BrandsBrands failing to act on systemic racism, according to new report

The general public does not trust brands to do the right thing, and the government even less so.
Michael HeusnerSeptember 10, 20203 min

Businesses are not doing enough to address systemic racism according to a new report from Edelman.

The company’s 2020 Trust Barometer special report: The Fight for Racial Justice in America, found that more than 50 percent of the 2,000 survey respondents consistently expect brands to speak out against systemic racism and racial injustices.

It also found that the majority of the U.S. population supports the Black Lives Matter movement, at 58 percent.

But while the public expects brands to be vocal about their support for ending racial injustices, only 52 percent of respondents currently believe that their calls for change are being heard.

To effect real change businesses are expected to create change, educate and influence, and get their own house in order–all of which they are currently falling short of achieving, based on the report.

However, there is one bright spot for brands and businesses in general.

According to Edelman’s data, 71 percent of the U.S. general population trust their own employer to do what is right when it comes to responding to the problem of systemic racism and racial injustice.

Only 36 percent trust the government to do the same.

Small businesses are also trusted more to tackle the issue than large corporations.

Additionally, people had fairly high levels of trust in their CEO, HR leader, and chief D&I officer as spokespeople on racial injustice, indicating that internal communication can play an important part in tackling systemic racism.

As far as the protests that have rocked the country this summer, the public expects brands to come down squarely on the side of the protestors, with 66 percent believing that brands/companies should protect protestors from harm.

Edelman’s survey was conducted online with 2,000 respondents nationally representative of age, region, gender, and ethnicity in the U.S.

Michael Heusner

Michael is a senior correspondent at Marcom Weekly covering news, brands and feature stories.

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