The Pawsitive Power of Petfluencers: A Look at the Influence of Pets in Marketing

The Pawsitive Power of Petfluencers: A Look at the Influence of Pets in Marketing

Are you ready to meet the newest stars of the digital age? “Petfluencers” are taking the internet by storm, and their adorable antics have made them beloved by millions around the world. From cuddly cats to playful pups, these social media sensations are sure to put a smile on your face – and possibly help your business grow!

“Petfluencers,” which is short for “pet influencers,” are beloved pets who have their own social media profiles, dedicated fan bases, and substantial online engagement. From an Instagram-famous French Bulldog to a Twitter-famous parrot to a TikTok-trending cat, these and other fascinating animals are competing to attract brand attention and sponsorships.

Do you remember Tardar Sauce… aka Grumpy Cat? At the time of her passing in 2019, she had reached a net worth of $100 million! She was a petfluencer before the concept took off. So, although our pets are guaranteed to bring love, joy, and companionship into our lives… they may also have the potential to become superstars!

Let’s dive into the fascinating rise of petfluencer marketing and what it means for brands in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.

The Petfluencer Phenomenon

It is no secret that petfluencer marketing has seen a surge in popularity. A huge factor in this involves pet adoptions, which have increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2022, more than 73% of households in Canada owned a pet, with 54% of Millennials calling themselves “pet parents.” (Source:

In recent years, pet ownership has the potential to become a financially rewarding endeavour, with some petfluencers earning upwards of $15,000 per post. This is likely due to the undeniable fact that pets are far more adorable than their human counterparts! The competition is heating up, though… nearly a quarter of pet owners are now attempting to transform their animal companions into social media celebrities.

This rise in petfluencer marketing has also presented a unique opportunity for brands to better connect with their customers. By taking advantage of the bond between pet owners and their companions, brands can create content that resonates and produces meaningful results. The best part? Petfluencer marketing is a powerful tool that does not require a large budget, making it an appealing option for businesses of all sizes. As the digital world continues to evolve, petfluencer marketing has the potential to remain an essential part of a successful marketing strategy.

Authenticity and Relatability

One of the key reasons behind the rise of petfluencers is their authenticity. Pets have genuine and unfiltered reactions, as opposed to human influencers who could be perceived as endorsing goods purely for financial gain. When a dog gets excited about a new toy or a cat playfully interacts with a product, it feels real, and audiences appreciate that honesty.

Plus, pets touch the core of our emotions. They can easily forge a deep emotional bond with their followers because of their simplicity, loyalty, and eccentric personalities. Given that they can result in greater consumer loyalty and brand advocacy, brands are keen on seeking out the power of these connections.

The Universal Appeal of Animals and Their Impact on Brands

Pets are a universal language. Regardless of cultural or language barriers, the love for animals transcends borders. This makes petfluencers highly accessible to global audiences, allowing brands to reach a diverse demographic with a single cute furry or feathery face. The growing popularity of petfluencers has opened up exciting opportunities for brands looking to connect with audiences in unique ways. Here’s how “petfluencer” marketing benefits brands:

#1. Enhanced Engagement. Petfluencer posts tend to receive higher engagement rates than traditional influencer marketing. Their adorable content draws viewers in, resulting in more likes, comments, and shares. This increased engagement can significantly boost brand visibility and reach.

#2. Authentic Storytelling. Through petfluencers, brands can tell authentic and heartwarming stories. For example, a pet food company can showcase the improvement of a rescue dog’s health after switching to its product, creating a touching narrative that resonates with viewers.

#3. Increased Trust. Audiences tend to trust the recommendations of petfluencers more than traditional advertisements. An endorsement from a cherished pet offers a degree of credibility and sincerity that money alone cannot buy.

#4. Diverse Campaigns. Petfluencers can work with brands on all sorts of campaigns, from product launches and reviews to charity partnerships and cause-related marketing. The versatility of petfluencer marketing allows brands to align with their specific goals and values.

#5. Viral Potential. Since petfluencer content is shareable and heartwarming, it has a great chance of going viral. Virality, in turn, can lead to immense exposure and brand recognition in a short amount of time.

