Youth marketing agency Livity was not alone in watching in awe as the globe came together in support of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. However, the agency was aware that the conversations across the industry had been encouraging but so far that’s all they were – conversations.
Purpose has been the marketing buzzword for the past few years. Brands posted messages of solidarity with black people but that was not enough. These performative statements and virtue signalling that have become the norm are no longer an option. Quite simply, they lack authenticity. Real visible action needed to be taken.
Key campaign objectives
Inspired by Luvvie Ajayi Jones’s #ShareTheMicNow initiative in the US, #BrandShareTheMic is a call to action for brands to support UK Black talent that is being ignored and underrepresented across the industry in all sectors. It is a visible action designed to showcase the spectrum of standout Black talent by magnifying their voices on Friday July 3.
The idea is simple – it will see young Black creatives and activists take over brands’ Instagram, programming content for the day – fully supported by the Livity team and its next-generation network.
Campaign process and execution
Brands and their platforms, with the ability to command attention and drive real change, hold power. It’s a power that has a purpose. And that can, and should, be used for good. Taking action is a necessary thing for a brand to do right now.
The #BrandShareTheMic initiative gives brands and the agencies that support them a platform to facilitate real change. It provides them with the opportunity to really stand up and facilitate change and to be part of a coalition that is prepared to centre and magnify Black voices. Those whose talent will create inspiration, ideas and understanding for their communities. Pledging their support for the #BrandShareTheMic initiative is a simple, powerful statement that they truly believe that #BlackLivesMatter.
But, let’s be clear, not for one single moment do we believe that this is the deepest single action that they could take towards racial injustice; that it is the most profound, or the longest lasting. It is a simple idea – to see young black creatives and activists take over brands’ Instagram, programming content for one day. The 3 July is only the beginning. It’s one day, but it’s the first day of doing better to drive change.
Creativity and innovation
Livity believes in action and driving tangible social impact. That is why community action is at the heart of the #BrandShareTheMic initiative. However, it is not expecting that all the brands that have joined the #BrandShareTheMic coalition will have their houses in complete order. But what the initiative provides is a definitive first of many actions that they can take to work towards serving and representing the black community authentically. For those involved, it stimulates positive conversations around other actions and changes they want to make. And that collective and consistent action is what will lead towards the greatest change.
Livity has had an extremely positive response from brands across all sectors. In just two weeks from announcing the initiative, Bloom & Wild, CoppaFeel!, Depop, Freeda Media, Kate Morross, Living Proof hair care, Lovehoney, Murad skincare, Rankin, REN Clean Skincare, Spotify, TALA, Universal Music UK I Globe, Vita Coco all pledged their support for the #BrandShareTheMic initiative.
Rankin was the first to put his hat in the ring, because like the other brands he realised there was nothing to lose, and actually a lot to gain. Although submissions are now closed for the first #BrandShareTheMic coalition, Livity is working on an even bigger coalition for round two.
To address inequalities and injustice, brands – along with the creative industries that support them – must put their words into action.