b'ford and Danielle Prescod, who recently launch their own consultingrepresentation in the brands social media feedsin terms of who it firm, 2BG (2 Black Girls), to do a BLM training with many of ourfollows and what it postsin its creative and among its staff to add brand partners. They advised on best business practices. I thought itto the overall voice and vision of the company.was very informative and helpful, Krupp says. While companies shouldnt let fear keep them from speaking out Companies also should consider focusing the majority of theirabout an issue they feel strongly about, they also shouldnt craft a efforts on issues important to them, rather than adopting a causesocial media message or email to customers on the fly and hit send. because they feel pressured.First, have trusted sources take a look. Dont pick a cause just because its on-trend,Krupp says brands need to actually read what she says. they plan to put out and contextualize it within the Brands instead, need to get behind an issue thatcurrent climate. matters to both its employees and the consumersThen, they need to get a second opinion. Bring in it reaches, and be able to explain why the cause wasoutside partners, such as a public relations agency, to selected and how they are going to support it, e.g.,read through the statement.through financial donations or volunteering. ON WHAT NOT The more eyeballs, the better. Invite your social community to engage in theTO DO: Sometimes I read things that brands post and I conversation, Krupp says. Be prepared to answerEditing negative com- think, how the Lord did that get approved? But I think their questions and share more information if re- ments has been a realits often a matter of people moving too quickly to feed quested, and be prepared to deal with some pissed-offmiss.Its difficult for athe beast and not gut-checking with team members.company when theyre clients or followers who dont share your companybeing called out forKrupp says in the COVID-19 era, its even more values; thats OK. past behaviors or heldimportant to check all communications, not just so-Beyond initial efforts, follow-through is key toaccountable for inac- cial justice or political messaging, with other people showing consumers that a company values theirtion, but its far worseto avoid coming off as insensitive or tone-deaf. when the less-than-rosy opinions and/or is aligned with their personal beliefscomments get deletedFrom there, set a plan to act, whether its volun-and isnt just jumping on a bandwagon for the sake ofand its noticed. teering time or donating a portion of sales to a repu-political correctness.Jen Lowitz table and carefully vetted nonprofit organization. As a brand, if youre making declarations or com- She mentions luxury chat-commerce platform mitments to do better, it needs to be authentic, andThreads Styling as an example of a brand getting it those brands need to stay committed to that change, Krupp says.right in the current era. If they lose sight of promises made, it can be problematic and isThe company has committed to the Fifteen Percent Pledge, an ini-quite transparent to the customer. tiative and nonprofit organization founded by Brother Vellies design-er Aurora James. The Fifteen Percent Pledge enlists major companies HOW TO GET IT RIGHTto commit to stocking 15 percent of their shelves with products from Being authentic means if a company publicly shows support for anBlack-led brands.issue they need to follow up with measurable action.Threads Styling founder Sophie Hill has been a great example of Regarding anti-racism and inclusivity specifically, Lowitz recom- a leader who has listened and learned throughout this climate, and mends setting guidelines and goals for inclusivetaken actionable steps and made concrete goals to doing better, Krupp says. It was not a fleeting moment, but rather, these commitments are reflected in their business develop-ment and communications strategy on an ongoing basis.Lowitz recommends retailers and designers get personal when open-ing up new dialogues with their followers and customers. She advises, We cant be afraid to show up on our platforms. In-per-son interactions are the quickest way for others to get to know you and your values. One IHPR client, Ana Khou-ri, has been working over the past five months to raise money for pandemic and social-related Designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey created this 18-karat gold onyx and diamond pendant to benefit theNATIONAL JEWELER 65NAACP and used social media to spread the word.'