All Articles Tagged "branding"
Social capital is one’s ability to use their social relationships for productive benefits in their lives, as defined by Social Capital Research. A recent study published in Future Internet discovers how African-Americans use social networks to promote their own social capital and economic mobility.
If you can effectively use your friendships and acquaintances to enhance your career and livelihood, you have powerful social capital. Unfortunately, blacks are disadvantaged in the social capital aspect; their networking with potential employers falls short compared to whites. This is a topic we touched on earlier this month, with our writer saying:
As Ditomaso points out in the piece when you are poor and black, you tend to only network with other poor and black folks, which means that the odds that your network would be able to connect you to the right opportunities, particularly ones that will enable you not to be poor anymore, are relatively slim. To Ditomaso’s point, connections are how most folks nowadays get jobs. That’s because the vast majority of job openings are not advertised – or at least not the good ones. And the only way to tap into the underground job market is if you, for the lack of a better term, have a hook-up.
Researchers delved into two reasons why African Americans have less productive professional relationships than whites. The first reason is fear that the job referral may disappoint the boss; one’s reputation is at stake. Secondly, studies have shown that black managers at Fortune 500 companies simply possess less clout than white managers.
The study indicates that African Americans can use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote their name and increase the likelihood of socio-economic mobility. In interviewing about 2,250 African Americans, the researchers concluded that the use of social networking can make up for the lack of social capital accrued by Blacks. African Americans are 44 percent more likely than whites to have more than one profile, which can increase one’s potential of meeting beneficial business contacts and promoting one’s brand.
Ultimately, the study focuses on how blacks can use an online platform to mitigate offline inequality. To increase your personal brand using social networks, check out our useful tips on enhancing your online profile.
Are you using Facebook and Twitter to bolster your career?
Your social media profile could make you or break you. It’s called “branding” ladies! Once upon a time only companies had to worry about their brands. But in the new digital world, individuals do as well. When it comes to online personal or business branding, the creation of social media profiles is absolutely essential regardless of age or your place on the career ladder. Whether you are just trying to get more exposure online, seeking employment, connect with your fans or customers, or working to increase your Klout score, social networking profiles are essential.
Am I the only one not surprised that Mo’Nique ended up losing weight?
Not that I was banking or placing odds about her personal appearance either way but rather acknowledging the delicious irony of “The lady doth protest too much…” And there was no bigger proponent of the fat girl fabulous gospel than Big Mo. It’s a sentiment that Mo’Nique has written extensively about in her New York Times Bestseller Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes from a Big Girl in a Small-minded World as well as her equally successful, high-calorie cookbook, entitled Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted, which featured “foods with flavor, from chocolate and cream to sugar and butter and everything in between.”
In fact, a huge part of her schtick as a comedienne and an entertainer was her appeal to a niche but rather large (I swear to God, on second reading, this is not a pun) market: the big girls. Whether you were a big girl or happened to be an admirer of the big girl body, She was pretty, sassy, funny and mostly importantly comfortable and confident in her skin. Behind the joke was an inspiration message. She could talk humorously about big girl love, relationships, sex appeal and even sex without being self-deprecating.
Remember the film Phat Girlz? Or the television show “Fat Chance”? What about the all plus size version of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”? Mo’Nique even had a brand slogan called F.A.T., which was an acronym for Fabulous And Thick. Heck, I remember that the only reason folks were still tuning in to the later episodes of “It’s Showtime At the Apollo” was to see what fabulous big girl getup Mo’Nique was rocking. Her overall brand as a comedienne was about daringly standing in the face of the single narrative of what was beautiful and healthy. And in some ways, she was a militant, fat acceptance fighter, as suggested in this 2006 article in Salon, where the breakout star of the show “The Parkers” even had offered up some less than supportive advice to former “The View” co-host Star Jones, who had rumored to undergone weight-loss surgery: “What I say to those beautiful women is, come on back! Be healthy, but come on home! Don’t be afraid of that big juicy steak with that baked potato and sour cream, baby, on top of it! That is heaven!”
But now the comedienne turned actress and television personality has lost an impressive 82 pounds. Instead of big juicy steaks and bake potatoes with all the fixings, Mo’Nique now only pigs out on a mostly vegan diet (with occasional fish) and she has also started a regular exercise regiment too. Not to mention that she looks great. In most circumstances a healthier Mo’Nique would be commended however you do have to wonder what she’ll joke about now that she is no longer F.A.T?
