BGR has very big goals. Bond says she started the organization in 2006 to tackle media messaging, a mission that still exists today. “There was no call to action to deal with the insults and ridicule directed at women of color. There were lots of attempts, but lots of resistance,” she told us.
Now BGR’s programs for girls and the research have expanded. For example, they have “empowerment circles” throughout the year with a variety of media companies participating. They also have a more intensive vetting process to find young women who will be dedicated to the work.
With the growth over the years and the larger BET platform, there have been more chances to collaborate with other organizations. And through the work with the UNCF, the group aims to dig deeper into different parts of the country and the world to do its work.
African-American Women As a Target Demographic
The My Black is Beautiful campaign recognizes that black women are “under and misrepresented” in the media. “Also, women are concerned about the perception of their daughters,” says Verna Coleman-Hagler, the brand manager for My Black is Beautiful. The campaign’s research finds that African-American women feel there’s still a long way to go before they reach a more positive place.
Coleman-Hagler defined My Black is Beautiful as “a movement providing tools for dialogue” and sharing in the desire to help girls to always feel confident. At the same time, P&G also sees African-American woman as a demographic to be targeted because of their spending power.
“P&G has a long history of reaching out because the buying power and numbers are significant for growing our business,” says Coleman-Hagler. “If you’re a Fortune 100 brand, you’ve had this ‘a-ha’ moment that you need to connect with these audiences. The business case is there.” Programs that give the company exposure to this audience, and build loyalty early on, are important.
But, true to the message of their partnership with BGR and the UNCF, it’s not just about slapping something together and pushing it out to black audiences.
“It’s really about cultural competency right now, understanding these audiences on a deep level,” says Coleman-Hagler. “It’s authentic beyond placing an African-American woman in a commercial.” One should ask questions like “What does she care about?” And “What does she need?”
Taking it a step further, Egami’s Warner talks about the “urban customer;” the shopper that’s 18-to-34 years old, identifies with pop culture, hip hop, fashion and music. It’s more a “mindset or lifestyle” than a “specific race,” she explains.
Understanding this nuance is the main reason why it’s so important to have diversity across marketing and public relations.
“Multicultural audiences are on track to become the majority,” Warner says. “One way to deliver solutions is to make sure the workforce is diverse enough to reflect what the new majority looks like.”
Egami and MSLGroup are working with BGR to open up three to five new internship positions at the firm. Of course, the interests of the BGR girls range far and wide. Shining a light on that diversity and celebrating it is what this whole thing is all about.