As tensions flared around the country after George Floyd’s death under a policeman’s knee, protesters received support from an unexpected corner: corporate America.
Companies like Nike, Twitter and Citigroup have aligned themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement.
As Netflix posted on Twitter on Saturday: “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.”
Major companies are often wary of conflict, especially in a polarized time. They tend to be afraid of offending their customers and associating their brands with sensitive subjects.
American advertisements often shy away from addressing political issues, like impeachment, and also steer clear of news stories about violence, drugs and, recently, the coronavirus pandemic.
But after Mr. Floyd died on Monday in Minneapolis, a wide range of companies began to take much more public stances on racial injustice and police violence.
Speaking out on social issues is often a calculated decision, a form of “values and identity-driven targeted marketing,” said Americus Reed, a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. By aligning corporate values with what customers care about, companies are hoping to build a sense of loyalty and a deeper sense of personal connection, he said.