For the EVOLution of Business

Brand Advocacy and Authenticity with Radical Rashad Smith-Cooper

Episode Summary

Should your brand take a stand? "You can't dip your toe in the should be up to your neck. You need to jump on board and take a stand before it's too late," says Rashad Smith. But brands need to be prepared to move beyond words of support and toward meaningful action. We can "acknowledge these companies, but not applaud them, because there is still so much work to do." Tune in to this episode to hear what to think about before deciding whether to take a stand, the brands that have done it well, and why you should think outside the box when hiring diverse talent. Rashad also leaves us with some hope: "Coronavirus taught us that we could shut down the world. If we could respond to this pandemic like that, we can also respond to this epidemic of racism." Radical Rashad is a National award-winning media professional. As a creative strategist and multimedia account executive at 105.5 The Beat, he plays a variety of roles to help enhance the station’s relationship with the community, local leaders and commercial sponsors. In addition to his behind the scenes responsibilities, each Sunday Radical Rashad hosts a community-oriented show comprising interviews with movers and shakers from the town, spotlight stories, and contests. When he’s not working to strengthen the station’s brand, Radical Rashad is generating buzz for his brands as a freelance publicist and project manager. He has worked for big brands like Black Entertainment Television C-Span and Rock the Vote– experience that led to the development of– a networking movement that brings together creatives and decision makers to collaborate on for-impact initiatives. Radical Rashad holds a B.A. in Communications (2010) from Johnson C. Smith University, a Historically Black College (HBCU) in Charlotte, North Carolina and a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated

Episode Notes

[3:00] Empty words on Black Lives Matter social media posts

[5:00] Why the NFL's Black Lives Matter fell short

[7:00] NASCAR's banning of the Confederate Flag
"We should acknowledge, these companies and brands, but not applaud, because there's still so much work to do."

[10:00] Citigroup's Black Lives Matter social media posts conflict with their donations to 53 members of Congress with F ratings from the NAACP

[12:00] Taking an authentic stand 
"You can't dip your toe in the should be up to your neck. You need to jump on board before it's too late."

"Be strategic, critical and tactical when you're taking a stand, but understand that without guidance and support from people of color, you may very well miss the mark, which is one of the reasons why it's critical for employers to identify and go out of their way to figure out which black people they're hiring for what opportunities."

Check out a previous podcast episode with Kesha Carter on diversity at ALL levels of leadership in your organization:

[16:00] Self-education on "true black history" - start with Spike Lee

Color of Law Book:

[21:00] History that wasn't all that long ago: "One thing that Coronavirus has taught us is that we are able to respond instantly. We are able to change laws, we are able to provide funding, we are able to close down the world. We know that we can do this now. We could respond to this pandemic like that, we also need to respond to this epidemic of racism like that. For so long, we placed racism on the agenda of politics. It's really not about's about health and wellness in this country."
"What the companies that play this game don’t seem to be contemplating—and often obscure—is that their businesses frequently don’t pay back nearly as much as they gain from their associations with black Americans."

[25:00] Companies that have made meaningful strides - Nike and Twitter make Juneteenth a paid holiday

[28:00] Starbucks tells employees that they can't wear anything in support of BLM, then reverses course

[31:30] Coaching brands to think through their advocacy

[35:00] Democratic legislators wear kente cloth in solidarity of Black Lives Matter

[38:00] Being an authentic ally

[39:45] Publicly stating and living up to your values, and calling people out productively
Nikole Hannah-Jones in New York Times 1619 Project

Business Roundtable commits to Stakeholder Capitalism:

[45:00] How brands can start to think outside the box when hiring:
"If you take those cats that are already on the streets that have connections and you invest in them, not thinking about the minute marijuana charges they might have...The same blocks that you're trying to reach out to sell to are the same blocks that you should be trying to recruit from. Does that mean that you have to work a little harder? Absolutely."

Connect with Rashad:
Twitter: @RadicalENT
Instagram: @RadicalRashad