Friday, June 12, 2015

A Perfect Fit

It’s no new occurrence that the fashion industry perceivably sells the image that “thin is in”. From print ads to billboards to TV commercials, we see women with more petite shaped body frames being featured. However, according to, the average size of today’s modern woman is 14. Why place emphasis on size 8 and below? Do these images truly resonate or represent all the women of the world? What subliminal messages are we sharing with our female youth?

Displaying unrealistic images may teach little girls and young women that they have to look like this to be accepted in society, and that’s not the case. Unfortunately, some young women are dealing with body issues because of the images they see every day. This is a great opportunity for marketers like you and I to advocate social change.  One major retailer is already on board – Target. Check out their new campaign, “A Fit for Everybody” here:

Target’s campaign uniquely advertises swimsuits and has received positive recognition because they chose everyday women with different body shapes to represent their brand.  The four women featured in the campaign range from petite to plus size women.

According to, wearing a swimsuit can highlight insecurities, create fears and anxiety about wearing them. A 2007 survey from Fitness magazine found that 50% of women have turned down invitations that required wearing a swimsuit, and a 2012 study from Sex Roles: A Journey of Research found that young women "self-objectified" and judged themselves in a bathing suit, which in turn worsened their moods. By taking ownership of their insecurities as well as the features they're most proud of, Target's approach empowers each woman to embrace her body.

What a great lesson for marketers! It’s essential to understand not only the demographics of the audience that we are targeting but also the psychographics.  By doing this, the images created for the product or service will more likely resonate with the intended audience. Target gets it.

As marketers, we must take the lead and let everyone else catch up. Your business may not work with models but this campaign can be easily applied to any issue that is plaguing society. We can use the power of marketing to change negative perceptions, thoughts, attitudes, etc. to positive ones.

Target is on the right track. Are you?

Faith-Based Organizations: An Under-Tapped Resource

As marketers, it’s our responsibility to think of innovative ways to raise awareness about different issues, ideas, products and services for our target consumers. For the sake of this article, let’s talk about health. When developing strategies to raise awareness on issues pertaining to health or encouraging people to live healthy lives, I’m sure you have probably tapped into every avenue that you could think of to promote your cause. i.e... media campaigns, digital campaigns, social media campaigns and more. But, have you considered tapping into a non-traditional resource such as faith-based organizations? 

Faith based organizations are a great resource because they inspire change and are highly respected in their communities.  According to Sharing a Legacy of Caring Partnerships between Health Care, healthcare professionals are being called upon to revisit the concept of “community” to affect change across America’s landscape. Faith-based organizations are trusted entities because they provide spiritual refuge and renewal and have served as powerful vehicles for social, economic, and political change.  

What does this mean for marketers? Faith-based organizations can be used as avenues to communicate with underserved populations. Partnering with faith-based organizations can help increase levels of awareness when engaging with members of the community. 

For example, we have worked with multiple faith- based organizations to encourage African American men to quit smoking.  Most recently, we worked with a local gospel station and churches in various communities to execute live broadcast events. Once the gospel station announced that we were seeking to “Stamp Out Smoking” in the African American community, several churches volunteered to host our program. It was amazing to see so many people excited to participate in this activity. Members of the congregation gladly gave their own personal testimonies on reasons why they quit smoking in hopes to save a life.  

This is the type of community effort that can cause change around the world. Faith-based organizations seek to show care for their patrons and surrounding community. You want organizations like that on your side to inspire change. People caring about people is what we need to solve so many of the issues that we are facing in the world today. 

To my fellow marketers, if its change that you are seeking for your community, consider reaching out to your faith-based organizations. The next time you have a chance to inspire change, partner with a faith-based organization and watch your results flourish.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Let's Ignite Change!

Injustice... Inequality… Black… Male… Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!  These are the words or phrases that are becoming all too common. Lately, it seems every time I turn on the news there has been another act of violence towards black men. This reminds me of a play I once watched entitled, The Day of Absence… a day when all the black people disappeared. Are we here? 

The male segment of the African American population is starting to disappear or go missing. Why are they starting to disappear? They are falling victim to police; they are involved in black on black crime; and they are dying from HIV and poor health decisions. 

According to the New York Times, In New York, almost 120,000 black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are missing from everyday life. In Chicago, 45,000 are, and more than 30,000 are missing in Philadelphia. Across the South — from North Charleston, S.C., through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and up into Ferguson, Mo. — hundreds of thousands more are missing. They are missing, largely because of early deaths or because they are behind bars. 

