Business organizations operate in complex environments characterized by unique forces, such as changing consumer expectations, political forces, legal requirements, and social norms. Within the past year, many companies have appreciated the fact that the concept of equality will redefine models in unprecedented ways. In the United Kingdom and the United States, racial tension remains high following the unexpected death of George Floyd. This occurrence has compelled employees and the community to identify various strategies to address the longstanding problem of discrimination and support all people to achieve their maximum potential. Similarly, both established corporations and emerging firms have identified powerful initiatives to respond to this issue and remain profitable in their respective sectors. The purpose of this paper is to describe the ongoing Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and how Apple Incorporation, Colgate-Palmolive, and Johnson & Johnson are transforming their marketing strategies and social media approaches in support of this global movement.
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BLM Movement and Marketing Strategies
The idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guides business firms to engage in various activities that resonate with the demands of the targeted community members. Since companies accrue huge profits from their operations, this strategy is usually intended to guide entrepreneurs and stakeholders to give back to society and improve people’s life experiences (Carney 184). The BLM movement has emerged as a response to the injustices, violence, and discrimination that many underprivileged black individuals in different parts of the world have gone through within the past century (Elbaum 59). This malpractice has continued to exist despite the fact that many people acknowledge that racism is inappropriate and capable of affecting different victims negatively. Fortunately, many corporations have succeeded in implementing superior strategies to revolutionize their business models and be part of this agenda and reduce cases of racial discrimination at the international level. The three companies described below have utilized diverse initiatives to respond to the BLM movement.
Apple Inc. remains one of the most profitable technology companies in the world today. As part of its marketing strategy, this corporation has developed a superior model that tackles the problem of racism directly. First, it has launched a new campaign on its website that is intended to identify the problems of racism and guide different visitors or customers to engage in actions that promote equality (Lerman). Over the years, the company has been relying on its website and the Internet to attract potential buyers and inform them about the available products and online-based services. With the increasing number of visitors, this platform has become a new opportunity for tackling the problem of discrimination and condemning the death of Floyd and the recorded history of systemic racism (Lerman). Buyers in the United Kingdom and across the globe can visit this page to identify some of the new products while learning more about the predicaments associated with racial prejudice.
Second, Apple Inc. has launched several campaigns that are intended to inform different customers about the challenge of racism and how it has the potential to affect the future of human relations. For example, it utilized its Apple Music to support the Black Out Tuesday campaign that seeks to inform listeners of existing and new music on the social media platform about the challenges of systemic racism and ethnic inequality at the international level (Hurst). This strategy has managed to deliver positive results in different parts of the world.
Third, this corporation has extended its efforts to transform the way it markets its handheld devices and smartphones on different social media platforms. For instance, it has been relying on Facebook, Siri App and Twitter pages to inform followers and potential buyers about the new marketing strategies and how they seek to deliver the message of equality (“Apple’s Siri Now Has a Different Response”). The company’s Customer Care has been keen to provide timely responses and educate more customers about the new approach and how it will result in a better society. Consequently, the agenda will take more people closer to their social and economic goals.
Colgate-Palmolive remains one of the most successful manufacturers and marketers of a wide range of household and consumer products, including its Colgate toothpaste. In response to the BLM movement, this organization has made significant changes in its social media marketing messages and branding strategies. For example, the company’s managers announced that they were reviewing the name of the Darlie toothpaste. In China, many customers have labeled the brand as Darkie, a name that loosely translates to black people’s toothpaste (“Black Lives Matter Movement”). Although such a toothpaste brand has remained successful in the Asia market with market shares of 17 percent in China and 25 percent in Taiwan respectively, the company was keen to change the name and ensure that it respected black people across the globe (Cao). The decision to consider this strategy will make it possible for more people to purchase this product and eventually maximize profitability.
On top of the identified approach, Colgate-Palmolive has launched new campaigns on some of its leading social media pages, such as Twitter and Facebook. This timely move will address the problem of racism and how it undermines the experiences of the affected victims. Through such FunPages, the company has managed to identify some of the best approaches to promote equality and encourage people to support one another (Cao). This social media response has been intended to attract different people and encourage them to use its products. The decision to rename some of its brand names will be an important aspect of the current marketing strategy and eventually make it acceptable in different parts of the world.
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Additionally, the corporation is planning to remove the portrait of the black-colored man on the toothpaste package. This effort has critical since many companies are presently implementing similar initiatives in an attempt to revolutionize their strategies and support the idea of equality (Prance-Miles). This marketing approach is expected to work well and attract more people of African descent to purchase such products. Since toothpaste is a critical personal care product, the move will change and improve the Colgate brand at the global level and eventually make it a leading competitor in its industry. Similar changes will also be considered on the corporation website to ensure that more people are informed about the latest decisions and the willing to support the BLM movement.
