There were two full page ads in the lead section of the Wall Street Journal yesterday that caught my eye. One was titled “Enough. An Open Letter from Asian American Business Leaders.” One page later was the second, “General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra refuses to sit down with Black Owned Media Companies.”
Both represent important social and societal issues. The immediate message in both is that discrimination in any form is bad. The former includes a call to action to become a partner or ally. The second ad challenges businesses (specifically GM, but all businesses can do this) to manifest diversity, equity and inclusion across their organization with their purchasing power, as in “put your money where your mouth is.”
The strategy in both cases is exciting as well, as it demonstrates the power of collective action or partnership. And that’s where there are lessons for things you can do in your own sphere of influence. For example…
Leverage the power of collective action.
By combining resources and building partnerships, each entity is stronger than had one company or individual taken a stand on their own.
The first ad was paid for by a coalition of Asian American Business Leaders with a list of three actions: to fight violence against Asians; to support Asian employees, and to ensure representation. It closes with an appeal, “Stand With Us” signed by close to 100 leaders condensed into a 3” x 6” block of copy, including CEO’s, VP’s Founders and Cofounders from the likes of Zoom, YouTube, Peloton, Yahoo! and more. That represents huge power, both financially and in terms of reach, in one ad.
The second ad was paid for by Allen Media Group, LLC and signed by seven Black owned media companies, including Black Enterprise, Ice Cube, and Ebony Media. Together, they are a broad-reaching force.
How can you collaborate with others for collective action within your own sphere of influence?
Share the burden.
Partnership and collaboration also build more resources. A full-page black and white ad in The Wall Street Journal is close to $200,000. What are impacts you would like to see that you might not afford on your own? Who might you reach out to as strategic partners to reach your goals?
Follow the money.
Whether you have a lot or a little, your money is your money. And where and how you spend it makes a difference. Last summer saw hundreds of thousands of people protesting across the country to decry racial injustice. These ads, representing hundreds of business leaders contributing billions to the economy and targeted to a majority white corporate audience, also affirms the message, we’re mad, and enough is enough. It’s time for change.
How do you spread your message at the source?