Combing the data behind Black Lives Matter messages

Here’s what the research suggests consumers want to hear from brands on the issues of racial injustice, police relations and more.

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Take a stand

It’s been more than two weeks since George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, an event that sparked outrage and protests nationwide and abroad.

As protests became violent in some U.S. cities—with police using pepper spray, rubber bullets and clubs to subdue crowds and, in some cases, driving squad cars into groups of protesters—some among the throngs saw the moment of unrest as an opportunity to break windows, loot stores and burn buildings.

Brand managers chose to focus on racial injustice, police brutality and structural inequality, with many voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, a force that has been active in the U.S. for over five years since the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police.

The brand messages—from Ben & Jerry’s strident invective against white supremacy to social media posts of black squares and statements of support—have been a signal of how this moment is different from other protests in recent years. Many brand managers and CEOs are speaking up—but what do the data say about how these messages are received?

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