Over to You

Petfluencer marketing is more than a trend; it’s a testament to the power of our beloved pets. Their emotional connections and universal charm make them powerful influencers. Brands can tap into creativity, authenticity, and heartwarming storytelling that resonates with their audiences. As the saying goes, “Every dog has its day.” And, in today’s marketing landscape, that day belongs to the petfluencers!

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Twitter Blue…And Beyond

Twitter Blue…And Beyond

Do you remember when Twitter was a trustworthy source for real-time updates on breaking news, politics, celebrity gossip, and personal opinions? Unfortunately, the once-loved site is currently undergoing changes that are raising doubts and sparking debates across the internet. Twitter, now X, is seemingly undergoing a collapse that extends beyond technological issues – it is also becoming a shell of its former self.

Although many people may be struggling to see Twitter’s value, it is important to remember that it still enables countless conversations and connections for its users worldwide. The platform has been – and continues to be – a place where people can express their ideas and connect with others who share similar interests. Some businesses see the advantage in keeping active on Twitter if they have an audience there. However, for many users, the value of remaining on the platform leaves much to be desired.

Twitter’s Transitional Uncertainty

The app has been impacted by massive disruptions just months after Elon Musk took over the corporation. A particularly notable incident saw all links to external websites suddenly cease to function leaving users frustrated and perplexed. Even the widely used Tweetdeck was not spared from these technical hiccups. Such disruptions aren’t unprecedented, of course, but they’ve taken on a new level of unpredictability under Musk’s leadership.

A critical blow was dealt by the mass layoffs that saw more than half of Twitter’s workforce ousted. The aftermath left essential teams dealing with bugs, content moderation, and advertiser relations shorthanded and struggling to keep the platform afloat.

Twitter’s Unconventional Path

The consequences of Musk’s unconventional approach go beyond technological issues. His belief in “free speech absolutism” motivated him to reinstate accounts previously suspended “permanently” for numerous violations. This policy change unintentionally fuelled an increase in hate speech, raising questions about the platform’s commitment to providing a safe environment for users. This is one of the main reasons people have departed in droves for other online platforms where they feel more comfortable discussing their ideas.

Musk’s excursion into product development hasn’t been any smoother. The ambitious Twitter Blue, designed to offer a paid version of the platform with the perk of a verification badge, suffered from a botched rollout. Musk’s intention to level the playing field inadvertently led to spam and impersonations. And while Musk pledged a renewed paid API version, his abrupt termination of third-party app support tarnished the company’s relationship with developers who had enriched the platform.

Some were initially encouraged by Musk’s takeover of Twitter – perhaps the billionaire entrepreneur could breathe new life into a stagnant platform, for example. Under Musk’s leadership, investors, corporations, and regular users were optimistic about the platform’s revival. He was perceived as a free speech advocate who could broaden the range of voices on the app. Unfortunately, the reality is far from these initial expectations.

The Disconnect Between Musk’s Vision and Twitter’s Reality

The business side of Twitter is under threat, as evidenced by the departure of 500 major advertisers since Musk’s takeover. Advertisers are concerned about Musk’s erratic behaviour and the alarming surge in hate speech. The top 30 advertisers cut their spending on Twitter by an average of 42% under Musk’s tenure so far. His solution of encouraging more users to pay for subscriptions hasn’t been successful, with less than 0.2% of monthly active users opting for paid plans.

Contrary to Musk’s claims of Twitter’s growing user base, external data tells a different story. Traffic was higher before, and the app’s growth continues to decline. Twitter’s trustworthiness is deteriorating, and Musk’s goal of a more open and inclusive space remains mostly unrealized.

Elon Musk’s aspirations to revolutionize Twitter appear to be taking a different course than anticipated. The company’s financial future is uncertain, user trust is waning, and the promises of a more open platform are mired in inconsistencies. X’s journey has been anything but smooth sailing – but will it be able to reclaim its former glory, or will it go down in history as just another app that couldn’t make it through the transition? Only time will tell.

