As a communicator and a mother (and a human being in general), I am always thinking about choosing the right words. What’s the best way to convey support and understanding without applying my own lens to the experiences of others?
From #Pride to #Juneteenth, June is a month full of opportunities for voices to be raised in a chorus of support and empowerment. It’s a time to highlight those who have pushed for progress, celebrate voices that wouldn’t be silenced, and acknowledge things aren’t “perfect” or “over” – there is still so much to do for #equality, #equity and #inclusion.
The biggest mistake brands can make is trying to “own” Pride or Juneteenth or any heritage month or day of remembrance. The celebration is not about a brand. It’s not about a CEO or a politician.
This is about humans, not about marketing or merchandise.
It’s about the people who are marginalized and those who speak out often and relentlessly to level the field ever so slightly. It will take many, many small steps to reach a tipping point.
How can the companies we advise best support their employees, customers and communities in meaningful ways? Through actions and words that embrace and empower difference. It’s not just what we say and do during this month, it’s what we say and do all year long.
Last weekend, my kids were so excited to don our “Equality” t-shirts (well done, by the way, @Pantone) as a family. They are growing up in a world that talks more about differences and have been supported by educators who embrace and empower #equality, #equity and #inclusion in a way I think past generations haven’t experienced. They ask questions – good questions – and listen to the answers. They form their own opinions and don’t judge if the message isn’t stated exactly perfectly the first time around.
I think that’s an important lesson for all of us: We don’t always have all the right answers or all the right words. Sometimes we are afraid to try, because making a statement, taking an action or a stance leaves us vulnerable. What if we get it wrong?
It’s hard for me to say this – because getting messages right is basically my livelihood – but sometimes being perfect misses the point.
Sometimes being perfect misses the point. Trying is what matters. Trying to get it right; trying to understand; trying again and again.
All. Year. Long.
Instead of seeking to “own” a moment, movement or remembrance, try to be part of it. Try to support it. And keep trying. This doesn’t end July 1. If your company stops trying for 11 months, that’s when you fail.