June 20, 2022 - Natalya
Juneteenth (short for “Jun. 19”) is an annual celebration commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. As of Jun. 17, 2021, this day has become a federal holiday bringing greater recognition to black communities’ celebration. However, brands and agencies are still trying to figure out how to show support for Juneteenth properly.
With equity and inclusion top of mind in the industry, acknowledging Juneteenth is essential. However, using traditional marketing tactics and treating the day as a ‘calendar moment’ is the wrong move. Before crafting a social media post on Jun. 19, it is essential to know the history of Juneteenth and understand what it means for your company.
Juneteenth’s roots began during the Civil War on Jan. 1, 1863, when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all enslaved people within any State. However, the document did not take effect due to the southern states’ rebellion, and slavery still existed in America. Only two and a half years later, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to take control of the state and free 250 000 enslaved Black Americans.
It became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and many other states followed suit. In 2021, Juneteenth was made a federal holiday, which is also called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day,” or “Emancipation Day.”
Today Juneteenth is celebrated even outside the United States. Numerous organizations use Juneteenth to recognize the end of slavery and honor the achievements of African Americans.
While Juneteenth commemorates the day enslaved people in Texas heard the news that they were free, it also marks a key moment in Black history. Juneteenth shows us that freedom, equity, and justice have always been a hard-fought battle for black Americans – a battle that continues to wage on even today.
The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery forced people worldwide to open their eyes to the biases in the society and hard situation of Black people. Liberated from slavery historically, there are still many things happening right now. And these things still keep blacks and other minorities in “bondage.” As the #BlackLivesMatter movement is gathering speed, recognizing Juneteenth Day is crucial to the awareness of what black people experienced generations before and do now.
Brands and organizations must show support for Juneteenth and remember this key date in U.S. history. With the federal recognition, numerous brands have started to acknowledge the day and celebrate it on social media. However, it is not the time to capitalize – sensitivity and care should be the top priorities.
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Before you start working on a campaign to show support for Juneteenth, it is essential to look inside your organization. Look at your brand or agency honestly and see if it demonstrates diversity and inclusion. If so, here are a few tips for a respectful celebration of Juneteenth.
How to celebrate a holiday with no understanding of its roots and history? As a brand, you can take the opportunity to share relevant resources and online learning tools to provide a better understanding of the Black experience. Consider recommendations on films, books, TV shows, or even valuable accounts featuring Black educators and creators.
Give a short history lesson to your clients and colleagues to amplify the Black experience, culture, and history. Educational content is an excellent solution to provide engaging information and encourage discussions.
Today brands have become more than just a store for selling goods and services — they have become part of society. Each has its own credo and mission, and consumers are looking for businesses that align with their values.
Collaborating with organizations impacting Black Americans’ lives and businesses is an excellent approach to celebrating and showing support on Juneteenth.
Bringing justice and supporting specific communities that have struggled to gain recognition is necessary to advocate for change. However, to become part of the solution, brands and agencies must hold themselves accountable and collaborate with businesses that bring lasting social justice and racial equality to others.
Agency Vista is leveling out the agency playing field by bringing justice to marketing agencies. The company’s platform utilizes data-driven information to rank and recommend providers. This way, Agency Vista supports certain communities that have struggled to gain recognition and make new connections.
Being an ally to the Black community does not mean posting a quote on your Instagram on Jun. 19. Instead, amplify Black-owned brands within your industry or partner with local Black-owned businesses. Also, you can share your favorite Black brands and encourage your followers to do the same on social media.
For example, Vista Social showed support on Juneteenth by recognizing influential black creators across their social media. This is a great example of how brands and agencies can highlight black-owned businesses or influencers in their niche.
At Agency Vista, we have rounded up the 12 Influential Black-Owned Marketing Agencies for you to follow. They are excellent digital marketing experts that supercharge brands in the digital age.
Juneteenth is a perfect time to show consideration and support to the African American community, educate your audience, and take a day off from ads. It is essential to look at people as humans first and consumers second.
Do not use this day to push promotions, products, or your business to a new audience. It is definitely not the right time to serve milkshakes in Juneteenth cups, promote one-day sales in a popular store, or offer dinner specials in restaurants. So, capitalizing on Juneteenth is a bad idea. Instead, this day is all about education, awareness, and remembrance.
The social position and support of charity have become essential for brands and agencies in creating their own identity. Moreover, it is a criterion based on which consumers are increasingly making their choice. According to an Edelman Earned Brand study, nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers worldwide will buy or boycott a company solely because of its position on a social or political issue. To add more, the charitable vector of your brand as a bonus positively affects the climate within the company.
Donating to underserved communities in the fight for economic, educational, and civil rights is a great way to show support for Juneteenth. Consider Black Girls Code, Loveland Foundation, and others to help in the continuous fight for racial justice and equity.
Juneteenth is just around the corner. There is no doubt that Jun. 19 is an excellent opportunity for brands and agencies to support the Black community better.
From educating your team and audience to participating in social events to amplify Black voices, do not stop your efforts here. Instead, demonstrate your corporate values and strive toward diversity, equity, and inclusion all year round.
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