An Honest Opinion

Philip Berne, a Senior Editor at TechRadar, recently published his opinions about the perceived negative changes Twitter has undergone since Musk took over. His article, aptly titled “Sorry, Elon Musk, I Signed Up for Twitter, Not X. Now It’s Time to Go,” provides several reasons why he, as a once avid user of the platform since 2009, has decided he is now done with it. Berne sums his opinions up with the following lines:

I didn’t sign up for Twitter: The Payments App. I didn’t sign up for goods and services. I didn’t sign up for Everything. I signed up for Twitter.

For everything that Elon Musk has ‘accomplished’ since he bought Twitter, the biggest thing he hasn’t been able to deliver is Twitter.

Over to You

As a business owner, you should always consider which social media sites are ideal for your organization. X (formerly known as Twitter) has recently become a less popular platform for many, especially since its reach and capabilities can be hindered if you do not have a verified account. So, is being “verified” worth the monthly fee? Depending on your business goals, resources, and audience’s preferences, it may be worth it. Or you may be interested in diving into alternative platforms. Whatever you choose, MYOB Inc. will be watching, assessing, and helping you with your strategy.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Customer Retention Strategies: Fostering Loyalty and Repeat Business

Customer Retention Strategies: Fostering Loyalty and Repeat Business

As a business owner, you probably already know that acquiring new clients is essential, but retaining your current clientele is equally important — if not more so. As such, customer retention strategies are a must-have for fostering loyalty and ensuring repeat business.

By focusing on building solid relationships with existing customers, organizations can enjoy benefits such as continued support and referrals. Before discussing ways to enhance customer loyalty and increase the likelihood of repeat business, it’s a good idea to recognize the value of nurturing relationships with your current customers.

Understanding the Significance of Customer Retention

Customer retention refers to keeping existing customers engaged and satisfied to ensure they continue to choose your products or services over those of your competitors.

There are several reasons why customer retention is crucial for business success. First, retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. It is estimated that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than sustaining an existing one.

Secondly, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your brand to others, leading to positive word-of-mouth marketing and potential new customers. Additionally, customer retention allows businesses to build long-term relationships with their customers, which leads to increased trust and loyalty over time.

Effective Customer Retention Strategies

In this ever-changing landscape of doing business, where customer choices abound, implementing effective customer retention strategies is the cornerstone of building enduring relationships and fostering unwavering loyalty. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

#1. Personalized Communication: Remember – customers are real people and should be treated as individuals rather than account numbers. Send tailored emails, offers, and suggestions based on their preferences and previous interactions.

#2. Exceptional Customer Service: Quick and courteous customer service goes a long way. Respond to issues and inquiries as soon as possible. This is a perfect way to show customers how much you respect their time and concerns.

#3. Loyalty Programs: Implement loyalty programs that reward customers for their repeat business. These can include discounts, exclusive offers, or even a points-based system that leads to special perks.

#4. Regular Engagement: Stay connected with your customers through various channels, such as social media, newsletters, and blogs. Provide valuable content that keeps them informed and engaged.

#5. Quality Products and Services: The foundation of customer retention is delivering consistent quality. Your products/services should meet or exceed customer expectations, ensuring their satisfaction.

#6. Feedback and Improvement: Seek out client input and use it to improve your offers. Customers will feel more connected to your brand if they perceive that their ideas are acknowledged and contribute to improvements.

#7. “Surprise and Delight”: Consider surprising your customers with unexpected incentives or presents every so often. Doing so can foster a favourable emotional connection and make them feel valued.

#8. Community Building: Create a sense of belonging by building a community around your brand. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as social media groups, online forums, or even in-person events that bring your customers together.

#9. Stay Relevant: Keep a watchful eye on what is trending within your industry. Then, be sure to consistently adapt your products or services to satisfy the ever-changing requirements of your customers. Providing them with what they need – when they need it – will go a long way toward developing their loyalty and repeat business.