Last night on a humbug, I watched the last one-hour comedy special she did called Mo’nique: I Coulda Been Your Cellmate! I haven’t seen Mo’Nique’s standup routine in a long time, so I needed a refresher about her overall comedy style outside of the F.A.T. Brand. I have to say, outside of the constant screaming of “yasss!” there really wasn’t much that makes Mo’Nique stand apart material-wise. In fact, without the big girl brand, it would be hard to distinguish her from a number of funny yet non-household named black female comedians like Leslie Jones, Big Roz or even her two Queens of Comedy cast mates Sommore and Sheryl Underwood. This lack of comedic individuality is something I also noticed during her brief stint as late night talk show host on the BET network where without the defiant, big girl attitude her monologues were pretty dry and lackluster.
Generally speaking any type of extreme weight change can have an effect on one’s career. It was true of Kirstie Alley, who very public battle with weight held more of our public attention than her actual acting career. And it held true for Jennifer Hudson, who despite not ever declaring an alliance to Team Chunk, drew the ire of folks, who saw her weight loss as some sort of betrayal to the body acceptance movement. During her rise Mo’Nique’s jokes about skinny women were hilarious, not because they were necessarily bust-a-gut funny but because it spit in the face of what is considered normal in society. Many of us, who struggled with not only weight issues but other body acceptance issues applauded her success. Clearly this is not the message anymore. Instead Big Mo is championing women to get healthy. Nothing wrong with that. People evolve on personal choices and philosophies every day. However, branding is another thing. it will be interesting to see where Mo’Nique’s career goes now that she is just an average, skinny evil woman.
Lauren Maillian Bias of Gen Y Capital Partners, Brings Together Technology, Marketing, and Investing
Lauren Maillian Bias started a vineyard and winery when she was 19 years old, launching her into a world of start-ups, investing, and technology. After starting her second company, Luxury Market Branding, and becoming active in the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC), she was a founding partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early-stage venture firm supporting tech start-ups from Gen Y entrepreneurs, where she now serves as managing director.
In addition to her work in the venture and start-up world, Maillian Bias is also active in philanthropic endeavors, particularly in New York City, where she sits on the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the board of the New York Urban League. She is also a lifetime member of the Children’s Aid Society, works on education initiatives with the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, and serves as a judge to Start-up Chile.
Maillian Bias spoke to Madame Noire about how her past shaped her investing future, diversity among investors and entrepreneurs, and how to improve that ratio.
Madame Noire: Tell me about your background and how it led you to co-found Gen Y Capital Partners.
Lauren Maillian Bias: I have been a life-long entrepreneur. My first company was successful, but creating a vineyard and winery from the ground up was an extremely labor-intensive undertaking. Through my membership with YEC, I was exposed to this whole other perspective on entrepreneurship, which is primarily technology driven.
Most of the young entrepreneurs around the country are starting tech companies. They are easy to start and easy to scale and you can start with minimal resources, which was the opposite of everything I found my entrepreneurial journey to be up until that point. I got excited to watch people who I met through YEC launch their companies and grow their companies, so I learned a lot about technology companies, specifically around operations, strategy, marketing, and branding.
I have a bachelor’s of science in international trade and marketing and I found myself in this niche of advising a lot of start-ups around marketing, branding, how to run your company, and media buying for your company. I then started to invest in them as well, became an angel investor, and really liked it.
As for Gen Y Capital Partners, a friend from the YEC came to me and my partner Jeremy Johnson and asked if we would be willing to start this fund with him. We looked at what makes early-stage investing really successful and it was having an additional value add. Things such as networking and advising helped companies excel and see success in some form or fashion. We knew there was something we could do with the network that we could collectively create, and out of that Gen Y Capital was formed.
MN: What do you do at the company? What is its strategy?
LMB: My role at Gen Y Capital Partners is managing director, so I manage the fund. When we came together to create Gen Y Capital, the sole purpose was to identify and successfully invest in early-stage tech companies, hence our tag line “By Gen Y, For Gen Y.” My partners and I are all Gen Y and we invest in companies that have at least one Gen Y founder.
We also use YEC to virtually accelerate the companies we invest in. They have access to peer-to-peer advising and they have all the benefits of being a member of YEC, which is an invite-only organization. All the companies we invest in through the fund are automatically invited, and we’re able to pull together an incredible, dynamic group of limited partners to invest in the fund. Our limited partners are people who are just like us: they had a successful company and are really passionate about technology companies and supporting the future of what they believe innovation should look like. All of this enables us to provide targeted assistance and support and expertise to companies that we fund.
