June 8, 2020

phield notes #1 Commerce can be a champion of change, as long as you walk the talk. 

Our mission at phidel is to evolve brands from product and service creators to agents of change. Today, authentic relationships between a brand and their consumers sit amid the social dialogue and should echo the constant evolution of consumer demand for brands to lead change and take action.


We strongly believe that shaping a better economy shapes a better world.

As your partner, we commit to always adopt a positive point of view when observing the social conversation and offering guidance to brands to take part of it.


It is an understatement to say that navigating this past week has been a personal and professional challenge for all of us. However, last week while listening to Adwoa Aboah’s conversation with Janaya Khan Future, we were reminded of exactly why we started phidel. It’s captured in this statement by Future, “It’s not just about what you stand for. It’s about who you sit with. It’s about who you seek out.”


So here’s who and what we’ve been sitting with and seeking out this past week:


Seth Godin’s thoughts on dignity.


Condoleezza Rice asking, “What will each of you do? My personal passion is educational opportunity, because it is a partial shield against prejudice.”


David Bowie asking MTV why there are so few black artists on MTV.


Bozoma Saint John (CMO of Endeavor ) on CNBC. “Sometimes, it’s not about changing the entire world,” Saint John said. “If you just look in your own backyard; if you just look in your own company, there are probably things you can do to help make a difference, even in employees’ lives, and that’s what’s most important now.”


Jacob Gallagher’s piece “Brands like Nike and Adidas Speak Out Against Racism. Is It Enough?”  in The Wall Street Journal ends with, “If a brand wants to take a stand, it might require more than words to convince an audience that it really cares. Consumers are done with platitudes and empty statements,” said Lehigh University’s Ms. Cesareo. “They want material action.” Similar observations are made in the Business of Fashion by M.C. Nanda.


As Future and Adwoa observed, an all-star league of activist brands and influencers have shown up for Black Lives Matter in the last week. Commerce can be a champion of change, as long as you walk the talk.


Sentiments of inclusivity and diversity are just that, sentiments. Several brands have been called out by consumers for their empty words. L’Oreal posted, “Speaking out is worth it,” despite firing transgender ambassador, Munroe Bergdorf, three years ago after she spoke out about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Business of Fashion reports on how consumers are looking for evidence of brands’ investment in diversity and supporting underserved communities that provide their inspiration. Perhaps most importantly, “Brands need to build credibility on these topics before the crisis moment arrives.”


Corporate activism is here to stay, but it will always be a work in progress. Ben & Jerry’s has been a leader in this field since the beginning. However, even its founders and current CEO recognize they still need to improve. As the CEO, Matthew McCarthy told The Wall Street Journal, “Equity is not a destination,” Mr. McCarthy said. “It’s definitely a process.” It’s messy, the situations can get sticky, but the company figures it’s worth the licks.”


You had a vision when starting your brand and product offering. For some it was inclusivity and for some it was sustainability. Now the actionable steps to include diversity in that vision begin. As always, we are here for you as you begin to prioritize your objectives and help you be a credible ally for all of the movements that need our support.

Our mission at phidel is to evolve brands from product and service creators to agents of change.