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Many influencers and brands have stopped their marketing campaigns to focus on messaging around the George Floyd protests

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  • Many brands are issuing statements condemning racism and offering messages of solidarity to protesters in the wake of George Floyd's death.
  • Some companies are shuttering influencer-marketing campaigns this week to avoid tone deafness on social platforms where much of the conversation is unfolding.
  • Influencers are also speaking out against brands that were slow to respond and saying some companies should do better at highlighting black voices.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Over the past few days, brands have issued statements condemning racism and offering messages of solidarity to protesters in the wake of George Floyd's death after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.
Many are also halting influencer marketing to avoid tone deafness on social platforms where much of the conversation is unfolding.
"The nation is hurting, and we're figuring out the best ways to show sensitivity and support for our communities," Mae Karwowski, the founder and CEO of the influencer-marketing platform Obviously, said. "Two things we did immediately were extending posting deadlines on active campaigns and setting later start dates for campaigns that are coming up."
Much of corporate America has made an effort to shift away from business-as-usual messaging on social media in the past few days. Companies like TikTok, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Amazon are all participating in "Blackout Tuesday," a campaign to draw attention to issues of social and racial justice. Representatives from the five influencer-marketing firms that Business Insider spoke with for this story all said they'd delayed paid influencer work this week. Some digital creators have also paused their typical posting style and cadence.
"We connected directly with all of our clients yesterday," Danielle Wiley, the CEO of the influencer-marketing firm Sway, told Business Insider. "For those with content scheduled to begin this week, we have advised pushing out the timeline to accommodate a later launch. For campaigns that are in progress, we strongly advised letting influencers know that they are in no way required to post this week. Only one client chose to continue with their program on the existing timeline, despite our recommendation otherwise."

Influencers and fans are criticizing brands for delayed or seemingly hypocritical responses

While many brands and influencers have chosen to pause paid campaigns to avoid tone deafness this week, they're also under pressure from fans to speak out in support of protesters and the racial-justice movement on social media.
In the influencer community, fans have urged social stars to either promote Black Lives Matter or stop posting, Insider reported. And some brands that delayed modifying their social-media strategies since the protests began faced criticism from the creator community.
BuzzFeed reported that the influencer affiliate company RewardStyle sent emails over the weekend encouraging bloggers to post affiliate links to earn commissions. Some influencers spoke out against the company and other brands that were slow to respond.
RewardStyle sent out an email Monday night saying that the company would delay "all sponsorships in solidarity with the Black community" and announcing donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Center for Policing Equity. The company told Business Insider that it was also pausing social-media activity in honor of "Blackout Tuesday."
Companies like YouTube, Adidas, and L'Oreal all received criticism from some on social media, who said variously that the brands either appeared hypocritical or offered vague messaging that failed to directly respond to the grievances of protesters.
For brands, navigating social-media messaging without sparking controversy can be difficult. A new survey from Morning Consult showed that 73% of Gen Z and millennial respondents said they viewed brands that support protesters on social media more favorably, while 39% of Gen X and baby-boomer respondents said the same.

Brands have had to be nimble as social-media conversations have shifted quickly in 2020

Companies have had to do a fair amount of reactive marketing this year as the consumer environment has changed dramatically during a public-health crisis and now widespread protests.
When coronavirus cases first began surging in the US in March, Toyota swapped out TV ads about "extended financing and zero APR" with a branding campaign around unity. The public-relations firm Weber Shandwick sent a memo to its employees telling them not to send out tone-deaf pitches to reporters. And the backpack brand JanSport hired a Gen Z "think tank" to create an influencer-marketing campaign focused on its charitable giving to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen.
This week, brands are again adapting marketing strategies to fit in with a social-media conversation focused on social- and racial-justice issues.
"Clients and influencers are adjusting their content to support not just what is in their hearts and minds but in the hearts and minds of their followers," Vickie Segar, the founder of the influencer-marketing firm Village, said. "That means that we are pushing content for many brands until later in the week or next week."
Some companies that lean heavily into influencer marketing, like the phone-case brand Casetify, have halted or slowed down influencer outreach and marketing campaigns to focus on messages of solidarity with protesters this week.
Timothy Armoo, the CEO of the TikTok agency Fanbytes, told Business Insider that his company paused all marketing communications this week and would be sending out a special version of its newsletter, highlighting what people can do and what social platforms are doing. Personally, Armoo said he had donated his last month's salary to charities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Some other agencies that work with influencers and digital creators like CAA and Select Management Group have also issued statements of solidarity with protesters and the black community.
"We will not conduct any business on Tuesday, June 2nd in observance of #blackouttuesday," Select wrote in a tweet.
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* This article was originally published here
https://www.businessinsider.com/influencers-and-brands-stop-marketing-to-focus-on-protest-messaging-2020-6
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