NAACP CCO, CMO Urges Authentic, Steady Progress on Racial Justice

It was arguably one of the most transformative moments in modern corporate communication. George Floyd’s murder prompted an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity and strenuous search for solutions to institutional racism in many board rooms.

I asked Aba Blankson, the NAACP’s chief marketing and communications officer, what has worked or not worked.

One of the most remarkable lessons learned, Blankson says, is the importannce of calibrating responses to reality.

While companies may feel enormous pressure to issue a major diversity announcement, tectonic shifts rarely work.

Instead, acknowledge what the company has, or, more importantly, has not done on racial justice previously.

“If you haven’t said anything before, be transparent about it. And [then] create a realistic plan and a timeline to hold [the company] accountable.”

Another lesson: Authenticity is essential in the DEI space. Customers, shareholders and stakeholders closely follow companies’ voices, visions and values. They will be among the first to point out a dearth of prior action.

Instead, acknowledge your fledgling effort and act accordingly.

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