MN: What other companies have you started?
LMB: I am personally very motivated by the opportunity to be one of the early movers or early adopters within the various industries I have a passion for. My first business was a vineyard and winery and out of that, I started a marketing company called Luxury Market Branding, where we do strategic marketing, branding and media buying and planning for luxury goods. We started out doing wine and spirits, and we have since moved into hair care and skin care.
Out of that, we started working with a lot of brands that, while they were not all tech start-ups, they used technology in some light, whether it was for marketing, branding or ecommerce. Out of that, I became more passionate about marrying tech with marketing and branding. I’m most motivated by being able to see what could be potentially major opportunities leveraging technology.
Is Apple putting its CEO Tim Cook on some sort of media offensive? Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to Cook, his first in-depth, wide-ranging print interview since taking the top title in August 2011. Additionally, Cook will appear on NBC’s Rock Center tonight, in an interview with Brian Williams.
In the interview with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel, Cook discussed his personality and dealing with the fame of being Apple’s CEO; the changes the company has made while still holding on to its core values; the Apple Maps debacle; the recent firings of Scott Forstall and John Browett; and Apple’s product line.
“Not allowing yourself to become insular is very important—maybe the most important thing, I think, as a CEO,” Cook said during the interview. “Now fortunately, I think it would be really hard for a CEO of Apple to become insular, but maybe it could happen. I don’t know. But between customers and employees and the press, you get a lot of feedback. The bigger thing is processing and deciding what to put in the distraction category vs. where the nuggets are.”
“Next year we’re going to bring some production to the U.S.,” Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek. “This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people and we’ll be investing our money.”
The news turned around Apple’s stock price today, which had fallen on fears that taxes resulting from our fall off the fiscal cliff would impact how much investors would take home.
But all the talking with the media is surely one more of Apple’s very calculated media moves, like their big events to announce new products. USA Today brings up the ongoing legal battle with Samsung and the onslaught of competition, which, mimicking its iconic logo, could take a bite out of Apple’s market share. Part of the Apple brand was so intrinisically tied to Steve Jobs, now that some time has passed maybe the company is trying to build a stronger bond between the Apple brand and Cook? If that’s the case, will it work?
Olivia Scott-Perkins’ approach to marketing varies from most. In fact, her integrated marketing business Omerge Alliances is one that operates as a consultancy. Officially launched yesterday, Omerge Alliances specializes in branding and partnerships, and creating opportunities for entertainment properties, specifically in music.
Taking her career in marketing and advertising to another level, Scott-Perkins went from freelancing — while working and in grad school — to forming a business that utilizes skilled individuals in a unique way. Currently, Omerge Alliances has a team of three project managers. Gathering individuals she’s worked with in the past — a videographer, graphic designer and other branding professionals — Scott-Perkins combines their skills in accordance to client needs.
“It’s very different when you have a freelance business and when you have a company with a mission and you’re standing for something. Omerge Alliances in 2009 and 2010 was very synonymous with Olivia Scott-Perkins because I didn’t have a mission,” Scott-Perkins told Madame Noire via phone. “It was, ‘I’m Olivia Scott-Perkins, I’ve been doing solid work for the past 15 years, people are calling me so I’m going to do independent work until I figure out my next step.’”
While vice president of alliances at Live Nation, Scott-Perkins completed business filing and paperwork for Omerge Alliances. However, the following year (2009), she took a position as head of marketing/associate publisher at Vibe. After the publication folded she was recommended and interviewed to be CMO at Carol’s Daughter. Shortly before then, Omerge Alliances was revived as Scott-Perkins worked on a freelance basis. Now revamped with a mission Omerge Alliances is taking on the task to create opportunities.
So, What’s Omerge Alliances All About?
The creative marketing industry is one that has seen rapid growth as the digital space has become more dominant. Within the online, TV and print realm, Omerge Alliances works to create partnerships. Musician/brand alliances are easy to come by these days, but in order to pass them as genuine, Scott-Perkins says a bit more work is required.
“It’s important to find what the artist is already into, then work beyond that. Then it’s believable. When you’re coming up with the actual communications marketing campaign, it’s coming up with how to create a campaign that will not look contrived, “ she said.
A die-hard music fan since the age of ten, she was drawn to the entertainment side of marketing because it’s what shaped her upbringing.
“I grew up in music and around music. When you’re creating a business one of the things you consider is the type of people you would like to work with. When I launched with this concept, my friends said, ‘That makes so much sense for you,’” Scott-Perkins added.
