b'listeningT raditionally, consumer-facingThen 2020 happened.Those that remained mum on Floyds companies have shied away fromGeorge Floyds death in police custodymurder or racism in America were often showcasing political allegiances orset off a wave of political activism around ra- called out. commenting on social justice issues to avoidcial issues unprecedented for the millennialFor years, we watched brands not choose alienating any part of their customer base.and Gen Z generations.a side for fear of alienating their customers In the politically divided United StatesSuddenly, consumers were looking toand it was disappointing, but accepted, in particular, the typical line of thinking forbrands to make their views on racism known,says IHPR founding partner Jen Lowitz, jewelry retailers and designers has been:and to back up those beliefs who counts brands like Fernando Jorge, Ana Why estrange any potentialwith action, proving they werent part Khouri, Nikos Koulis, Jacquie Aiche and customers?of the problem.Forevermark among her client roster.Now, everything has changed. The issues at hand areasking companies to do the samehave come of age in. so crucial, how can you not have a stance? Staying silentThey have shown to be more liberaland are more speaks volumes. diversethan generations before them, and the act of pro-In a new decade that has begun on a note of uncertain- testing has becoming normalized in their recent adulthoods ty, one thing is for sure: Companies are experiencing anin response to a tense sociopolitical climate. upheaval regarding what is expected of them.The Womens March in 2017 stands as the largest single-day The old ways of speaking to their customers might noprotest in U.S. history (though attendance-wise it pales in longer suffice.comparison to the ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstra-tions that broke out nationwide following Floyds death). A PERFECT STORM There have also been multiple, youth-led protests over the Several factors laid the groundwork for the new normalissues of climate change and gun control in recent years. brands are facing as consumers demand companies speakThis generational characteristic coupled with millennials out and actively work to combat racism.and Gen Zs connectedness due to social mediagiving One is the social climate that millennials and Gen Ztheimmediate and ever-present access to an infinite amount of generations overwhelmingly protesting for racial equity andinformation, plus a direct line of communication to com-NATIONAL JEWELER 61'