During recent years, it’s become increasingly popular to show support for social justice movements, and it’s reached the point of hitting the mainstream. Besides our family members, friends and colleagues, corporations have started taking space in these social movements. As a result of today’s social climate, companies are scrambling to express their allyship by releasing social media statements, ad campaigns or temporarily fusing the movement’s typography with the brand.
A majority of companies that show support for a social movement are doing it just to improve their brand image. In the past, companies almost never got involved with any causes in fear of receiving backlash, but now that being considered a “woke” individual is suddenly trendy, companies might be enticed to take a stand in return for receiving good press by the media and their consumers.
Advocating for an important cause such as women’s rights or Black Lives Matter is completely meaningless if senior leadership positions are filled by very low percentages of both women and Black people. Taking a quick look at companies’ higher ups and how they treat employees depending on their backgrounds can expose how little they actually care about the problems they supposedly want to help fix. What’s the point of showing you care if you aren’t implementing any permanent changes to improve the situation?
Another issue is exploiting movements themselves. Notice how every June, Pride-themed products are sold. They use the symbols not just for products but for marketing campaigns, too, presenting the brand as an accepting entity. In reality, they are profiting for the sake of aesthetics. It’s funny how, on July 1, all the rainbow-colored logos suddenly change back to normal and the Pride-themed products are for sale — like clockwork.
On the other hand, those media releases can help send a widespread message and raise awareness, which is a great thing. Exposure can push more people to learn and care about a cause.
Companies are using social movements to their own advantage, making profits and receiving positive press. We as citizens must question why powerful companies don’t take progressive measures to solve the problems our society is facing. There’s so much more they can do besides glossy marketing.