It seems that society has negatively labeled our black males from birth. What is it about African American males that people fear?  Why must our black men be oppressed?  With black men being killed or locked away in prison, this leaves the question, who is to protect our young black boys?  We all want the same thing which is to be treated with respect. So why, then, isn’t that happening? 

From the Travyon Martins to the Eric Garners of the world, things have to change. But how? Communication, communication, COMMUNICATION! We have to stand up for what’s right.  The people’s voices have to be heard. Action must be taken. People all over the world are trying to ignite a sense of urgency for change.  Shonda Rhimes, creator of hit TV show, Scandal addressed this issue in one of the episodes this season.  This episode was about a black father that wanted the truth about losing his son for an unjust reason. 

How can we communicate the message that Black Lives Matter?  As marketers, it’s up to us to create the platform to get people thinking about the big picture. A world where people don’t have to be in fear of authority figures… A world where people respect each other… A world where people help each other to be better… We have an uphill battle before us but we can ignite change by creating a viral movement that demonstrates the importance of black lives.  We can even customize social media messages to communicate the importance of equality for everyone and so much more. The sky is the limit!

For years, we have implemented innovative campaigns to support the notion that black lives matter. Our campaigns encourage black men to live longer healthier lives. Whether it be to quit smoking, get tested for H.I.V. and STDs, colon or prostate screenings, etc., we communicate because we care. 

Working with leaders and faith-based organizations in the community is another avenue that can be used to share the importance of black lives to those who may not understand.  These programs will provide young black men the information they need to make informed and educated decisions. Community leaders and faith-based organizations can present a seminar to the community about thinking before taking action. This can be a positive push for change to end the senseless acts that are happening around the world. 

As marketers, we have the platform to influence and change attitudes. We speak to various audiences for a living. We know how to convey messages that will allow people to make decisions based on the information we provide. We can let them know that their voice can and will be heard. Knowing that you have the opportunity to ignite change, the real question is, what will you stand for? How will you use your platform? Will you use your marketing for a better America?

Monday, May 11, 2015

To Snap, Dub, or Keek?

Keeping up with millennials can be a pretty tough thing to do, especially since millennials are the epitome of trendsetters. Let’s look at social media. As a marketer, are you communicating with millennials via their preferred platform or the platform you’re most comfortable using? Not sure? Here are a few social media outlets that millennials are currently using.

No longer are the days of Facebook being the main social media site. Millennials are using applications like Snapchat, Dub Smash, and Keek to have conversations with friends and family. 

Snapchat allows you to send video messages to your friends and family. Gone are the days of simply texting and calling.  With Snapchat, you no longer have to wonder if the intention of your message is understood. Since its video, you can communicate your message exactly how you intend. Snapchat also allows face to face video chatting. Marketers can easily use Snapchat to directly market a product or service to their intended audience. 

Dubsmash is becoming one of the most widely used video applications. Dubsmash allows millennials to express themselves by recording 30 second videos with pre – recorded sounds and audio clips. This application also allows you to make a video montage of all of the small videos you capture while being able to upload them to social media to share with your friends.  

Keek has over 70 million users. It is described as a combination of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Keek provides the capability to share videos with friends and family. Additionally, you may like and follow your favorite celebrity or company.   With Keek, you are may share as much or as little of your life with the people who follow you. 

Kik, not to be confused with Keek, has over 200 million users. Kik literally allows you to talk with anyone. You can start a group conversation by creating a hashtag. Those interested in the hashtag can join the conversation. Kik lets the user decide who they want to talk to and how. You can share videos, memes, pics, gifs, and anything else you find. 

As a millennial, it would be great to see companies share their message through various social media apps that millennials use every day. It shows that these companies truly understand the way I communicate and want me to notice their product or service.  With millennials, you have to stay ahead because you never know how quick a social media platform will be considered a thing of the past and what will be deemed the hottest new trend. 

As marketers, I’m sure you are aware, social media means instant connection and communication.  Communicating on the right platform is key. After reading this blog, take a good look at the current social media platforms you are using. If it is not reaching the audience you intended, it’s time to do your research and quickly change the way you have been communicating.  As it relates to millennials, using social media to communicate is not a choice.  It’s a mandate.