"Blacks in Advertising"
by Candace Queen, Entrepreneur/Freelance Art Director + Designer
Whether you’re a brand, agency, or initiative, engaging with multicultural topics and individuals through social media, will drive a quick response. With that in mind, it’s critical that your approach to what you want to communicate is polished, and authentic. Once your message is out there, you can’t take it back, so make it count.
Mastering how to tap into multicultural conversations on social media can help brands and agencies develop an understanding of the multicultural consumer, in a way our traditional approach (focus groups, etc.) cannot. There, you’ll find candid, unfiltered conversations shaped by influences/influencers that audience chooses to engage with, willingly. At this point in the evolution of social media, understanding cultural phenomena’s like Black Twitter, are just as important as understanding how to evaluate consumer data provided by the consumer insights tools we use. Some things to remember as you get your footing in this arena:
- Be Authentic: Don’t engage in conversations, particularly from the brand’s voice if there isn’t a true fit, especially with sensitive topics. Folks within these communities can smell inauthenticity from a mile away, and it often doesn’t end well.
- Cross-Check References: As a multicultural consumer and advertising professional, I myself, come across nuances about my own community that are new to me. With that in mind, it’s important to fact-check before using those pieces of information to drive your strategy.
- Recruit from the Communities You’re Targeting: Within these conversations, you’ll regularly identify the conversation drivers. These are the people you want to hire, contract on a consultant basis, and/or bring in to teach a workshop to your team.
Tapping into multicultural conversations on social media, can not only help impact the work you do for the better, but also can assist in identifying prime candidates for employment, and help award organizations in identifying key talent that should be recognized, but often goes left unnoticed. The awardees at The AAF’s Mosaic Awards highlighted an innovative shift in defining the type of talent our industry should be championing. From an indie project focused on Asian visibility in the film industry, #StarringJohnCho, created by William Yu, to recognizing innovative storytelling abilities of Melina Matsoukas, who’s helped shape the visual narratives of the likes of Solange and Beyoncé, the Mosaic Awards is shifting what true diversity in our industry looks like. More awards programs can follow suit, by using social to tap into spaces that they might not normally frequent. Where can you find more amazing folks like these? Here are a few platforms to get you started:
Last but certainly not least, asses how you as a brand, agency, or individual, can contribute and engage in the conversation on diversity with social media. While pursuing advertising studies, and after entering the industry, I continued to notice a lack of visibility of Black professionals in mainstream publications and awards shows. In February 2016, I created Blacks in Advertising, a Black History Month social media campaign that highlighted key Black professionals that were integral to the development of our industry. There was a lot of excitement and encouragement around it, so I went another round, and created a Women’s History Month campaign.
When preparing for the initial launch, I debated on how to best execute. The impact of social media use was undeniable. It created instant access to these much-needed stories, for both the Black audience I wanted to empower, and potential allies. I received the most immediate engagement via Facebook, with Twitter coming in second. Instagram proved to be a more sustainable magnet for engagement, as the grid format made it easier for new followers to consume the content more succinctly.
The campaigns ignited a lot of discussion around the current state of Black professionals in the advertising industry and how the industry approaches the multicultural demographic holistically. We’re currently seeking content contributors to fulfill our mission of amplifying Black perspectives in the industry, and in the process of forming our first auxiliary board. If you’re interested in how you can join the journey, please connect with us here.
Diversity In Action
Last Updated: July 2017