“I can’t breathe.” We all now know these words. Words that bring us the paralyzing image of a man being murdered by the abuse of power. So brutal and traumatizing that we want to turn away. But the country did not turn away.
Thousands have taken to the streets to protest. Thousands more expressing themselves in every medium.
While some have chosen this moment to divide us, either with more violence or words to incite, most have chosen to lock arms and say, “Enough is enough. We are better than this.”
I am so proud of our own Ohio Gov. DeWine who said, “Everything I’ve seen around this world and every time of pain, in those moments, we are one person. It is so basic…. this is the time we must act.”
Perhaps we are all ready for change because of this moment in time. When, due to this pandemic, the world has been afraid to breathe for months. When breath has been taken away from over 100,000 Americans in such a short time.
For the last few months, we at The Shipyard have been counseling our clients to engage more than ever with people during this pandemic. Our agency released a podcast series called Voices of Resilience focusing on our mental health during this crisis.
So, what should business leaders do now that we are facing even more adversity? Should we stay quiet? Not make waves? No. We need to engage more than ever. We need to express our values as loudly and clearly as possible.
The business community of Ohio has brought comfort, joy, protection, shelter, clothing and food to all people in our communities. People need to hear our voices. And as marketers…. we have the power and resources to reach millions.
So, reach out. Talk with your employees. Speak to your customers. Engage your community.
Tell them what you believe. Give them optimism about the future. And a desire for unity no matter the color of our skin. Your voice matters. Right now. More than ever. We all can help this country breathe again.
Rick Milenthal is the CEO of The Shipyard, headquartered in Columbus, is a leading, independent marketing consultancy and the world’s first “marketing engineering” agency.