Okay. Okay. The headline has the subtlety of fingernails scraping across a blackboard. But there’s a point to be made. True multi-cultural agencies are in jeopardy. Why is that? Well to begin with, mainstream agencies are beginning to poach on previously forbidden territory—the so-called ethnic market. Someone at those firms discovered that as of 2014 the buying power of Black people will be $1.2 trilion dollars. Also, Latinos are on pace to be the largest “minority” or ethnic group in the United States, translating into upward to $1.7 trillion in collective revenue. For mainstream marketers these are potential windfalls.
Interestingly, minority employment with agencies is either static or nonexistent. A friend of mine commented, “They want the business, but won’t open the door.” Inarguably there is a nominal presence of black and Hispanics among creatives in mainstream firms. Is this racism? Well, it reflects the truth is that it is business as usual.
Does that mean there should be segregated marketing – blacks only pursuing black clients consumers – Hispanic agencies marketing only Latino clients – Jews do the same with Jews – Whites – Asians with their own? I am not an advocate of that at all.
Here is what I want. I created a small agency with an atmosphere to attract creative people. In turn , we have learned to communicate to consumers, the message of business clients want them to have. Yes, we target the audiences, but only consistent with the business desires of our clients. If we have succeeded, the reason is quite simple, clarity of message coupled with innovative execution. Pride in its creative culture should be the hallmark of any agency. Clients should make the assumption that the agency can execute and deliver.
All agencies, especially the smaller ones, simply want a fair chance at obtaining business. The belief should be that a competent agency can sell to any group consumers. The problem is that a lot of businesses think that the size of the agency is determinative of quality. It is not. If this is a common belief, coupled with the growing economies of ethnic communities, a lily white company will seize the opportunity and become, in word alone, multi-cultural. This is why there is a connection between ethnicity and points of struggle.
In that type of situation, all one can ask is that a prospect to judge their work. To do so gives insight as to which consumer can reach successfully. As a cross between public relations and advertising agency we are without uncertainty. Instead, we are certain that our method is effective to promote a client’s business message.
Bernard A. McNealy, President