Sensemaker Live – Damned if you don't: brands, blame and #BLM

Friday 26 June 2020

Duration: 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Status: Completed

Big brands, by default and by design, have thrived in a system that disadvantages Black people – in supply chains, corporate culture, pay discrimination, advertising stereotypes and more. So for a decade, massive companies such as Procter and Gamble, Unilever and Nike have championed “brand purpose” – the marketing industry’s label for the responsibility of a commercial company to ‘do good’ as well as sell stuff. As brands the world over express their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, can any big company’s claim to be anti-racist hold true? Is it possible for brand leaders to authentically express their support for future change in corporate statements and marketing communications, without fully facing up to and publicly admitting their flawed present?

Chair: Claudia Williams, Reporter, Tortoise

Sensemaker Live is hosted in partnership with Santander.

Our special guests include:

Asad Dhunna, founder of The Unmistakables, a multi award-winning consultancy specialising in diversity.

Becks Collins, writer, semiotician & cultural analyst. Becks uses semiotics and cultural insight to help brands and institutions understand how culture is changing, and how their values fit within an ever-evolving consumer landscape. She has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands – identifying innovation opportunities that effectively connect with consumers while also positively contributing to communities, employees and the environment.

Belinda J Smith is a Marketing and Diversity activist currently serving as the Global Diversity Ambassador for the World Federation of Advertisers. Previously, Smith was Head of Global Marketing Intelligence at Electronic Arts (EA) where she created their first central team to lead content, channel and audience strategy as well as marketing effectiveness and measurement. Smith came to EA as the architect and GM for EA’s global paid media discipline, including creating their first in-house global media agency. Prior to EA, Smith was the Director of Programmatic Strategy at 360i where she oversaw strategy, buying, and data capabilities across all programmatic accounts and client teams. Smith started her career in product management and marketing at AT&T.