Pepsi shares lessons from its ‘Dig In’ effort to support Black-owned restaurants

The company is one of many looking to follow through on promises to fight racism and injustice in 2020. What do the next steps look like in 2021?

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Pepsi's new inclusion efforts

In 2020, many organizations pledged to do more to help reduce racial inequality. In 2021, organizations will be expected to make good on their promises.

Gina Judge, senior director of communications for Pepsi, says that the company’s “Dig In” initiative is an example of how corporations can make a positive difference in changing outcomes for disadvantaged communities. To begin, it’s essential to do the homework and learn what challenges and barriers a community might face to understand how your organization can have a meaningful impact.

“We started by learning about the key barriers that Black restaurateurs face,” says Judge. She explains that the challenges could be broken down into three areas:

Pepsi identified that they could make a difference with investments in these key areas.

Authenticity comes from legacy

By leaning on past initiatives, such as sponsoring Black Restaurant Week, Pepsi was able to demonstrate authenticity in a moment of national crisis—as opposed to jumping on the bandwagon. Judge explains that the approach was designed to create a ladder to a final outcome, accepting that issues like racial inequality are long-term problems that require sustained engagement.

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