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NewsOne on Wednesday hosted the second in its three-part virtual conversation series of panel discussions with corporate leaders and executives who are using their voices to advocate on behalf of Black communities. The series is in partnership with 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and is sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Marc Stephenson Strachan, senior executive at Diageo, and Jason Rosario, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at BBDO Worldwide and Founder & CEO of Lives of Men, got together to chop it up about the challenges and opportunities for multicultural executives and creatives in advertising. They also explored whether large companies are rising to the challenge of representing and supporting people of color in these racially challenging times.

When the topic turned to the responsibility that brands have to speak publicly to key cultural touchpoints, Strachan said companies do have an obligation of sorts. But with doing so comes an additional layer of responsibility, he said.

“I think brands have the responsibility in their purpose,” Strachan said, “to find ways to tie in with people’s lives in a relevant manner.”

He said brands need to bring a level of authenticity to develop return customers.

“You don’t get brand loyalty with the best commercials,” he said, emphasizing that corporations are finally realizing that they can’t just take Black people’s support for granted.

“You have to earn our respect, and you have to earn our association and you have to earn our dollars,” he said.

Strachan stressed that consumers recognize brands that are only now speaking out about certain topics and the ones that have been consistent in their timely messaging.

“Where were you last year?” he asked rhetorically. “Why now? Because the pressure’s on.”

Watch the full panel discussion below.

The final installment of NewsOne’s virtual conversation series with corporate leaders and executives who are using their voices to advocate on behalf of Black communities is scheduled for Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.