There are very crucial differences between “Cultural Appreciation” and “Cultural Appropriation” and Brands often unintentionally implement campaigns that – unknowingly – lean more towards the latter.
So, to all Marketers/Communicators, here are 5 important questions to ask to ensure what you’re doing is cultural appreciation, and not appropriation:
- Is there a true understanding of the history and cultural nuance? If no, it’s appropriation
- Are you utilizing symbols, objects, items, etc. in the correct context? Are you communicating the correct context/story behind it? If no, it’s appropriation
- Are you utilizing underrepresented, equity-seeking voices behind and in front of the lens to communicate or tell the story? If no, it’s appropriation
- Are you paying said voices fairly? If no, it’s appropriation
- Is your brand benefiting monetarily from this in an ongoing fashion? If so, how are you supporting the equity-seeking group monetarily in an ongoing fashion? If you’re not, it’s appropriation
Of course, there is nuance and more depth to this, but these are important first steps in determining the difference between appreciation and appropriation.