Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why every brand needs to learn from the organisation of #BlackLivesMatter

Businesses, charities and organisations everywhere can learn from the #BlackLivesMatter movement according to author Sam Conniff.

“We should all be getting our notebooks out and watching the level of organisation,” said Conniff, author of ‘Be More Pirate’. He said that since emerging as a hashtag, the organisation “just like the civil rights movement did” had been waiting for the right opportunity. “It was guaranteed that this was going to happen.”

“For the first time in our lifetime you have got protests in every single state, you have peaceful protests everywhere,” he added. “As a level of organisation, every other goddamn protesting campaign from climate change onwards should take a note – this is how to effect change appropriately – whether you agree with the cause or not.”

Conniff was speaking on the final day of the The 99//Club Digital Festival, a week-long event tackling the theme of ‘Emerge Stronger’. 

He was given just 99 seconds to sell his manifesto before being questioned by the internet audience. His pitch was that the world did not just face a crisis with Covid-19, but a “crisis in a crisis in a crisis in a crisis”.

“The Doomsday clock has moved closer to midnight than ever before,” he added.

Friday’s session focused in on innovation and also heard presentations from Vice’s Mark Adams, VP, innovation a nd Amy Kean, Brand and innovation director, partner at &us, who argued that Pythagoras was the original free thinker.

Google’s Craig Fenton, director of strategy and operations, and Milton Elias, head of platforms and innovations at News UK also spoke at the event.

The session – and event – finished with a House Party DJ set from record label Defected.

The week-long invite-only festival was a collaboration between MAD//Fest and New Digital Age, and follows a successful 99 Club event held earlier this year before lockdown. Over the course of five days 99 speakers debated topics across themes including media and tech, customer experience and personalisation, brand experience and creativity and innovation for growth.


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