The death of George Floyd, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the events following it has been a trigger for self-reflection and exploration, across a great swath of Americans of all different backgrounds. With the benefit of hindsight, it is becoming apparent that this is a moment of historical significance.
But- the burden of response has not been felt equally, with many expecting social backlashes for their thoughts, opinions and beliefs on the matter. This has had a corrosive effect – personal relationships such as friends and family are the most likely to be damaged. This is aggravated by a bonfire of social media connections, and social filter bubble that is driving different interpretations of key events.
Despite the strong opinions being shared, almost three quarters of our respondents (of all backgrounds) felt self-conscious about how they presented themselves, or what they say. Conversely, when Americans were asked when they felt seen and understood the predominant themes were a desire to be recognized, and to be express true selves without judgement. In other words, they feel seen- when they experience empathy. This is a key need to address gaps in understanding across Americans of all backgrounds.
Brands that can genuinely and consistently show empathy are the ones that people remember, and credit. Whether national brands, like Nike or Ben & Jerry’s or local businesses close to the communities they cherish. This has consequences in practical action too- brands are seen to have a crucial role in helping- a majority believe that they should help with reforming hiring practices, giving People of Color a genuine platform and better representing them in communications.