Amidst increasing social justice awareness, companies have come forward and taken a strong stance on matters that are important to them and their audience. One popular brand, Ben & Jerry’s, has put promotion aside as they use their voice and reach in support of the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM).
Their approach to activism in support of BLM seems to be one of the most authentic and direct out there, in terms of corporations. On their social media accounts, Ben & Jerry’s used their platform to express and share their views with their followers, which quickly circulated. Hosting an entire page on their main website to “dismantle white supremacy,” the brand lays out a series of four steps they urge our country to do in order to dismantle white supremacy and enforce equal protections and respect for all.
Why has Ben & Jerry’s approach to the movement come across as so authentic, vastly contrasting many other brand’s attempts to voice their support?
The company works closely with their partners Color of Change and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, allowing Ben & Jerry’s to be informed and honest in their communication on the topic. In addition, the company has an activism manager who works to ensure that Ben & Jerry’s is always using their voice for positive change.
In order to not only speak on positive change, but to encourage action as well, Ben & Jerry’s laid out a detailed and direct plan in response to the killing of George Floyd, allowing their audience to understand exactly what they can do in order to be a part of the change that must occur. This provides support from their brand, while also instructing anyone who is passionate about the cause to start now.
Secondly, Ben & Jerry’s is not slightly sprinkling their activism for the movement into their promotional efforts. They seem to be putting such promotion on the back burner, using their platforms to truly enact change for Black Lives Matter and encouraging others to follow.
The brand is launching a podcast that examines America’s history regarding race, while encouraging their audience to dismantle racism and white supremacy. The podcast is titled “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” and will explain, in six episodes, how legal discrimination has continued to limit people of color’s experiences and opportunities in this country. Each episode is dedicated to a certain time in history, and will explain that history’s connection to racism that is experienced today in America. The podcast launched episode one on September 15 of this year.
Lastly, the brand is not new to the fight. They have been aligned with BLM since 2016, and have been continuously fighting in support of the cause since then. The movement is a major aspect to the brand, and has become one of the main causes they have supported for the past few years. This is in stark contrast to the many brands who have just begun to recognize the movement.
Overall, Ben & Jerry’s is setting the standard for authentic activism in brands, showing that many others have a lot of work in order to measure up and to deliver honest, authentic activism efforts. Yet, brands must be aware that their internal practices must be in line with the cause in order to truly be authentic.