At Omerge Alliances, Scott-Perkins and her team work to pair musicians with corporate partners, ultimately elevating the stance of everyone involved. Omerge also uses social media, public relations and digital campaigns to spotlight underrepresented clients with great potential.
Women rule pop music. They hold the top spots for digital downloads, money earned and albums sold. For the most part, the female dynamos dominating the music scene manage to coexist without stepping on each other’s toes. Each has a unique brand that allows them stay in their own lane.
This is why so much emphasis is placed on branding. In a crowded market, your brand sets you apart and allows you to attract an audience, even when other brands offer a similar product.
Developing your brand is as simple as embracing who you are and allowing your identity to influence how you do business. Here are a few concepts to help you articulate your brand:
- Mission – What do you do? What is your purpose?
- Offer – What are you selling?
- Relevance – How do you meet your audience’s needs?
- Values – What’s your personality? What is important to your brand?
Let’s look at how today’s reigning divas epitomize their brands. Which diva best matches your personal brand?
Rihanna – The Vamp
Mission: Rihanna’s image has morphed through many phases since “Umbrella” launched the star into the pop stratosphere. In recent years, Rihanna has settled on being pop culture’s symbol of youth and sexuality. An unrelenting stream of singles and gossip ensure the singer’s flirtatious presence is constant.
Offer: A good time, and all the mistakes that come with it.
- Stay on trend. Rihanna molds her style and sound to mimic the pulse of pop culture.
- Stay on the scene. Rihanna doesn’t give her audience a chance to miss her. She constantly releases music, and her life provides endless fodder for entertainment outlets.
- Remove your filter. Rihanna’s potty mouth, suggestive lyrics, and unbridled sex appeal create an image of youthful rebellion her audience loves.
Values: unapologetic, open, risqué, trendy, fun
Black women spend a lot of money and companies should be vying for their business with quality products and marketing that’s crafted to appeal to them. Goes without saying right? Wrong.
Early last week, we reported on new findings from The National Newspaper Publishers Association (aka Black Press of America) and Nielsen predicting that black buying power will total $1.1 trillion in 2015. Today, Advertising Week hosted a panel, “She’s Gonna Have It: Black Women, Their Money, Their Mindset, And Their Motivators” that dealt with the reality of the black female consumer and what companies should be doing to win her over.
The discussion opened with a few facts and figures about the black female market. Among them:
-Between 1991 and 2000, the number of black women getting a college degree rose 172 percent. It rose another 50-plus percent through 2011. “These women are poised to make a lot of money,” said panelist Cynthia Perkins-Roberts, VP of multicultural marketing for the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau.
-Despite the high levels of unemployment in the black community brought on by The Great Recession, incomes are still rising.
-Thirty-eight percent of black households are led by women.
-”Social media is the game changer when you talk about black women. They are early adopters,” said Alisha Joseph, VP of diverse segments for Wells Fargo.
“Black women need to be marketed to differently because the composition of their households are different,” added Perkins-Roberts. Or, to use a quote that Camille Leak, senior consultant at The Futures Company, posted on the video screens, “Black people are not dark-skinned white people.” (That comes from Tom Burrell, founder of Burrell Communications, BTW, and was met with cheers from the largely female though diverse audience.)
It has always been the case that when you’re reaching diverse markets, you have to use diverse tactics. But that hasn’t always been the practice at companies and brands. Oftentimes, advertising for the black community is same thing used for the mainstream market with a black actor cast to play the lead role. The message is still irrelevant.
Just yesterday, Pamela El, State Farm’s VP of marketing and one of the most influential marketing execs in the industry (as determined by Ad Age) called the way that she’s pitched by the ad agencies seeking her business “infuriating.”
“”It’s so irritating when agencies walk in the door and they feel that they have to bring a black person — and we all know that they don’t have any — so they bring in the intern to present to me,” Business Insider quotes El.
Now that the spending power of black women is being recognized, brands are seeing the value of having a better understanding of this consumer group.
“There needs to be more people of color in the board rooms and companies need to push the insights,” said Perkins-Roberts. “There’s a push now even in the black community to tell the story from a business rationale.”
Those insights acknowledge the unique qualities of black women, something, Leak points out, companies may have been nervous about for fear of being offensive. Because of that, they’re missing out on chances to move product. “A lot of large companies left a lot of money on the table by not getting on the natural hair movement early on,” said Marcia Cole, CEO of Ivy Digital, a digital marketing company.
