The hoodie. A few years ago when hearing this word, you would have immediately thought of a sweatshirt with a hood to keep the cold, rain and wind off of you. Today, when hoodie is mentioned, it ignites feelings of injustice because people remember those who have been misunderstood and prejudged by this article of clothing. Treyvon Martin was one of the individuals who was misunderstood and prejudged in 2012. Martin was walking home from the store wearing a hoodie and carrying a package of skittles in one pocket and an iced tea in the other. Due to him being prejudged by his “hoodie” and the color of his skin, he ultimately lost his life. This tragedy brought awareness towards the underlying racism that continues to persist in communities across the country. Many people displayed their grief by recreating images of hoodies, an Arizona tea, and a bag of skittles and posting them on social media.
Recently, Oklahoma lawmakers announced they are considering passing a law that will prohibit wearing a hoodie in public places. While this act is meant to create a sense of safeness by not allowing individuals to hide their identity, the bigger issue is that the government is essentially taking away freedom of expression through dress. One might ask “Does wearing a hoodie mean that you are getting ready to do something illegal? Or, is wearing a hoodie so serious that the government needs to play such a large role in managing our daily lives”? While we cannot blame this issue on racism, it’s pretty clear that it is a large determining factor when dealing with this problem, rather we want to admit it or not.
How does wearing a hoodie or racism correlate with marketing? Understanding your audience and how/why they operate the way they do would be a much more effective way to manage future generations rather than create ways to simply block them out. In marketing, you must understand the consumer’s wants and needs; their way of thinking; the reasons they do the things that they do; and more. If you just create a general message for everyone, chances are, your target audience will not get reached and your marketing effort is less effective and costly for no reason! As a marketer, we set the trends, not follow them. You must be in tune with your audience at all times.
Never Assume. Know.
Never Assume. Know.