Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Partnerships Pave the Way: How Hero Collective is Setting an Example for How Larger Companies Should Interact With Smaller, Independent Minority Companies 

Earlier this week, Hero Collective announced two new, strategic partnerships with Carat U.S. and Bustle Digital Group. While both of these partnerships are unique and focused on different areas of culture, they do prioritize one thing: the minority perspective. Both companies are making an effort to speak to the people of color that have been supporting their businesses for many years. It made sense to team up with a minority-owned media and marketing agency that knows the minority story and can speak to its demographics. So why haven’t more larger companies created similar partnerships with independent companies that don’t just know but are the target audience since the summer of 2020 enlightened society on the severe lack of diversity? 

Aiming to speak to minority groups has, unfortunately, been oversimplified due to the easy access to these groups via social media. Larger corporations that vowed to support Black innovators were not exactly specific in how they would do so. What they gave these communities were info-graphics on Instagram stating facts they already knew, commercials that finally featured more diversity, and more promises for change. But what these communities want, what they need, is actual progress. 

According to Statista, Black Americans only made up 10% of the boards of the top 200 media companies while Asian Americans made up 8% and Hispanic Americans 4%.

Progress ultimately needs to come in the form of a commitment to reverse the inequality of representation in all different parts of different industries. It goes beyond surface-level change that can be posted about once and never spoken about again. People want to see their community members leading the way in finance, film, technology, and everything in-between. They want to be able to tell the younger members of their community that hope exists out there and that they can strive for more, hoping to reach the level of success their leaders have. 

So are CEOs doing their part? The short answer is yes. About 92% of CEOs have stated that their companies have increased a focus on mental health due to the pandemic. However, only 70% of employees say that they are doing a good job at prioritizing mental health. Though that is a good amount of employees, there is still a concern for the 30% that feels unsupported. If leaders want their team to succeed when the odds are against them, they need to ensure that all of their members feel well enough to dedicate time to their work.

While some companies continue to have their DEI observed and displayed for all to track their progress, most are still focused on smaller steps to progress. That being said, the most necessary move towards change needs to be an increase in positions for minority leaders to take up. If industries are concerned with telling the people of color’s stories, they need to have actual people of color executing these narratives. If they want to promote products that are for minorities, they need to have minorities marketing and advertising for them. 

These minority innovators and business owners have been overshadowed by larger companies for far too long. In the movement towards diversity and inclusion that often includes partnerships with independent companies, these larger businesses should be aware of the unjust past in order to make way for a better future. Commitments to change can include information for the general public but, at its core, it needs to be rooted in a willingness to support those that deserve more exposure and higher-level opportunities.