Consumers expect Black Lives Matter actions, not talk—why aren’t brands communicating plans?

by | Jul 9, 2020 | Public Relations

Brand statements supporting the Black Lives Matter movement are appreciated by Americans, but they ultimately believe actions speak louder than words—a new survey found that 73 percent say it is important that BLM-related statements they receive from brands, nonprofits, and other organizations, are not only empathetic, but are followed by measurable action.

The research, from omnichannel comms solutions firm Mitto, examines consumers’ sentiment toward the way brands and organizations have communicated during the Black Lives Matter movement. And while three-quarters want to see more supportive actions from brands, a significant number (38 percent) say brands are falling short in their communication around the BLM movement—and the number rose to almost two thirds (60 percent) among Generation Z.

Consumers expect Black Lives Matter actions, not talk—why aren’t brands communicating plans?

Source: FaithAction.net; Illustration by Sacrée Frangine

Where are communications missing the mark?

Nearly one third of Americans (29 percent) don’t think they are getting the information they need so that they can best support and take part in the BLM movement—suggesting vital information has been drowned out. Mitto’s survey found that simple communications are vital to the cause: 71 percent of Americans ages 18-24 agree that they are more likely to take action around BLM issues when they are sent a direct text with details and links.

“With movements like the powerful efforts to improve racial injustice by BLM in the U.S., consumers expect brands, nonprofits and other organizations to share transparent and direct communication around what they are doing to help, as well as how others can best serve their communities and country in the upcoming months and beyond,” said Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto, in a news release. “It’s clear that Americans experienced information overload initially and organizations should keep it simple when engaging people moving forward—think short, at-your-finger-tips communications that gets the important information across.”

Consumers expect Black Lives Matter actions, not talk—why aren’t brands communicating plans?

How brands handle communications around the BLM movement matters

More than half (53 percent) of Americans say they are unlikely to buy from a brand in the future if they have a negative perception of brands’ communication during the BLM movement. This sentiment is strongest with 18-24 year olds (61 percent) and women (52 percent).

Also, 87 percent of Americans who make donations believe it is important that an organization regularly follows up to communicate up-to-date information on their part in the movement and how the money has made a difference.

Additional key findings include:

  • 87 percent of Americans that participate in protests or other forms of spreading awareness, find it important to be directly alerted around protest locations or time changes.
  • 64 percent of Americans think it is important that they continue to receive communication around how to support the BLM movement in the following months.
  • When it comes to information around the BLM Movement, Americans are most interested in knowing:
    • What progress nonprofits and advocacy groups have made through donations (46 percent)
    • Actions companies have already taken (44 percent)
    • Where nonprofits and advocacy groups stand on the issues (44 percent)

These findings are based on a Pollfish survey of 1,000 Americans. The survey ran on June 15, 2020.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter