Starbucks allows pro-BLM attire, OKCupid’s profile buttons to support race relations and LGBTQ inclusion, and Band-Aid brand offers new skin tones

Also: 24 Hour Fitness files for bankruptcy, Github to replace terms referencing slavery, how support for Black Lives Matter has grown exponentially, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Johnson & Johnson’s Band-Aid brand announced it’s launching bandages in a range of five shades to better suit diverse skin tones.

View this post on Instagram

We hear you. We see you. We’re listening to you.⁣ ⁣ We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, collaborators and community in the fight against racism, violence and injustice. We are committed to taking actions to create tangible change for the Black community.⁣ ⁣ We are committed to launching a range of bandages in light, medium and deep shades of Brown and Black skin tones that embrace the beauty of diverse skin. We are dedicated to inclusivity and providing the best healing solutions, better representing you.⁣ ⁣ In addition, we will be making a donation to @blklivesmatter.⁣ We promise that this is just the first among many steps together in the fight against systemic racism.⁣ ⁣ We can, we must and we will do better.

A post shared by BAND-AID® Brand Bandages (@bandaidbrand) on

Aol.com reported:

In 2005, Band-Aid launched “perfect blend” bandages that were designed to work with a wide array of skin tones, although they were eventually discontinued, a spokesperson told NBC.

“We are excited to bring back a similar product with improved comfort and flexibility,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The new Band-Aids will launch in 2021 in the company’s “most popular style, flexible fabric.”

Communicators, if your organization pledges to “do better,” list the ways in which you will make good on your commitment.

Here are today’s top stories:

Starbucks allows baristas to wear Black Lives Matter shirts

Following backlash from employees and consumers, the coffee chain reversed an earlier edict that employees couldn’t wear any clothing or accessories supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and will distribute 250,000 shirts that the company designed to employees across its company-owned stores.

In an open letter to partners, Starbucks executives Roz Brewer, Rossann Williams and Zing Shaw wrote:

These are alarming, uncertain times and people everywhere are hurting. You’ve told us you need a way to express yourself at work, asking:

Do you understand how I feel!?

Do you understand the black community is in pain?

We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change.

This movement is a catalyst for change, and right now, it’s telling us a lot of things need to be addressed so we can make space to heal.

Starbucks also said that until the official shirts arrive, employees can wear Black Lives Matter pins or t-shirts.

Why it matters: As both large and small organizations across industries grapple with their responses to protests following George Floyd’s death, communicators must walk a fine line between upholding organizational policies and instituting change that benefits both its employees and the communities they serve. Starbucks’ misstep is probably not the last time an organization will err as it looks to combat racism and increase diversity and inclusion. Communicators can avoid backlash by consistently engaging with and listening to both employees and consumers, along with being flexible with policies and procedures.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Github announced that its replacing terms such as “master” with neutral terms such as “main,” to remove references to slavery.

The Next Web reported:

The code management platform is not the only one heading in this direction. A bunch of other open-source projects and companies including the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the Go programming language, and Grammarly have changed their terminology to remove terms that are racially suggestive. These entities have made changed whitelist and blacklist to allowlist and blocklist.

You might want to also look over your messages, visuals, policies and procedures to see how you can erase potentially discriminatory terms or systems, along with ways you can promote greater inclusivity.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

The New York Times recently reported data from online survey research firm Civiqs, which revealed that the majority of voters in the United States now support the Black Lives Matter movement. Support increased by 17 points compared with before widespread protests began.

The large change in public opinion stands as an exception to the way people’s thoughts and beliefs change regarding social and political issues. The Times highlighted several other public opinion swings—most of which are smaller overall than support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

The findings have implications for communicators, especially those working for organizations that remain silent as protests against systemic racism continue. More consumers and employees are calling for organizations to take a stand, and even lead the charge for change.

You can read the full report here.


CRISIS LEADERSHIP BOARD

Looking for more insight on how to address the current global crisis and lead your organization into a strong recovery?

Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Board to network and brainstorm with peers, get the latest intelligence and research, and start to strategize for the future of your organization.

Learn more about this exclusive membership here.

OKCupid releases #BlackLivesMatter profile badge

The dating platform recently rolled out badges that its users can place on their profiles to show support for the Black Liives Matter movement:

OKCupid also added additional matching questions about racial equality and social justice to further encourage conversations, and reported more than 100,000 answers within the first week of their launch:

Image courtesy of OKCupid.

Both the profile badge and matching questions join other features focused on civil rights and social justice causes, including #RightToLove and #IStandwithPP profile badges, along with matching questions for LGBTQ and nonbinary users:

Why it’s important: OKCupid’s features come alongside the company’s donations to NAACP, Black Girls Code, Fair Fight Action and the ACLU, along with its $1 million donation in advertising space on its platform for black civil rights organizations. The efforts highlight the importance of not only taking a stand against racism and inequality, but offering ways for your consumers and employees to show their support.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

24 Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy following months of being shut down during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

CNN Business reported:

24 Hour Fitness said Monday in its Chapter 11 filing that it has secured $250 million in funding to help reopen some of its clubs and expects a majority of locations to be open by the end of June. However, it’s emerging as a smaller chain: It permanently closed 100 US locations in 14 states with roughly 300 clubs remaining.

“If it were not for Covid-19 and its devastating effects, we would not be filing for Chapter 11,” CEO Tony Ueber said in a statement. “We expect to have substantial financing with a path to restructuring our balance sheet and operations to ensure a resilient future.”

If you haven’t yet been required to reinvent your offerings during COVID-19, consider ways you can pivot before you’re forced to take drastic measures.


RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed the landscape for communicators and PR pros. More than ever before, communicators must gain key skill sets and employ strategic communications and media relations strategies to boost their organizations’ coverage, reputation and overall brand.

Learn what the 315 communicators we surveyed say about what parts of the PR function are more important than ever, how to adjust for COVID-19, and more with our free report revealing insights that can help you perservere during this uncertain time.

 

Download your copy of the report here.


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked if you felt like your organizations’ messages around racial justice and inclusion were being backed up by action and internal conversations or were just external posturing.

Most of you said that if a message was being offered, it was coupled with an internal conversation or some kind of action.

About 10% said that there still has been no message or response. As a reminder, many will see a lack of response or statement on this issue to be an indication of your organization’s tacit approval of racial inequality.


SOUNDING BOARD

Have you revisited your social media policy with your organization in recent days? If not, do you plan on having discussions about the proper use of social media and messages around race and diversity from personal accounts?

Share your thoughts with the hashtag #DailyScoop or in the comments below.

 

COMMENT

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