Over to you

As you can see, achieving and maintaining customer retention is a cornerstone of business success. Even better? It’s fairly easy to foster loyalty, encourage repeat business, and turn satisfied customers into brand advocates. Remember that in the long run, it’s not just about making sales; it’s about building meaningful relationships that stand the test of time.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

The Rebranding of Twitter: Does “X” Mark the Spot?

The Rebranding of Twitter: Does “X” Mark the Spot?

In a stunning strategic move, billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has rebranded the popular social media platform Twitter as “X.” This decision has sparked intense discussions across the internet. Every day, I see these and similar hashtags trending:

  • #RIPTwitter
  • #GoodbyeTwitter
  • #TwitterIsDead
  • #TwitterIsCancelled

You get the idea. So, although Musk’s plans for Twitter’s future are ambitious, they also prompt concerns about the potential benefits and drawbacks of such a radical rebranding.

The new Twitter name, “X,” has some users wondering what Musk’s goals are for the network. The rebranding could result in an entirely new direction for the platform, including the introduction of new features and capabilities. Netizens have been left speculating about Musk’s endgame, but whatever Musk has in store for Twitter will undoubtedly make headlines.

Rebranding a well-established platform like Twitter is a significant decision with advantages and downsides. Let’s look at what rebranding could mean for Twitter and some of the benefits and drawbacks of doing so.

The Vision Behind “X”

With the rebranding to “X,” Elon Musk hopes to transform Twitter into a more inclusive, adaptable, and futuristic platform. Musk noted when he first announced the rebranding that the new name stands for “the variable, the unknown, and the unexplored possibilities.” According to him, this transition represents Twitter’s intention to expand beyond its current identity and take on a broader scale.

One of the core elements of the rebranding is to emphasize user privacy and data protection. Musk envisions a platform that safeguards user information and respects the boundaries of personal data, setting an example for the tech industry. He also plans to use cutting-edge technologies, such as enhanced AI moderation systems, to address issues like misinformation and abuse more efficiently.

Regardless of how you feel about the changes, rebranding Twitter could be an excellent way to improve the platform’s image, reach new audiences, and increase its user base. Here are some of the most notable benefits of Twitter’s rebranding that you should be aware of.

Pros of Rebranding

#1. A Fresh Start and Reinvention. Rebranding Twitter as “X” provides an opportunity for the platform to distance itself from past controversies and present itself as a rejuvenated entity. This “clean slate” approach could attract new users and re-engage old ones.

#2. Broadening Horizons. With its new identity, Twitter can diversify its offerings and explore new business avenues beyond microblogging. The changes could lead to more cutting-edge or user-friendly features to help the platform reach new audiences and attract new user demographics.

#3. Focus on Privacy. With growing concerns about data security and privacy breaches online, Musk’s emphasis on user data protection could significantly enhance user trust in the platform.

#4. Innovation and AI Advancements. Twitter has been criticized for its role in spreading misinformation and hate speech for quite a while. However, a new commitment to improving AI moderation systems can help create a safer online environment by reducing the spread of harmful content, hate speech, and misinformation.

Overall, rebranding Twitter may be a good thing for the platform. However, it is equally necessary to consider the disadvantages.

Cons of Rebranding

#1. User Confusion and Resistance. With Twitter’s rebranding, its long-time users may struggle to adapt to the new identity and features. This may cause a short drop in user engagement because some users may prefer the familiarity of the old platform. The challenge lies in effectively communicating the changes to users and ensuring a seamless transition to the new brand.

#2. Brand Equity Loss. Twitter has spent years building a robust brand with widespread recognition and user loyalty. Rebranding abruptly to a new name may result in a loss of brand equity while diminishing the emotional connection users have with the previous name. As a result, gaining new users and retaining existing ones may become more challenging.

#3. Cost and Time Investment. Rebranding Twitter requires significant resources in terms of time and money. Implementing a comprehensive rebranding involves creating new branding materials, such as a logo, website, and marketing campaign. If the rebranding fails to resonate with users, this investment may not yield immediate returns, and the long-term benefits could remain uncertain.

#4. Criticism and Backlash. Users who enjoyed the old interface and functions are likely to be critical of large-scale modifications to a widely used platform. The public backlash could harm the company’s reputation, affect user sentiment, and potentially lead to a loss of revenue and advertiser support.

