As Black History Month 2020 comes to an end, we’re using our eighth and final lesson to remind brands, businesses, marketers and pretty much anyone who needs to hear it, to think about Black people beyond October.
Too often we see organisations jump on a trend without considering the long-term plan. That’s why the lessons we’ve shared in the past few weeks 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.
WHAT BLACK HISTORY MAKERS SAY:
“The Black historical narrative is being damaged by boxing it into a single month. Structurally, Black History Month needs to go beyond October so that it is less easy to dismiss. Brands which are willing to stand on the platform for the Black experience also need to have a plan beyond those 31 days.” - Greg Bunbury
“Your business doesn’t need to host an annual panel event. It needs to consider what its relationship is with Black communities throughout the year and how it can amplify this.” - Khalia Ismain
“Are you willing to engage in the issues facing Black people or just trying to be relevant for a month? If it’s the latter, then just sit it out. You’re not doing anything for us by posting a picture of Rosa Parks or an out-of-context quote from Martin Luther King Jr.” - Khalia Ismain
WHEN IT’S DONE RIGHT:
Spotify - Black History Is Now
During Black History Month, Spotify have used their platform to highlight Black artists who have made a difference during a challenging year, including new music content and updated podcast collections on their Black History is Now hub. Spotify has done well to build upon their existing (and year-round) hub to introduce new content, ensuring that it is accessible and engaging throughout the year. This makes their celebration of Black History Month feel more natural and seamless.
Typically, this is where we would point to a campaign which falls a bit flat on this particularly lesson. However, considering October is still going, it would be presumptuous of us to decide which organisations are and aren’t willing to learn from 2020’s Black History Month. What we do hope is that these lessons will encourage brands to reflect and respond to feedback with sincerity and a willingness to progress.
With that said, here’s a recap:
Lesson one - Plan ahead with your Black History Month campaign
Lesson two - Approach with purpose
Lesson three - Prioritise positive internal change for Black employees over external comms
Lesson four - Use your strengths to add value
Lesson five - Respect Black peoples’ value
Lesson six - Change the record
Lesson seven - Be open to being challenged and held accountable
Lesson eight - Think about Black people beyond October
If you’d like to discuss anything we’ve been sharing during Black History Month, we’re always happy to hear your thoughts. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org