10 Tips For Thoughtful Black History Month Campaigns
A new year means a bulk of new opportunities for businesses. For businesses to shift gears in terms of their marketing approach and business dynamics, in general. One of the first big events that many brands think of at the beginning of a year is Black History Month. After all, an opportunity to connect with your audience in a more profound way is not one to miss.
But, here’s the catch. Commemorative events like these are attached to strong sentiments. And so, when planning your marketing effort for them, you’re walking a tightrope. One bad move is all it takes to offend an entire segment of your audience. That’s one of the reasons why some brands hesitate to create content around Black History Month. If yours is one among them, let’s change that this year. Let’s talk about some tips to create thoughtful campaigns and content for Black History Month 2023.
- Why is Black History Month important for brands?
- Black History Month – tips to plan your campaigns and content
- 1. Content that honors history feels relevant and respectable
- 2. Explore within your niche
- 3. Tie your campaigns to your brand values
- 4. Give a shoutout to black-owned businesses
- 5. Put your employees in the spotlight
- 6. Use user-generated content
- 7. Go the distance
- 8. Events that show the depth of your campaigns
- 9. Curate relevant content for the theme
- 10. Use visuals for a strong message
- How not to plan Black History Month campaigns
- Create meaningful Black History Month designs
Why is Black History Month important for brands?
In the early 20th century, historian Carter, G. Woodson was troubled by the consistent underrepresentation of African Americans and their roles in shaping the history of America. What began as a week of celebration to honor and spread awareness about the facts and figures not mentioned in history books has now evolved into something bigger. Outside of the US, several other countries including Ireland, Canada, and the UK now celebrate Black History Month as well.
In the US and Canada Black History Month celebrations happen in February and in the UK and Ireland, it’s in October.
Twitter conversations on Black History Month see a 29% year-over-year growth. And that’s just one of the small indicators of the significance of this event for any brand looking to strengthen customer relations overall.
However, planning your campaigns and content for Black History Month is different from planning for other calendar events. Why? Well, because you will be creating content that focuses more on the connections you make. You’ll focus more on your engagement with your audience than on your product promotions.
However, when planned and executed right, your campaigns for this event can turn out to be that one little nudge to skyrocket your brand reputation. That one little move to show your audience that you truly care. After all, about 64% of consumers decide whether or not to stick with a brand based on its take on social causes.
So, do you want to come up with Black History Month campaigns and posts that boost your reputation and build better customer relationships? Well, let’s look at some tips to make that happen.
Black History Month – tips to plan your campaigns and content
1. Content that honors history feels relevant and respectable
The core purpose of initiating Black History Month was to spread awareness. Naturally, educational posts that delve into history are apt for the occasion.
Speaking about famous Black Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. works. But to make your content even more unique, identify and talk about the less-known Black leaders and their contributions.
In the above post, Target provides its users with a bunch of resources to refer to in order to understand Black History better. That’s just one way to do it!
Kimp Tip: When you have a lot of information to share, visuals are your best bet. They create memorability for the information you provide. As in the above example from Target, you can use images, infographics, and videos. These make your post shareable and the information you provide, easier to understand.
And if you need any help in quickly putting together all your visuals for marketing, Kimp subscriptions are just a click away.
2. Explore within your niche
Talking about famous Black leaders is definitely a good idea. To make this even better, identify those in your industry. It’s not just the political leaders that you should be talking about. There are lesser known contributors who lead to the growth of several minority communities in various industries. They deserve a special mention too.
In the below post, Kellogg’s talks about George Washington Carver and his contributions to sustainable farming. For a food brand, the relationship is pretty clear!
3. Tie your campaigns to your brand values
Before we talk about more campaign ideas we would like to take a moment to reiterate the need for authenticity in your posts. The campaign theme and your content should be in line with your brand values.
Today’s informed consumers are averse to brands that display the slightest hint of performative activism. If they think that your brand does not practice what you preach, your campaigns backfire.
That’s why it is important to create posts that resonate well with your brand values. Take a look at KFC’s way of doing it.
In the above post, KFC acknowledges its imperfections and clearly lays down its objectives and its course of action to meet those objectives. Posts like these feel more genuine and easy to connect with.
4. Give a shoutout to black-owned businesses
There are many faces to inclusivity. Giving a nod to other Black-owned businesses and brands is one.
Let’s look at an example from Walmart.
Talking about black-owned businesses that are your vendors, partners and sponsors is one way to strengthen your relationships with these brands. And it tells your customer how much you value your business relationships and the people involved.
5. Put your employees in the spotlight
Similar to appreciating your partners, acknowledging and honoring your African employees will be a good way to celebrate Black History. It’s a great idea particularly if you have a diverse work culture in your organization.
