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Ideas Strategy2020-07-30

The Global Takeaway: July 2020

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Essence

The Takeaway is a round up of key trends shaping behavior around the world, identified and analyzed by Essence's global strategy team.

In North America: Virtual protesting

Social media has changed the way society documents history. It’s also revolutionized how quickly and efficiently civilians can share information and mobilize in terms of physical protesting. However, this comes at a cost. While social media is an effective tool for sharing and organizing, it’s also highly susceptible to surveillance and censorship. Leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement have reported being monitored online, and social platforms have deleted accounts and removed protest-related content. 

This censorship, combined with the restrictions around physically taking to the streets during a pandemic, has led many consumers to seek out alternative digital channels for virtually protesting.

Signals 

  1. Activists have used unexpected platforms like Yandex Maps (Russia’s equivalent of Google Maps) and Zoom DJ sets to promote solidarity 

  2. Animal Crossing has become a hub for virtual activism, organizing online protests, memorials, and even platform-wide fundraisers for the BLM movement

  3. Epic Games’ Fortnite hosted a frank conversation on race in America in-platform on July 4th, featuring prominent reporters and experts in the space 

Why it matters 

The rise of virtual protesting has allowed those who can’t risk taking to the streets a platform to make sure their voice is heard at a momentous time in history. The unprecedented rise of activism in digital channels proves that activism doesn’t require an offline context to generate real-world change. Now more than ever, activism needs to take an always-on approach, even—or especially—on platforms where it may not seem appropriate. 

In EMEA: Pride is for life

Due to COVID-19, Pride won’t take place in a physical space this year. In the absence of the party aspect, Pride has focused more on the movement’s activist roots, especially in the midst of global protests in support of Black Lives Matter. A stripped-back Pride also makes it more meaningful; we remember the reasons pride still exists in today’s world and focus our efforts on raising up the most vulnerable queer people in society.

Signals:

  1. Virtual Pride: Global Pride 2020 happened on June 27th via Facebook and Youtube, garnering an audience of over 300 million, also encouraging donations to the Pride Relief fund which supports struggling Pride organizations

  2. You! Me! Us! We! was this year’s Pride theme in London, focusing on the importance of community and solidarity amidst COVID-19, which has disproportionately put the LGBTQ community at risk 

  3. London Pride used the Piccadilly OOH for a virtual parade, showcasing brands and sections of the community that would have marched on June 27th

  4. Also taking center stage was PrideInside, a grassroots organization with the mission of bringing forth the diverse voices that make up the community via ClearChannel OOH billboards

Why it matters

While the LGBT community gathers every June to commemorate the Stonewall uprising and the brave actions of two transgender women of color fighting back against an oppressive system, the notion of Pride exists all year long. Even without the standard ways of investing or supporting Pride, brands should look for ways to engage in a year-round conversation, especially during a time that has put social inequalities into focus.