially as it applies to addressing pre-programmed biases in tech products).
I agree. And all the more so because it’s been shown that designing for speed can sometimes foster injustice and reinforce bias.
As creators of things for the web, let’s ask ourselves: How can we slow users down with the good purpose of allowing them time to think critically about their next action?
This article by Lilly Smith not only addresses important issues, but it also highlights the importance of design to effectively share these issues.
It’s an important read for everyone in marketing, design, social impact … (okay, maybe everyone should read this) … so I won’t ask you take from it what I did. Instead, I’d like to give you the chance to read and ruminate on your own.
I will, however, share this quote from the article:
“The simpler and catchier a design, the farther its message spreads. This isn’t a new idea. In 1964, Marshall McLuhan penned the phrase ‘the medium is the message’ to suggest that the form of communication is actually more important than the content itself, since the way messages are communicated affects how users receive them—and the type of vessel you choose can even convey a message of its own.”
As a marketer, I’ve been getting lots of questions about the Black Lives Matter movement. “What do we say? What do we do? What are others doing?”
If you’re a business owner, please read Katie Martell’s post. (Heck, even if you aren’t a biz owner, read it all the same.)
My advice is: Don’t ask your consultants, or even your staff, to develop your company’s position for you (although they can help with wording and sharing your message).
As the business owner, you must develop this for your company. It’s your privilege and responsibility to effect change … and lead.
I admit it: I’m kind of a data viz nerd.
It’s not because I can actually create any of these amazing visuals. The reason I drool when I see these unique representations of complex data is because I know how powerfully and clearly they communicate important trends.
For example, many of us already know that “a defining feature of American inequality is that the nation’s most pressing social challenges are disproportionately concentrated in black communities” (quote from linked article).
But do we really KNOW it? Do we feel that pit in our stomachs when it hits us just how huge that divide is?
Words can lose their meaning quickly, especially if there are a lot of them to sift through to get to the point. But data visualization helps us SEE the message we are meant to receive.
“If we know, by using certain language, we’re disinviting certain people from that conversation, language isn’t doing its job.”
Words matter. Please read (or scan, if you only have a minute) to be reminded of commonly used words and phrases that hurt deeply.
As we’re heading into the holiday season, many of us (including myself) may be attempting a few crossword puzzles during our downtime.
Before you find your lucky pencil (or pen, for those who actually excel at crosswords), check out this post by Michelle McGhee that takes a look at representation and inclusivity in crossword puzzles.
You can read a bit about the study’s methodology, and you can even do a mini-puzzle to begin asking ourselves if the people in crossword clues and answers represent the people who could be solving them.
I really, really loved this article by Anne Helen Petersen. So many things resonated with me, but what really took hold were the author’s pointed cultural observations about the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.
My sisters and I also grew up on these books, but I haven’t read them in decades. What I remember most are the characters and idyllic homestead-ness of the stories.
What I don’t remember are the implicit and explicit cultural implications. I’m super motivated now to reread these stories as an adult through a very different filter.
A favorite quotation: “But there also comes an age when you can actually analyze and process what literature is doing, instead of just where the plot is going.”
I so appreciate that Petersen is able to illuminate the need to see a beloved story through a different lens yet also communicate that it’s okay to retain the good memories created from our past, such as me enjoying reading these stories with my mom.
We have to become comfortable embracing both the good and the bad, or else we’ll never grow and see the world as it really was, is and is becoming.