Johnson & Johnson
Being a multinational corporation that operates in many countries across the globe, Johnson & Johnson has been keen to change its marketing strategy as a response to the ongoing BLM movement. Some of its leading products available in different parts of the work include Avucue lenses, Johnson’s Baby products, Neutrogena beauty, and skin products, Band-Aid bandages, first aid items, and Tylenol medications. Following the death of Floyd and the subsequent protests that have been recorded in different parts of the world, this global corporation has announced its intention to change its marketing strategy and support the concept of equality. For instance, plans are currently ongoing for this company to stop producing and marketing its “Clean & Clear Fairness line of products” (“Black Lives Matter Movement”). Johnson & Johnson presents them to the targeted customers as superior products that have the potential to whiten the skin and leave the user looking more attractive.
Additionally, the company has decided to stop marketing its Neutrogena Fine Fairness line of products that are available in different parts of Asia and in the Middle East. This decision has been made following the realization that many customers and employees are concerned about the message such offerings try to pass across to the potential users. The names and goals of such products try to indicate that fair or white skin is superior to a dark one (“Black Lives Matter Movement”). The ultimate message is that black people are inferior and unattractive and would only need skin lighteners to improve their appearances. The leaders of the company have acknowledged that the primary aim was to deliver beauty products that could meet the demands of specific customers without undermining black people.
Johnson & Johnson has launched new social media campaigns in the Asia-Pacific region to sensitize more people about the intended move and how it seeks to support its goals. The company intends to challenge the existing notions about some of its products and explain why it is planning to end such lines (Ad Age Staff). This move will encourage more people to live harmoniously and consider the importance of supporting and guiding one another. Such an approach will succeed due to the use of social media platforms and the company’s websites. Most of the visitors are being encouraged to present their views and ideas that can make the company more acceptable and eventually remain successful.
The idea of a sensitive marketing mix is evident in this organization’s new strategy. For instance, it has planned to review its line of products and remove those that do not seem to support the ongoing BLM movement. This initiative will encourage more people to purchase the remaining products and promote the idea of equality (Hurst). The company is also considering ensuring that all its products are available in different regions across the globe. This initiative will minimize some of the challenges that might emerge and encourage more people to support the initiative.
Key Observations and Recommendations
Marketing remains one of the most critical functions that dictate the performance of any business organization. Competent managers implement powerful strategies that resonate with the demands of their respective customers and ensure that they get value for money (Thomas 39). Currently, the ongoing BLM movement is a convincing reason for companies to review their products, change their business models accordingly and rely on several online-based platforms to educate more potential buyers about their initiatives and how they are willing to address the problem of inequality. The identified companies have succeeded in combining social media and their websites to inform their customers about the measures being undertaken to support the BLM movement. For example, Johnson & Johnson has relied on such platforms to inform more people about the intention to end some of its product lines that appear to discriminate against people of black color. Colgate-Palmolive has decided to rename its controversial toothpaste since many Asians identify it as a product for black citizens.
From this analysis, it is evident that companies should transform their marketing models by ensuring that their products promote racial justice and focus on the idea of equality. Corporations should also develop befitting messages that encourage more people to embrace unity and overcome the challenges of discrimination. Such business organizations should also be keen to rely on the power of social media platforms to communicate such changes and decisions while encouraging followers to purchase their products. The move to support the BLM movement should become a tactical strategy that is in accordance with the demands of the modern world (Carney 196). The consideration of these suggestions will guide companies to develop superior marketing models and utilize social media networks efficiently to achieve their business aims.
The above discussion has revealed that social media platforms are useful tools for companies that want to develop and sustain their marketing strategies. Since they have more followers, different companies have decided to rely on them to inform different followers and potential customers about their strategies intended to support the current BLM movement. The ultimate aim is to promote justice and address the problem of racial discrimination. In conclusion, companies that follow similar marketing and business strategies will become more sustainable, attract additional customers and remain profitable.
Ad Age Staff. “A Regularly Updated Blog Tracking Brands’ Responses to Racial Injustice.” Ad Age, 2020.
“Apple’s Siri Now Has a Different Response to ‘Black Lives Matter.” Live Mint, 2020.
Cao, Sissi. “Colgate Pulls Popular ‘Black Man Toothpaste’ in China, Ignites Controversy.” Observer, 2020.
Carney, Nikita. “All Lives Matter, but so Does Race: Black Lives Matter and the Evolving Role of Social Media.” Humanity & Society, vol. 40, no. 2, 2016, pp. 180-199.
Elbaum, Alan. “Black Lives in a Pandemic: Implications of Systemic Injustice for End‐of‐Life Care.” The Hastings Center Report, vol. 50, no. 3, 2020, pp. 58-60.
Hurst, Bree. “Brands Backing Black Lives Matter: It Might Be a Marketing Ploy, But It also Shows Leadership.” The Conversation, 2020.
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Lerman, Rachel. “From Wake Word to Woke Word: Siri and Alexa Tell You Black Lives Matter, But Tech Still Has a Diversity Problem.” The Washington Post, 2020.
Prance-Miles, Louise. “Colgate Palmolive Considers Rebrand of Darlie Toothpaste amidst Black Lives Matter Movement.” Global Cosmetics News, 2020.
Thomas, Dominique. “Black Lives Matter as Resistance to Systemic Anti-Black Violence.” Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, vol. 8, no. 1, 2019, pp. 30-45.