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The Business How-to Guide to Black History Month

How should brands and businesses approach Black History Month to ensure that it is inclusive by design?

The story

The Black Census recently surveyed 30,000 Black people across the U.S. to find out what issues were top of mind and what solutions they might embrace. The number one thing the census captured from Black people was that nobody ever asked them what they think and what they care about most. 


Our plan for Black History Month - in the UK at least - was to change this. 

What we did

In the run-up to this year’s Black History Month, The Unmistakables held a conversation with Black history makers about the steps that brands and businesses should be taking before activating anything in the name of the month.

Our contributors were made made up of Black talent including Chanté Joseph (social creative, writer and host of How Not to be Racist’ on Channel 4), Greg Bunbury (creative consultant and digital marketer), Khalia Ismain (founder of Jamii, Black British marketplace), Tanya Compas (award-winning youth worker + founder of Exist Loudly), and Rhammel O’Dwyer-Afflick (director of communications for Pride in London).

 

Together we aimed to answer one big question: How should brands and businesses approach Black History Month to ensure that it is inclusive by design?
 

Lesson 1

Plan ahead with your Black History Month campaign

Without the right planning, essential voices are more likely to be left out and content runs the risk of being viewed as tokenistic.

Lesson 2

Approach Black History Month with purpose

A powerful campaign is backed by purpose and a genuine desire to support Black communities and the diversity within them.

Lesson 3

Prioritise positive internal change over external comms

An external campaign which ignores potential issues on the inside does not do what is required during BHM.

Lesson 4

Use your strengths to add value to Black History Month

Focused on your own strategy, values, resources, platforms, products and services to be able to work out what you can offer Black communities.

Lesson 5

Respect Black peoples' value when planning  projects

Any act of reaching out to Black communities can be completely undermined if you don’t reach out with respect - or a budget.

Lesson 6

Change the record during Black History Month

Consider other types of events that could lead to more productive and meaningful conversations with Black professionals.

Lesson 7

Be open to being challenged and held accountable

Far better than staying silent, use this time to get feedback on past comms, and create the right space to be challenged

Lesson 8

Think about

Black people beyond October

Too often we see organisations jump on a trend without considering the

long-term plan.

Remember...

These lessons are transferable throughout the year. Use the guide as a reference point for future campaigns and comms to ensure you’re taking the steps needed to create something with credibility and longevity.

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