More likely than not, Elon Musk has carefully weighed all his options and sought feedback from users and stakeholders before making those big decisions that will shape the platform’s future.

Over to You

Elon Musk’s bold decision to rebrand Twitter as “X” signals a promising evolution for the platform, potentially setting new standards for data privacy and user experience. However, the road to success is not without challenges. The pros of rebranding, including a fresh start and privacy emphasis, are balanced by the cons of potential user confusion and brand equity loss.

As X continues to emerge and reveal its unique features, the coming weeks and months will be crucial in determining its adoption and impact on the digital world. It is still to be seen if Musk’s gamble will pay off or serve as a cautionary tale for all business owners.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Harnessing the Power of AI for Small Business Success in a Digitally Driven World

Harnessing the Power of AI for Small Business Success in a Digitally Driven World

Staying competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment requires adopting and embracing technological advancements. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is one such innovation that has attracted increasing interest. While artificial intelligence (AI) was once considered a “luxury” available only to larger organizations, it is now more widely accessible to small businesses, creating new opportunities for success, growth, and efficiency.

Although some people are concerned that technology will ultimately replace them, this isn’t necessarily the case. AI is merely a tool that can enhance the efficiency of your small business, regardless of whether jobs are impacted or not. The truth is that technology has become an invaluable tool for small business owners. Many routine operations that keep your business running can be automated with a few easy clicks. This means you can save time and money while enhancing your productivity.

In addition, AI can assist in obtaining and retaining customer loyalty and revenue by helping you gain useful insights into their behaviour. This will enable you to make informed decisions about how to engage with them and discover what products or services to offer them. Overall, AI has the potential to help businesses become more competitive in a rapidly changing industry.

Let’s look at the potential of AI for small businesses, including how it can transform operations, streamline procedures, and enable business owners to prosper in a world driven by technology.

Also, to be completely transparent, I did use Open AI’s ChatGPT to generate lists of resources for each section to illustrate the different types of solutions available. *Warning* Using ChatGPT or similar apps for searching can be highly addictive! 😉

How AI can help your small business

Reshaping Customer Service and Human Resources

AI has the potential to completely transform the customer service industry, which is crucial to the success of any business. Small businesses can provide round-the-clock customer support, promptly responding to inquiries and resolving issues with the help of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants. These automated systems can “learn” how to facilitate transactions, offer product information, and make personalized recommendations, improving the overall customer experience while freeing up human resources to work on tasks that are more involved and challenging. All these things and more are ways businesses can use AI to ensure their customers always have the best experience possible.

ChatGPT’s list of popular AI tools for customer service and human resources that can help streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and improve the overall experience for both employees and customers includes the following:

  • Chatbots: Chatbots are AI-powered tools that can interact with customers or employees in real-time, providing instant support and assistance. They can handle basic inquiries, provide information, and guide users through various processes.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) Tools: NLP tools enable machines to understand and interpret human language, allowing for more effective communication and analysis. These tools can be used for sentiment analysis, language translation, and automated email response systems.
  • Virtual Assistants: Virtual assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, can be utilized to automate routine tasks and provide quick answers to common questions. They can be integrated with customer service platforms and HR systems to enhance user experience.
  • Predictive Analytics Tools: Predictive analytics tools leverage AI algorithms to analyze large volumes of data and predict future outcomes. In customer service, these tools can help identify patterns, forecast demand, and personalize customer interactions. In HR, they can be used for talent acquisition, workforce planning, and employee retention.
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): RPA tools automate repetitive tasks by mimicking human interactions with software systems. They can be employed in customer service and HR departments to handle data entry, data validation, and generate reports, freeing up human resources for more strategic and value-added activities.
  • Employee Engagement Platforms: AI-powered employee engagement platforms enable organizations to gather feedback, conduct surveys, and measure employee sentiment. These tools can help HR departments identify areas for improvement, enhance employee satisfaction, and ultimately increase productivity.
  • Resume Screening and Candidate Evaluation Tools: AI tools can assist HR departments in screening resumes, matching candidates to job requirements, and evaluating applicants based on predefined criteria. These tools can save time and effort in the recruitment process while ensuring unbiased candidate selection.
Streamlining Routine Tasks

Automating repetitive operations can help boost efficiency and productivity. Individuals and businesses alike can save time and prevent errors by automating repetitive processes. People then have more time to concentrate on other critical tasks that necessitate human attention and ingenuity.

