b'PHYSICALWHY DEISMALLGETTING RETAILSMATTERS MINERSPOLITICALFUTURE STRUGGLE IN PUBLIC Even when it feelsAUTHENTICITY, AUTHENTICITY, AUTHENTICITYlike everyone is engagedWhen crafting the right messaging, its important to re-in something, brandsmember that todays informed consumer will be able to see would do well to informthrough any generic brand statements in which a company themselves properlytries to play the fence. before joining in, LowitzWith the current political landscape there is no neu-recommends.tral, Krupp explains. A brand either has to remain silent Brands are so quick toabout their political beliefs, which I still feel is an accept-jump on board for fear ofable strategy for many brands, or be very vocal about it looking neutral or apathet- and be prepared ic that often, the resultto alienate and, in clutters the space, shesome situations, says. You have to do somelose customers. homework, though, beforeLowitz agrees getting on board with so- that some alienation cial challenges. Where didis inevitable when a the challenge come from,brand makes a socio-and who does it benefit?political stand, but No one has a guidebook,believes any push-but if a brand is genuine inback is worth it. their attempt to learn andOne of the change, then they shouldbiggest takeaways stand by that black squarefor us [at IHPR] and keep it up; it cant be afrom BLM and the one-and-done. movement for social Lowitz says the team atInstagram posts supportingreform is that you IHPR found a way to makeBlack jewelry designers fromhave to be willing to sure Blackout Tuesday ultimately had realbrand development agencysacrifice a paycheck For Future Reference meaning for them.(above) and Black-ledand make your opin-One of the ways we used Blackoutbusinesses from the Fifteenion known, she says.Percent Pledge (right)Tuesday was to overhaul our social feed soAnd a retailer or that we can see and hear Black voices in a much more balanceddesigner shouldnt ratio. It may have been a literal interpretation, but its changedlet the fear of getting our internal discussions and outreach. their messaging And therein lies the power of the current moment when itwrong stop them comes to brand impacta social media trend or online consumerfrom speaking out.feedback can enact real change in companies that are, ultimately,One of the most just trying to make a profit. important lessons for us was to try and let go of the fear of being Lowitzs do-your-best-and-make-it-work attitude when it came tocalled out if we didnt say the right thing or use the right language, Blackout Tuesday is the same general philosophy many top industrysays Lowitz of her own companys communications. publicists are applying toWe couldnt let that stop us from expressing how we felt as peo-their clients communica- ple and as an agency.tions strategies.One of the keys to enacting real change, without simply being Being political orperformative, is to start with ones internal company culture.outwardly socially awareLowitz puts it simply: Do the work. is unchartered territoryBrands should set aside time to talk team members and include ON AUTHENTICITY:for many companies,them in conversations about the companys philosophy and how it can If youre making declarationsand if they choose tobe improved. Employees should be invested in creating a company or commitments to do better,heed consumers calls toculture, and in holding each other accountable in meeting goals and it needs to be authentic, andspeak out publicly theliving up to standards. those brands need to stay com-mitted to that change. If theymost important thing isBrands that are new to getting political need to give themselves lose sight of promises made, itthat they put forth theirsome leeway when they make a mistake but stay committed to con-can be problematic. best effort, with onetinually improving, Lowitz says.Cindy Kruppimportant caveat: TheyKrupp took a similar approach when crafting the companys com-better be for real. munications around racial equityshe started from within.We at Krupp Group brought [fashion editors] Chrissy Ruther-64 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2020'