13 June 2024
BLM support impacts: Negative backlash

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Understanding How BLM Support Impacts Companies and Brands

In recent years, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has gained significant traction, advocating for racial justice and equality. However, new research published in Marketing Science sheds light on the negative consumer impacts that companies and brands face when aligning themselves with BLM. The study, titled “How Support for Black Lives Matter Impacts Consumer Responses on Social Media,” delves into the repercussions faced by businesses that publicly support BLM initiatives.

The study highlights that companies that have shown support for BLM experienced a decline in consumer social media engagement, as evidenced by a decrease in the number of followers and likes on their platforms. Additionally, these companies encountered an increase in negative commentary through social media posts. This suggests that while outwardly supporting BLM may have positive intentions, it can lead to adverse consequences for brands in the eyes of consumers.

The Impact of Bandwagon Effect on Brands

One key finding of the research was the identification of a “bandwagon effect” that negatively affected brands when they aligned with BLM while simultaneously engaging in self-promotional messages. This phenomenon suggests that when numerous brands jump on the BLM support bandwagon without genuine commitment, it can result in consumer backlash. The study underscores the importance of authenticity and sincerity in brand support for social justice movements like BLM.

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According to Yang Wang, one of the authors of the study, the negative associations were more pronounced when brands posted in support of BLM alongside self-promotional content. This implies that companies need to be cautious when navigating their social media content strategy to avoid the pitfalls of appearing opportunistic or insincere in their support for important social causes.

Navigating Corporate Social Responsibility Amid BLM Support

The study also emphasizes the significance of historical prosocial posting and socially oriented missions for brands that wish to support BLM without facing severe negative impacts. Companies with a track record of genuine social engagement and a clear commitment to social causes were found to fare better in their BLM support endeavors. This highlights the importance of integrating corporate social responsibility into a brand’s core values long before engaging in public displays of support for movements like BLM.

Xueming Luo, another author of the study, advises brands to avoid hastily resuming normal promotional activities after showing support for BLM. Instead, companies should ensure that their support for social justice causes is integrated into their long-term brand mission and social media strategy. By doing so, brands can mitigate the risk of being perceived as insincere or merely riding the wave of trending movements.

Building Authenticity in Brand Support for BLM

Moving forward, the study suggests that brands looking to align themselves with major racial justice issues such as BLM should prioritize “prosociality” as a core element of their brand identity. By demonstrating a genuine commitment to social causes and integrating this ethos into their overall brand strategy, companies can establish authenticity in their support for movements like BLM. This involves proactive and consistent engagement with social issues rather than opportunistic responses to current events.

While supporting movements like BLM can be a meaningful way for companies to showcase their commitment to social justice, it is essential for brands to approach such support with authenticity, sincerity, and a long-term perspective. By aligning their values with social causes and maintaining genuine engagement with their audience, companies can navigate the complexities of BLM support while minimizing negative consumer impacts and building a strong foundation of trust and credibility.

Links to additional Resources:

1. www.journals.uchicago.edu 2. www.marketingaiinstitute.com 3. www.ama.org

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Black Lives Matter (movement), Social Media Marketing, Corporate Social Responsibility

Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement that seeks to highlight racism, discrimination, and racial inequality experienced by black people, and promote anti-racism. Its primary concerns are incidents of police brutality and racially motivated violence against black people. It started following the killings of Trayvon Martin,...
Read more: Black Lives Matter

Social media marketing
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Although the terms e-marketing and digital marketing are still dominant in academia, social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners and researchers.Most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools,...
Read more: Social media marketing

Corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) or corporate social impact is a form of international private business self-regulation which aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in, with, or supporting professional service volunteering through pro bono programs, community development, administering monetary grants to non-profit...
Read more: Corporate social responsibility

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