Today I attended BDI’s Multicultural Social Communications Leadership Forum at NYU’s Midtown Campus. At first I was frustrated by the lack of wifi in the classroom, but the speakers were so good that it was best to listen intently without tweeting or checking email.
First, I want to say this. If you ever run a conference, panel discussion or forum related to multicultural marketing and social media, then start from GO. I don’t mean starting on time, but I mean don’t start from talking about a “Digital Divide” or why aren’t there Blacks or Latinos in Tech. I was so happy, almost to the point of tears to see that no one on the panel nor anyone in the audience ever questioned the HUGE presence of Blacks, Latinos, or Asians online. In fact, the numbers shown during the presentations today show more than I thought before. Thank you everyone for validating that!
Now on to the presentations. There were six speakers and a panel discussion afterwards.
Noel Hankin: Senior VP, Multicultural Relations, Moet Hennessy. Noel talked about how luxury brands are not just for the rich.
He talked about three trends 1)The rapid rise of the Latino population in the States. 2)The Taking of African Americans for Granted. 3)The Growth of Secondary Segment (India, Southeast Asian immigrants.
IMHO about Trend 2). If brands continue to take the African American demographic for granted by not customizing campaigns to the community or just adding Black faces to ad collateral, then they will lose market share to the brands who appreciates the importance of executing marketing initiatives to the African American community.
Also, I learned about a very cool product that Hennessy launched last year, Hennessy 44. Whatever your politics, it is so smart of Hennessy to celebrate a historic moment of our first African American president with a special edition bottle of cognac. A portion of the proceeds go to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Jon Yokogama: VP Consumer Engagement, interTrend Communications.
Jon’s presentation was a case study in experiential and online marketing with JC Penneys. Their goal was to reach Asian teens 13-17 for Back To School. They created a campaign with YouTube stars and had kids created video wearing JCPenney clothes. The interesting thing about this campaign was the excitement and high level of engagement among the teens. The Asian market is different in many ways, but one that stood out to me was how online is the first place to go. Since traditional media like TV or radio does not feature many Asian Americans entertainers, online outlets like YouTube is the place to find budding musicians and comedians.
Lesley Pinckney: General Manager, Essence.com
Lesley, who also moderated the afternoon panel discussion, gave a very good primer on social media. First, she expressed enthusiasm for Foursquare, which was cool to me since I was just talking to someone who works at Foursquare last night. She talked about the importance of working with content partners and how social media can help build a brand and make it more agile and responsive to users/customers. She also mentioned a site, Tracking Twitter, which shows a brands ranking on Twitter. When choosing which social media platform/s your company’s brand, Lesley advises: YOU MUST USE THE PLATFORM YOURSELF AT LEAST ONCE.
Ajoy Mahtab: Director of Sales and Marketing, SymCare Personalized Health Solutions, Johnson & Johnson
I have heard many analogies used to explain social media, but Ajoy said something different. He likened social media to the pool game of “Marco Polo”. It is an effective to way to explain it. His presentation focused on how to get buy-in from upper management and from brands.
Christine Clavijo-Kish: Senior VP, Multicultural Market, PR Newswire.
Christine gave lots of stats noting the Hispanic market online from a Florida State University study on Hispanic Marketing . MySpace is the top social networking for Latinos, and there is a mobile site for MySpace.
Lee Maicon: VP Strategic Service, Wing
Lee did not talk about social media, nor did he talk exclusively about multicultural campaigns. He talked about “experiential marketing in a post-digital world”. What does that mean? I gather from his presentation that storytelling and creating experiences are important. The more screens in front of us is actually less interesting. Experiences shared either offline or online can connect us. Conversations drive sales.
This event was great. I learned a lot and would suggest that conference organizers look to these people mentioned when they need a multicultural marketing expert. They know their stuff from shinola.