Understanding digital brand messaging during the Black Lives Matter Movement with Nicole Schuman

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

An interview that reveals trends and tips on brand messaging on social media in response to the death of George Floyd

By: Deken Taylor, AGENZ Brand and Media Relations Manager

AGENZ embarks on their second virtual cup of coffee, a series of information interviews over Zoom with Nicole Schuman from PRNEWS. Schuman emphasized how important it is for organizations to address issues over social movements.

“Companies, in terms of public relations, need to follow up with their actions.” she says.

Professional Backgrounder

Schuman is content manager and reporter for PRNEWS. For over 75 years, The PRNEWS Group dedicates its services to growing PR and marketing professionals’ skills in crisis management, digital PR, measurement, media training, and CSR, and writing. Schuman has worked in the social media industry for over 10 years with several brands in different industries. She also used to teach college students in web and communication courses.

What Brands are Doing

The Black Lives Matter movement once again, erupted all over social media after the footage of George Floyd was released. This crisis resulted in organizations having to decide when to act over the loss of Floyd and how to respond to the rest of the black community. Due to this, Schuman has focused on targeting diversity and covering inclusion in her recent articles which can be found here. It would be wise from a PR standpoint to include diversity and inclusion (D&I) content in internal and external messages and communications in a timely manner.

Nicole Schuman talks about brand messaging to AGENZers from her New York office.

“Sometimes being silent instead of addressing the conflict, can backfire,” Schuman explains. “When you’re using your words in PR, its important to make sure that you are using their [the client’s] voice.”

Many brands have responded by making a statement that addressed it’s partnership on their platforms about the movement and by donating. Others have publicly endorsed Black Lives Matter, but have not taken action to support the cause which is discussed more here.

Last Sips of Advice

Since Gen Z have been actively leading the Black Lives Matter movement, organizations should conduct their D&I messaging so it would appeal to them. CEO’s should have a communication team monitor their social media to avoid any negative press.

“Make sure you give your CEO a lesson on Twitter [social media] before they go rogue on it,” Schuman says.

Many CEO’s have already stepped down since the movement regained its momentum, some being voluntarily while others was due because of controversy.

PR professionals should really focus on making messages transparent and sensitive toward the public on behalf of their clients and employees.


Deken Taylor: I have always loved creating and telling stories to others since I was young. Known to light up any room, I find compassion with helping people. Public relation trends are always a plus. Right now, I serve as Brand and Media Relations Manager for AGENZ.