Coca-Cola regularly talks about its employees during Black History Month. The wall art below was displayed at its Baton Rouge sales center. Created by an employee in the Print Shop at the sales center, it captures the need for celebrating Black History beyond just February.
Such instances of talking about employee contributions are a good way to show how proud you are of the people behind your brand and it helps customers understand your brand better too.
The above idea from Coca-Cola is a reminder for your brand to focus on more than just social media and digital media to celebrate Black History Month. Your workplace activities count too!
6. Use user-generated content
With events like Black History Month where the focus is on the people your brand focuses on, let your users take the center stage. User-generated content is one way to do that.
In the post below, Instagram released a compilation of all the beautiful moments shared by users. Here the brand creates a beautiful story by prioritizing the emotions behind the moments.
Taking the idea above, you can run a social media campaign that encourages your audience to share their favorite moments. Or perhaps Black history facts. And you can compile them all into a beautiful video. It makes your audience feel acknowledged and you stay within the theme too.
Kimp Tip: Here’s another quick tip from the above example. While creating videos with user-generated content, you can add your brand elements to them. But do so in a subtle way. You don’t want to overpower the message you’re trying to share. This can be in the form of a simple logo added as a watermark to one corner or a video intro with your brand logo animation.
Need help creating short and catchy intros for your videos or assistance in editing your videos for a more professional touch, choose a Kimp Video subscription.
7. Go the distance
Some brands go big to celebrate Black history. For example, Apple came up with a comprehensive makeover to its marketing strategy for Black History Month in 2022.
From workouts and podcasts to Watch Faces for the Apple Watch there was a whole lot of content created and personalized for Black History Month. Extensive campaigns like these help your customers see that you are genuinely trying to make an effort. And that counts!
8. Events that show the depth of your campaigns
Event marketing feels relevant on several occasions and Black History Month is one such occasion. A personalized theme, Black speakers, involvement of Black-owned businesses, seminars that talk about Black history, and a whole lot of other ideas can add value to your events.
Kimp Tip: The success of your event depends on how effectively you promote them. Use visuals to convey the ideas involved. This includes social media visuals that give an overview of your event and the speakers. You can also add an event landing page to elaborate on the event. And to tell people how it’s relevant to Black History and what kind of value it creates for them.
9. Curate relevant content for the theme
Content marketing is crucial to a brand’s success in today’s digital age. Curating relevant content is one of the very first steps toward better Black History Month campaigns.
Spotify spotlights black creators and creates custom playlists to celebrate Black History Month.
Netflix, came up with month-long recommendations of movies relevant to Black History Month.
10. Use visuals for a strong message
Google’s Black History Month commercial titled “The Most Searched” turned out to be an emotional tribute to African Americans from various domains.
Google’s ads are always on point and this one is no different. It does not bend away from the brand message in the slightest. The ad talks about the most searched terms in various niches. It was a subtle nod to Black celebrities including contemporaries and historians.
The video by Google is a clear example of how a simple copy combined with strong visuals makes the most impact on the onlooker.
How not to plan Black History Month campaigns
We spoke about some of the memorable Black History Month posts and campaigns from brands and ideas to take away from them. Now, let’s also look at a few campaigns that missed the mark.
Gucci called out for racist product photos
Close to Black History Month in 2019, Gucci landed in trouble for one of its products that evoked blackface imagery.
The kind of products you promote and the kind of imagery you use to talk about Black history can make or break your brand reputation. It should go without saying, hopefully, but stay away from words and designs that look the slightest bit racist. The key is to avoid stereotypical descriptions and use a more authentic approach to engage your audience.
Gucci went on to quickly apologize for the offense caused. But remember that sometimes the damage caused due to hurtful posts can be irreversible. And it’s hard to accept a simple apology from a brand that did something so inexcusable in 2019.
Bath and Body Works called out for its not-so-genuine campaign
Bath and Body Works released an exclusive product line for Black History Month. The major eye-catcher in these products was the packaging design inspired by African art. The brand was called out for its shallow approach toward taking part in Black History Month. Some felt that partnering with black-owned businesses would have been a better approach. A valid critique, and missed opportunity for the brand.
Events like these are proof that customers are always observing and always judging your campaigns and how you react to cultural events. One wrong move and your approach looks forced. It makes your campaigns look like you are hard selling and that pushes them away.
Avoid prioritizing promotions and sales and focus instead on the genuine cause and your Black History Month campaign is sure to make an impact on your audience.
Create meaningful Black History Month designs
Honor Black culture without focusing on sales and promotions. After all, during events like Black History Month, the emotional connection you create with your customers is much more than a momentary spike in your sales. And anywhere you need to evoke the right emotions, visuals come in handy.
Need help creating all your promotional visuals for Black History Month? Sign up for a Kimp subscription. Start your free trial today and make the most of this month to build better customer relationships.