In response to a nationwide movement that saw consumers joining together and corporate America pledging millions in support of racial justice, brands and retailers are now being held accountable for their diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives. Beyond a social post or one-off campaign, consumers’ expectation for inclusivity runs deeper, spanning the entire retail experience—from a company’s internal practices, to its store environment, the products it stocks, the vendors it carries, and how it’s supporting its communities. While the first step was taking an internal audit and setting goals, consumers are now expecting to see results, and are calling on retailers to be transparent in how their promises are being applied to internal and external processes to create measured change.
Within this report, the PSFK Labs team has identified how retailers, businesses and creatives are authenticity engaging their communities, and committing themselves to representing, uplifting and activating around BIPOC consumers year-round. Learn about the actionable consumer-facing and internal steps that businesses are taking to better connect with both new and existing consumers, and visibly demonstrate that all consumers are equally valued. And gain insight into how both established retailers and emerging brands are addressing processes, redesigning stores, and taking care to ensure the right voices are being included, heard and uplifted at every level and every stage of retail, as they use their resources and influence to address racial justice in impactful ways.
Published March, 2021
Pausing previously scheduled content and programming, brands are instead redirecting time and budgets toward collaborative community-building projects. As consumers take note of the companies providing measurable social impact, purpose-led brands will be top of mind post-pandemic.Community Platforms
Brands are building stronger communities by establishing digital and physical platforms and activations that help foster the relationship among customers and encourage participation, empowering consumers to co-create the rules and even inviting them into the R&D process. It includes hosting programmed events to build confidence in a purchase or product use in an engaging manner. It also includes peer-to-peer platforms where consumers can interact and exchange with each other.Driving Connection Through Values
In order to build a stronger emotional connection with consumers, brands are providing customers with tools and platforms to shape their values and incorporate them into daily life.
Streaming giant Netflix recently announced they would be creating a $100 million fund focused on outreach to communities that are underrepresented in the industry and want to pursue a career in the entertainment field. Through what they’ve deemed the “Netflix Fund for Creative Equity,” the company will be funding internal initiatives geared towards empowering talent and job placement, as well as supporting outside organizations with relevant specializations. Through the new initiative, Netflix is aiming to amplify previously ignored voices and offer training programs to close systemically unequal skill gaps.Focusing on diversity, Trader Joe's addresses hiring, training and supplier processes
Grocery chain Trader Joe’s is taking steps to improve their diversity initiatives with regards to both hiring and training processes as well as supplier diversity. With a focus on increasing the diversity of leadership within stores, the company is updating their mentoring and development structures under the leadership of their new Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Deborah Williams. To reflect the values they’re working hard to implement internally, Trader Joe’s has dedicated a product development team to ensuring an increase in the amount of Black-owned product suppliers they buy from as well as setting a target of sourcing 15% of their tasting presentations from Black-owned businesses.Beauty retailer Sephora's commitment to inclusion expands to redesigned stores
As part of a comprehensive effort to address racial bias within its own organization, beauty retailer Sephora is reexamining and updating their in-store operations. Their newly released plan aims to both eradicate instances internal discrimination as well as increase Black-owned brands within the store itself. Structural changes the beauty retail is making include a zero-tolerance policy that ensures racially-based behaviors are investigated with consistency, reducing the use of third-party security forces, and doubling the Black-owned brands in their assortment.Black-identifying creatives at Bombas, concept, design and produce new collection
To celebrate and give back to the Black community this Black History Month, apparel company Bombas, known for its one-for-one sock donation model, looked internally when designing its latest line of socks. Black-identifying creatives at Bambas, also known as The Black Hive, were given creative control over the design, development, and marketing production of The Black Hive Collection, which resulted in eight new pairs socks with each pair sold resulting in a pair donated to someone in need at Black community organizations.