At the same time, our moderator, Essence and New York Times journalist Lola Ogunnaike, asked whether stereotypes are getting in the way of effectively interacting with black women. In other words, when companies do reach out to black female consumers, they’re going in with the idea that, for instance, black women are “sad” or “lonely.” Actually, they’re quite the opposite. Other info compiled by Leak shows that black women are optimistic, want to enjoy life, look for ways to engage with their communities, seek to show their individuality, and, overall, want to be excited.
The buying power of black women is forcing companies to pay attention to the needs and desires of this community. Those that don’t will get left behind.
Advertising Week is happening here in New York. And, kind of crazy, Naomi Campbell sat in on panel discussion yesterday afternoon, “The Currency of Culture in Marketing.” Steve Stoute, the founder of marketing firm Translations moderated.
We tweeted a few snippets from the event yesterday afternoon, but as a whole, the point was to talk about how brands can leverage pop culture and current events as a branding tool. Paul Chibe, VP of US marketing at Anheuser-Busch, which just recently, through its Budweiser brand, was part of Jay-Z’s “Made in America” concert festival, said the key is being relevant at cultural “tension points.” So brands need to be mindful of what’s happening in music, in the news, and generally be aware of which way the cultural winds are blowing. And where their brands, products and services can participate, they should.
However, it has to be done in a way that’s natural. For example, Pam El, State Farm’s VP of marketing who was recently named to Ad Age‘s list of most influential women, talked about that company’s campaign with the animated film Cars. They’re an insurance company, it was a movie about cars, so it made sense. (State Farm is listed on the media alert we received as one of Translation’s clients. Budweiser and Coca-Cola, which was also repped on the panel by assistant VP of marketing Kimberly Page, are also among the firm’s clients.)
And then there was Luke Wood, president and COO at Beats by Dr. Dre, who talked about that company’s experience at the London Olympics. Technically, they weren’t a sponsor, Wood said. But Beats headphones were everywhere because the athletes all had them, courtesy of the company. “We were in the cultural waters,” said Wood. Rather than going the traditional route with the Olympics, which he called “stale,” he went to the younger, cooler athletes.
And what could a supermodel add to this discussion? An interesting twist actually. Campbell talked about how difficult it is for black models in the fashion industry. According to Campbell, she grew up without much talk of race, but became part of the conversation when she began her career. “With the help of designers, agents… and others behind me pushing, I made it through,” Campbell said. ”There are magazines that still won’t put a black model on the cover.” Vogue Italia and its special edition dedicated to black models is an exception. Campbell considers editor Franca Sozzani as an advocate for diversity. And ultimately, Campbell has become a pop culture icon despite the obstacles.
She also gave a couple of interesting and juicy tidbits from her 28 years in the industry. Looking back, she remembered the famous designer, now deceased, who helped her to become the first black model on the cover of French Vogue. Stoute, and many in the audience no doubt, thought she was talking about Gianni Versace. Actually, she was referring to Yves Saint Laurent. She also talked about bringing Jay Z and Diddy to Cannes for the first time years ago and the enthusiastic reception they received. “They couldn’t believe how they were treated,” she recalled. “People commented on how they brought glamour and that way of life. I want to put the best with the best.”
Oh, and also, she has a new show, The Face, a kind of America’s Next Top Model in which she’ll serve as a mentor to 24 contestants.
In a final bit, she echoed a sentiment by Chibe about the need to take risks. Earlier in the discussion, he made clear that there will be times when you try something that doesn’t work. But in the end, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t go out on a limb. Campbell also advised everyone to get in on the ground floor with talented people that you believe in.
“I first work with brands when they’re young, knowing that as they get bigger, they take you with them,” she said.
All controversy aside, Gabby Douglas is a hot commodity. The first African American to win Olympic gold in the women’s all-around competition. A gold medalist with the Fab Five of team USA in these London games. A smile that lights up a room. And a charm that’s won everyone over. She’s got it all going on right now.
She’s also about to get a mountain of cash from endorsement deals.
“The gymnast is a multicultural marketing dream—with her roots in Virginia, and a brief Iowa upbringing. She’s the perfect endorser for family orientated products and brands with middle-American values,” BlackEnterprise.com reports.
Her appeal has spread to social media, with the Olympic star getting major buzz.
“She has captivated a global audience and viewers can’t ignore her steadfast drive. It’s evident that her years of hard work, sacrifice and sweat have ultimately paid off,” the article continues. Read more about the marketing success that awaits Douglas here.