As the mass protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death across the United States continue, companies and brands are facing the difficult question of how to address this highly sensitive issue. Speak out and risk striking the wrong tone? Or stay silent and risk being seen as indifferent, cowardly or even worse, complicit.
Regardless of the fact that any statement on the protests and the underlying issues of race, inequality and police violence is going to alienate a significant number of people, silence may be the worst option, as people value brands that aren’t afraid to take a stand. That’s one of the key takeaways from a recent Morning Consult poll on the matter, with the other being that action speaks even louder than words.
When asked about which actions would make them see brands more or less favorably in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, setting up a fund for small business impacted by looting and donating to community cleanup or social justice causes were among the most universally approved courses of action. Making a statement supporting police AND protesters (however that might work) was also seen as a good option by many, while voicing support for either side split the respondents in half. But while taking a stand might be divisive, the survey shows that staying silent is not a real option for brands.