Every four years, the United States has an opportunity to shift gears and move in a new direction. With the Biden administration, the U.S. has ushered in a new era — but we will need more than a new voice in the White House to solve society’s biggest challenges.
Most of the challenges we face today — COVID-19, misinformation, political extremism, lack of trust in our nation’s systems and shocking wealth inequality, to name a handful — are not new by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is President Biden a fresh face in American politics. His cabinet, however, is being hailed as one of the most diverse ever.
Similarly, the racial justice movements of 2020 have sparked conversations that have lifted voices new to the general American public but not new to those long engaged in the work of justice. In this, we see a broadening of the small circle that is mainstream conversation. That expansion opens up significant new opportunities and resources for those voices and movements elevated to national consciousness. One recent example of this is Amanda Gorman, former U.S. Youth Poet Laureate, whose inaugural poem delivered a stirring message that extends from the racial justice movement and the long tradition of Black resistance poetry, which includes another inaugural poet, Maya Angelou.
Now, the question is: where else in our society will we see the embrace of “new” voices and solutions? In business, we have seen many of the biggest, most established companies flounder in their attempts to solve society’s challenges. Big Tech, particularly social media giants Facebook and Twitter, have been lambasted for the failure to regulate their platforms, which contributed to the rise of political extremism that led to the recent insurrection. Meanwhile, online communities are rife with misinformation and fake news, and bad actors are taking advantage. Cybersecurity attacks are on the rise, and foreign nations are now outpacing the U.S. in AI innovation.
It’s time for business and government leaders alike to look beyond old favorites and embrace forward-thinking solutions that could speed up vaccine development and distribution, address climate change, and raise the standard of living for all with improved access to healthcare and mobility. We have an opportunity now, while the country and the world are in transition, to reimagine how we approach these old problems. The window is small, however, and requires swift action. Strategic communications right now can help lift up new voices and propel brand stories that offer solutions to society’s challenges. With a well-timed message, innovators and disruptors in every industry can take advantage of this window of opportunity and contribute to a new era of thinking.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.