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In November 2020, telecom giant TIM launched Teclado Consciente, or Conscious Keyboard, to give users a heads-up when they typed racially offensive language. TIM has now added 500 more words to the keyboard's vocabulary — ones that are used pejoratively when referring to queer people.
As Ana Paula Castello Branco, TIM's Director of Advertising and Brand Management, explained: "We had a team made up of LGBTI+ people working on this new version of the Conscious Keyboard, to help everyone understand that discriminatory words and expressions, no matter how unintentionally used, can hurt and feed prejudice that's ingrained in society."
When a user types a word or phrase that could be considered inappropriate, they're shown an explanation of why it's racist or queer-phobic, and are offered an alternative. Like a social spell checker and empathy thesaurus rolled into one. The keyboard app is free for anyone to download from the App Store or Google Play, including customers of other mobile network operators.
Language matters. While most organizations are increasingly mindful about their own use of words, the next step is to inspire their audiences to do the same. TIM's keyboard is one example, another is Intel's Bleep software, which will filter out toxic slurs used in gaming voice chats, using AI to recognize and remove offensive words in real-time. Every brand has the power to influence culture — time for yours to take an active role in turning ingrained prejudices into everyday empathy?