CSR: Does Your Brand Take a Stand?

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

This year we have seen an increased number of brands speaking out and taking action against racial inequality and injustice. No longer are companies releasing a generic PR statement in condemnation. In a study done by IPSOS and Edelman earlier this year, 60% of consumers stated they believe brands should publicly speak out on systemic racism and racial injustice. Consumers are placing greater emphasis on social responsibility when deciding which brands to engage with. 

Setting the bar high on taking action, some Noetic friends and colleagues are great examples of how to “walk the talk,” putting actions behind their words to condemn racial injustice and violence: 

  • Lumina – Supporting their mission, “to prepare people for informed citizenship and success in a global economy,” Lumina has actively worked with partners since 2017 to “pursue racial and economic fairness.” In response to the racially motivated shootings in Charlottesville, VA, they granted more than $2.5 million to improve conditions for students of color at universities and colleges worldwide, increasing dialogue about racial injustice in everyday life. In 2020, they have committed $15 million over the next three years to Lumina’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, “the beating heart of our work is a commitment to achieve racial justice and equity.”
  • Nike – At the forefront of brands taking action against racial injustice and inequity, Nike has infused their efforts into its DNA. In 2017, it launched the “Equality” campaign focusing on how sports can break down barriers. In 2018, Nike signed Colin Kaepernick to be a brand ambassador after facing criticism for kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016. Despite the criticism and calls to boycott Nike for supporting Kaepernick and social justice issues, sales increased, and its brand has strengthened in the two years since, according to a Harris Poll. Known for its “Just Do It” slogan, Nike flipped it to “Don’t Do It,” releasing a one-minute video in May 2020 focused on race. Over the last five years, it has invested $417 million to drive a positive impact worldwide. It also announced another $40 million over the next four years to support the US’s Black community on behalf of Nike, Jordan, and Converse brands.
  • The Mayo Clinic – Known for its world-renowned healthcare, The Mayo Clinic is taking strides to eradicate racism and improve diversity and inclusion across its campuses. As a ceremonial gesture, they closed the Plummer Building Doors, symbolically closing the door on Racism. This gesture of closing the 4,000-pound bronze doors has only been performed 11 times since 1992. This year, Mayo announced they would be investing $100 million over the next ten years to address health disparities across the country and internal equity initiatives from recruitment to technology.