There are numerous tools and software available today to assist with task automation. Examples include those used for social media post scheduling, sending automated emails, and compiling reports. To ensure the automation process is effective and efficient, you’ll want to start by determining which tasks may be automated and which require human intervention.

ChatGPT’s list of popular AI tools that can automate repetitive and tedious business operations, saving time and increasing productivity include:

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tools: These can perform tasks such as data entry, form filling, report generation, and data validation. Some popular RPA tools include UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism.
  • Workflow Automation Tools: These tools can help with task management, approval workflows, and notifications. Examples of workflow automation tools include Zapier, Microsoft Power Automate, and IFTTT.
  • Data Entry and Extraction Tools: These tools can significantly reduce manual data entry efforts and improve accuracy. Examples include Rossum, ParseHub, and Grooper.
  • Social Media Management Platforms: Social media management platforms like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Loomly, and Buffer offer automation features to schedule and publish posts across multiple social media channels. They also provide analytics and monitoring capabilities to track engagement, mentions, and other key metrics.
Developing Customized Marketing Campaigns

Effective marketing is a must for small businesses to reach their target audience and boost conversions. Business owners can create customized marketing campaigns using AI by looking at client data, preferences, and previous interactions. Businesses can then offer information, suggestions, and offers to their customers by thoroughly understanding their preferences and requirements. By adopting these strategies, businesses can develop an ongoing connection with their customers, contributing to increased engagement and conversions.

Here are some AI tools that can assist in creating customized marketing campaigns:

  • Customer Segmentation Tools: AI-powered customer segmentation tools, such as Optimizely, Mixpanel, and Adobe Target can help you identify distinct customer segments and tailor your marketing campaigns accordingly.
  • Dynamic Content Generation Tools: AI-powered tools like Persado and Phrasee can help generate personalized and compelling marketing copy.
  • A/B Testing and Optimization Tools: AI tools for A/B testing and optimization, such as Optimizely and Adobe Target, can automate the process of testing different variations of marketing campaigns and determining the most effective elements.
Cybersecurity and Fraud Detection

Businesses of all sizes are becoming increasingly concerned about cybersecurity threats. AI can dramatically improve fraud detection and security by observing patterns, detecting abnormalities, and detecting possible hazards. AI-powered solutions can provide real-time alerts and preventative steps to help protect small businesses against cyberattacks, data breaches, and financial losses.

Here are some AI tools for cybersecurity and fraud detection:

  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS): AI-powered IDPS solutions, such as Darktrace and Vectra, use machine learning algorithms to analyze network behaviour patterns and identify anomalous activities, helping organizations respond quickly to potential cyber threats.
  • Malware Detection and Analysis: AI-based malware detection tools, such as CylancePROTECT and CrowdStrike Falcon, utilize machine learning algorithms to identify and classify malware based on behavioural patterns and file characteristics.
  • Vulnerability Management Tools: Vulnerability management solutions like and Qualys utilize AI to assess and prioritize vulnerabilities in systems and networks.

Over to You

One of our clients, Leonard F. Baer PLLC, recently wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog post called “AI Ate My Homework.” It’s a fun post that includes some of his observations about AI and how it’s changing the world as we know it. You’ll want to read it!

