Marketing and #BLM

Marketing and the #BLM Movement: A Reading List

Almost daily, in the year of our Lord 2,020, it feels like our world is on fire.

My brain doesn’t know how to process each “new” crisis, even though these aren’t actually new; they’re just new to me. And not to mix metaphors, but sometimes it feels like I’m drinking from a firehose because I truly want to understand, as best I can, the world we’re living in—but there’s just so much for me to learn.

So all I can do is start.

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,
Rebecca đź’™


The push to redefine “good design” amid the Black Lives Matter movement

by Anne Quito for Quartz

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?

In the fight for police reform and abolition, design plays a key role

by Lilly Smith for Fast Company

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.”

Promises, Promises: 7 Risks of Performative Brand Allyship #BLM

by Katie Martell

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.

The Gaps Between White and Black America, in Charts

by Patrick Sharkey, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Yaryna Serkez

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.