Dec. 14, 2020 By William White, Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart U.S.
Every day, we welcome shoppers of diverse backgrounds and walks of life into our stores and clubs. Not only do we want shoppers to feel safe and comfortable shopping with us, but we also want them to see their local Walmart as a place where they belong and as a place that belongs to them.
For years, we have been working with partners like the Ad Council on efforts to encourage unity and belonging in communities, including for those who were not born in the U.S. This month, we are excited to help launch a new campaign called Belonging Begins with Us, dedicated to fostering a more welcoming nation where everyone – regardless of their background – can feel they belong. My passion for inclusion comes from the frustration and heartbreak of seeing people being made to feel less than because of socioeconomic status, because of skin color or because of disabilities. In over 20 years of marketing, I’ve also seen the role that media and advertising play in reinforcing stereotypes.
It’s clear there is work to be done. According to a recent study, 6 in 10 Americans say the U.S. feels very divided today, and more than 40% of Americans feel that their trust in other people is worse because of the pandemic.
As the country’s largest retailer, we believe we have a responsibility to do what we can to help foster inclusion and unity, to be a force for good in communities across the U.S. With 150 million people visiting our stores, clubs and websites* each week, it is both a moral and a business imperative that we make sure everyone feel seen, heard and welcome in their touchpoints with the brand. These efforts go beyond the walls of our stores and clubs. Each of us has the power to make our neighborhoods, workplaces and schools more welcoming.
The first step starts now with PSAs reminding viewers of a common feeling we have all experienced – the pain of being excluded – and inspiring them to help others feel they belong. We’re donating media inventory on Walmart.com to drive awareness of the campaign beginning in mid-December. Starting in early 2021, Walmart will also donate ad space on our in-store TV walls.
The next phase of the campaign involves us encouraging others to reach outside one’s comfort zone to bring diverse groups together. Of course, in-person group efforts are going to have to wait for the time being, but I hope you’ll be thinking of ways to get involved in your community when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, here are some ideas about how to get involved, raise awareness and create a sense of belonging in your community. Some ideas include setting up a virtual recipe exchange or donating books with stories of belonging and inclusion to a local school.
Visit BelongingBeginsWithUs.org to read real stories of welcoming and belonging from across the country and be inspired by those who embrace their differences and work together to achieve common goals. Together, we can show care and concern for our neighbors, our coworkers and everyone who calls America home.