Lessons From Corporations


Over the past few weeks we have witnessed the kickoff of an apology tour, an immediate abandonment of a trademark, and a brand do the damn thing. Let’s start with Wal-Mart. They are apologizing for the Juneteenth ice cream and they are taking it off the shelf. Although choosing to sell the ice cream could have been stopped in the product meetings, there are some lessons that can be learned from the Juneteenth Fiasco.

1. Customers like for brands to have moral compass. If your compass seems off the social media streets will drag you and you will be scheduling an apology tour. Your authenticity has to be intwined with your brand so people know what to expect. When you don’t use it, it appears that you are getting to the money by any means necessary.

2. Have a knowledgeable team and not yes people. I don’t know what the process is to get items on the shelf at Wal-Mart, but I do know it’s imperative to have a team to bounce ideas off of so your brand isn’t out here looking like boo boo the fool.

3. Know your target audience. Consumers buy with emotion and maybe Wal-mart thought that Juneteenth Ice Cream would create a since of pride in their black consumers. Research would have helped them discover that for majority of slave descendants want reparations, inclusion, and equity, not red velvet ice cream.

Speaking of Juneteenth, the next on on the chopping block is Ted, the CEO of Balchem Corp, his company had the audacity to attempt to trademark Juneteenth. Black America was like IKYFL and quickly took to the internet streets. Ted didn’t want that smoke and quickly retreated in the trademark attempts, but this situation taught us a few lessons, here they are:

1. Be authentic and don’t attempt to steal someone else’s “secret sauce.” Whatever your framework or signature offer is, make it authentic to you and your brand. Look at Ted, nothing about him says Juneteenth. What does your signature offer say about you? Is it on par with your brand?

2. Although Juneteenth is “trendy” (even though black Americans have been celebrating it for years) all bandwagons aren’t meant to give you a ride. If you are an ally of a community you should not attempt to take what’s theirs, you should help them keep what belongs to them while empowering them to reach new heights (also ally’s don’t just show up when a tragedy happens). How is your brand positioned to help?

3. The power of your voice and sharing your knowledge. This is more about Attorney Ticora Davis, but she shared her knowledge and used platform to inform. How is your brand informing your audience? It goes beyond nice photos and a pretty website.

And finally a corporation that got it right. Let’s give a round of applause for Vaseline. They got it right ya’ll. Their new initiative encompasses everything a brand should be. Impactful, aligns with their values and is visually appealing.I love seeing brands do it right and using their positioning to better serve their audience, display their values and partner with the right people.

Vaseline, a staple in the black community, has a limited edition label that showcases people with melanated skin. Now I know some people will say “we didn’t ask for this,” but they went a step further. They also partnered with Hued to educate on how to care for more melanated skin. This is showing that Vaseline cares about more things than making sure we’re not ashy, they want to ensure that dermatologist are better equipped to serve their customers of color. (Bridging a gap)

They added a QR code on the front of the label to help educate the buyer. If you scan it you will be taken to the See My Skin page, heres the link, and the page is beautiful, functional and it is on par with both businesses’ messaging and brand.

As you grow in your business ask how you can better serve your clients? How can you incorporate your values into the service you provide? What campaigns or initiatives might require a special package or visuals? How do you dig deeper to become more aligned?

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