Every February, I watch the movie Panther. It documents the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party. It’s one of my favorite movies to watch to relieve the power and resilience of African Americans. The one thing that resonates with me the most from their story is the fact that they did not wait for change – they created it themselves. For those that are unfamiliar, the original Black Panther Party was formed in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.
The Black Panthers sought to protect African Americans from police brutality and improve their livelihoods through community organizing and community based programs. Many of their principles mirrored that of the teachings of Malcolm X. The Black Panthers created a 10 point plan which documented their objectives and guided their actions.
The story of the Black Panthers is not only an inspiration and a rich look at Black history, but it also taught me the importance of branding. One can learn a great deal about the power of branding from the legacy of the Black Panthers. In honor of Black History Month, I want to share with you the 3 branding lessons that stand out to me from the Black Panthers:
- Content Matters – The Black Panthers published a paper called The Black Panther. In this publication, the party was able to express their disdain for police brutality and other injustices as well as showcase what they were doing to improve conditions. In the second edition of this paper, the Black Panthers published their 10 point plan which was mentioned early. Publishing is the best way to connect with those you serve. Writing and guest blogging helps you to get the word out about what you’re doing and gain buy in from your target market.
- Colors & Logos are Important – The seal of the Black Panthers was of course, a Black Panther. Even today, many still understand what that symbol signifies. Additionally, the Black Panthers were easily recognizable during their time as they wore all Black, pins and their signature hats. Just this weekend at the Superbowl, Beyonce’s backup dancers wore outfits in homage of the Black Panthers and it was easily recognizable. When considering your own brand colors and logos, does it truly represent who you are? If your logo is an image, can your audience properly articulate the meaning behind it?
- Build Your Tribe – The Black Panthers were able to prosper for years because they sought to build a community. Huey and Bobby knew that they could not cause change alone so they recruited others who had similar values. As an entrepreneur, as glamorous as it sounds, you cannot do everything alone. You must build relationships and gain the support of others within and outside of your industry. There is power in numbers. Collaborations and mastermind groups are great outlets to find others who will help you grow and vice versa.
Tell me, what’s one thing you’ve learned about branding and business from the awesome legacy of the Black Panther Party?