Your Public Relations and Communications Community

Empowering your stakeholders to take action


April 2, 2012

Social media has revolutionized the way that average citizens express their approval — and more often their disapproval — of how corporations, politicians and government treat them and respond to their needs.

Recently, CBS aired a segment on “Sunday Morning” titled, “How the Revolution Became Digitized,” that highlighted the public’s ability to shift power away from large institutions through social media and petition sites such as Change.org.

For example, outrage communicated via Facebook and  Twitter forced Susan G. Komen’s vice president to resign and spurred the organization to reinstate Planned Parenthood’s mammogram funding.

And now,  Tara Raines wants bra manufacturers to offer shades of  “nude” bras that are representative of every woman along the color spectrum — and she’s using social channels to reach them.

In January, Los Angeles-based Tara Raines, a 31-year-old psychologist, launched the Facebook fan page “What’s Your Nude?” petitioning women of color to email bra manufacturers and distributors to provide more color options for “nude” bras that match the skin tones of the “millions of brown-skinned women ready and willing to spend some cash.”

The result?  Tara’s “What’s Your Nude” campaign has gained significant media traction to date, including coverage in Huffington Post, Women’s Wear Daily and New York magazine. She’s galvanized nearly 4,000 fans to hound bra manufacturers and retailers for a greater range and quantity of brown bras.

On Feb. 10, Tara launhed her nationwide “Brown Bra Scavenger Hunt” on YouTube. She asked her supporters to visit major retailers, take photos or videos of the absence of brown bras in stores, and then share them via Twitter and Facebook.  Winners would receive a nude bra in their skin tone from BeingU, a boutique retailer specializing in lingerie for women of color.

Issues that matter

The brassiere industry — and PR practitioners — should take notice.  African-Americans will spend an estimated $1.1 trillion by 2015, and purchases made by Black women are the single biggest influence on the growth of African-American spending, according to studies from Nielsen Co. and  Target Market News.

With those kinds of numbers backing Raines’ movement, she stands to put a dent in the $203 million industry’s revenue stream.

Stakeholders are becoming more empowered to act on issues that matter to them. PR practitioners must follow CEO Richard Edelman’s lead and view public relations as public engagement by serving as strategic advisers to our organizations.

Being strategic includes engaging those audiences that are diverse in their skin color, backgrounds, interests, and their desire to be seen, heard and understood.

Raines says that she hopes to “mobilize women who are fed up over the lack of diversity in bra manufacturing,” arguing that the term “nude” shouldn’t refer only to a Caucasian skin tone.

Let’s hope that Tara’s effort will help inspire PR practitioners to stop talking at their audiences and start creating more engaging conversations.
 

Dionne C. Clemons, Ph.D. Dionne C. Clemons, Ph.D., is a strategic communications thought leader and educator. She currently serves as Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the United Planning Organization in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @Drdcclemons.



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