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With demands rising for immediate and lasting action regarding social change, how can brands authentically commit to the cause? Informed by expert interviews and extensive research, we explore some of the key principles of ‘allyship’, and how brands can authentically play a valuable role in social causes.

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, as black squares and hashtags filled people’s feeds, brands responded to the rallying cry that ‘silence is violence’ only to be met with a loud skepticism. Such intense backlash has underlined the importance of ongoing and valuable ‘allyship’. Brands can no longer paste rapid responses over poor track records – instead, they need to take a more long-term, all-encompassing approach.

Informed by those who have been working in the space of social justice for a long time, our Understanding Allyship webinar identifies and explores four key principles, which are designed to be used in tandem to help brands and individuals authentically incorporate the values and goals of allyship into their daily lives and long-term business practices. Here’s a sneak peek:

 

Privileged Positions

At its core, true allyship requires a recognition of existing privileges. Only by owning up to the “privilege gap” and being honest about the ways that some individuals or businesses benefit from inequality, at the expense of others, can people help to close it. 

tTue allyship requires a recognition of existing privileges
Stephan Telm (2020) ©

Quiet Revolutions

The most valuable work happens behind the scenes and close to home. In many ways activism and engagement with social justice has become aspirational, but activists advise that the most powerful work is almost always happening quietly, with no expectation of thanks, praise or reward.

The Big Picture

People are more informed than ever about the interconnectedness of oppressive structures, which is why isolated efforts that ignore the bigger picture, or are contradicted by wider business practices, will be called out. It’s crucial for brands and individuals to learn about and acknowledge the wider historical and political context that ‘allyship’ operates in, to say sorry for past mistakes and to understand why efforts that fall short may receive backlash.

t’s crucial to acknowledge the wider historical and political context that ‘allyship' operates in
James Eades (2020) ©

Staying Power

Experts define ‘Allyship’ as an “active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating” – it is long-term and often uncomfortable work that lasts a lifetime. This principle explains why work from allies needs to be self-led, consistent and sensitive to the emotional toll of activism.

With such high stakes, how are businesses living up to these new expectations? And how can brands and individuals ensure they are practising ‘allyship’ in ways that empower activists, employees and citizens?

Want to know more? Sign up for the Understanding Allyship Deep Dive webinar here.

Canvas8

06 Oct 20
5 min read

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Canvas8