But, in all seriousness, small businesses can no longer ignore the potential of AI. By learning about AI technologies, entrepreneurs can open new avenues of effectiveness, productivity, and growth. AI empowers smaller businesses to compete with larger competitors on an equal playing field. In this digitally driven world, embrace AI and experience its transforming power for your small business.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Performative Allyship vs. Supportive Allyship: Why It’s Crucial to Understand the Difference

Performative Allyship vs. Supportive Allyship: Why It’s Crucial to Understand the Difference

The concept of allyship has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. As a result, more businesses and individuals are expressing solidarity with traditionally underrepresented and even oppressed communities. However, there is a significant difference between performative and supportive allyship. It is vital to understand this distinction to ensure that your efforts are authentic and relevant and contribute to positive change.

For example, Pride Month just ended. Throughout the month, you probably saw many rainbow logos and colours. There were many businesses who were simply sporting the logos since it’s what others are doing. They would fall into the performative allyship category. The businesses whose staff genuinely support the LGBTQ2IA+ community go beyond jumping on the trend du jour. Theirs’ is an example of supportive allyship.

In mid-2020, more than 28 million Instagram users posted black squares to show their support for the protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With that number, it is safe to say that many who displayed those black squares on their social media had good intentions but were probably more caught up with appearing supportive rather than actually being supportive offline.

So, what makes someone an ally? Is allyship an identity, and who has the right to claim it? Let’s explore this further by learning more about the distinction between performative and supportive allyship.

Performative Allyship: Superficial Gestures that Lack Genuine Commitment

Performative allyship refers to actions or statements that give the illusion of support and solidarity with marginalized groups without genuine intent or commitment. Instead of coming from genuinely understanding the issues, it frequently results from a desire to appear moral or socially acceptable. Performative allies may make ineffective displays of support, such as sharing social media content or putting on symbolic clothing, without actively opposing oppressive structures or putting in the work to make genuine changes. This category of allyship often prioritizes optics over meaningful action – perhaps to avoid being “cancelled”. But unfortunately, this form of allyship perpetuates a cycle of empty gestures and hollow promises.

Key Characteristics of Performative Allyship:

#1. Superficiality: Performative allies focus on performative acts rather than addressing the root causes of systemic oppression. Their actions tend to be surface-level and lack substance or depth.

#2. Inconsistency: Instead of sustaining consistent support and engagement over time, performative allies may only participate in allyship during high-profile events or when it becomes trendy.

#3. Self-Centeredness: Performative allyship often centres around the ally’s image and seeks personal validation rather than centring the voices and needs of marginalized communities. In other words, the businesses that participate in this manner are more interested in receiving a “pat on the back” and recognition for their efforts before returning to business as usual after the month or event has ended.

Supportive allyship requires more than performative acts; it instead necessitates education, self-reflection, and a willingness to challenge one’s own privilege. This type of allyship is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and a commitment to learning and unlearning. It means recognizing that allyship is not about personal validation or recognition but about supporting and advocating for those who face discrimination and marginalization. To be supportive allies, we must move beyond performative gestures and engage in meaningful actions that contribute to real change.

Supportive Allegiance; Sincere Engagement

Supportive allyship involves sincere engagement and dedication to opposing systemic injustices. Supportive allies actively seek out information about the struggles faced by marginalized groups, pay attention to their concerns, and work to destroy oppressive systems. Rather than simply showing support, they emphasize collaboration and take the lead in enacting meaningful change.

Primary Qualities of Supportive Allyship:

#1. Active Learning: To comprehend the subtleties and complexities of marginalized communities’ experiences, supportive allies continually educate themselves about the issues they’re standing up for.

#2. Amplifying Voices: Supportive allies give marginalized communities a platform and resources to speak out, assisting them in their efforts to bring about change. Allyship is not about your business and how great of an ally you are – it is about embracing others and amplifying the message.

#3. Taking Initiative: Allies who are supportive actively combat discriminatory systems and practices, both in their personal lives and in broader societal contexts. They are committed to creating long-lasting change and are willing to do the necessary work, even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient.

Over to You

Understanding the difference between performative and supportive allyship is essential for businesses that wish to support any given cause. Performative allyship may offer temporary validation but lacks the depth and substance required to drive significant change. It may also result in followers questioning your authenticity. Supportive allyship, on the other hand, requires a genuine commitment to learning, listening, and taking concrete actions to challenge systemic oppression.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger