Friday, June 7, 2013

General Mills "gets" it; their critics don't

Pepper Miller, author of Black Still Matters in Marketing, and co-author of What's Black About It? has this to say on the recent brouhaha about the appearance of a bi-racial child and her white mother and black father in a  short television advertisement for Cheerios. When the ad appeared on YouTube, many people decided the company was fair game for criticism. Pepper writes: 

Rather than aiming criticism at General Mills for using a brief advertisement for Cheerios that features a bi-racial child, her white mother, and black father, executives at General Mills should be applauded. The people who are critical are living in a fantasy world where the only intact, deserving families are white and middle class. The executives at General Mills "get" that the United States, indeed the world, is changing and that younger generations could care less about the color of someone's skin or their sexual orientation.

This advertisement is one of several shorts for Cheerios that show children in all types of families and engaging in all kinds of cute behavior with the intent of bringing smiles to the faces of those who view them. In the one being criticized, the little girl asks her mother if it is true that Cheerios help the heart. Her mom confirms that the box says that it does. The next frame shows dad waking up from a nap with Cheerios, much to his surprise, sprinkled on the left side of his chest. 

Another of these commercials shows a mother coming downstairs to find a trail of Cheerios on the floor. It leads to her little girl (white mother, white child) sitting at a small table happily eating her breakfast. Mom says something like, "I see you made your own breakfast?" and the little girl replies, "How do you know?" Nobody seems to be criticizing that commercial because Mom didn't make breakfast or the little girl made a mess.

All people like to see themselves reflected in print, TV, and social media advertising. Wise marketers make every effort to include a variety of different scenarios, races, ethnic groups, and families. People who agree with General Mills' approach should not allow themselves to be drowned out by the critics. The U.S. is changing and those who refuse to get it will find themselves left behind.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Business of Belief

Tom Asacker is one of Paramount's best selling and most prolific authors, who always has something insightful and provocative to share with his readers.

His latest book, The Business of Belief: How the World Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs, and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe (view listing on, pulls back the curtains of the working mind to reveal the hidden logic to what motivates behavior in ourselves and others.

"Belief is what makes an action familiar and safe, ultimately driving a particular choice or decision," says Asacker. "Understanding the beliefs and desires of your audience is critical to successfully influence them in today's environment that is overwhelmed with complexity and choice."

Asacker draws on subjects as diverse as Sherlock Holmes and the Burkini, Mother Teresa and Jackie Robinson, and provides examples of how legendary leaders like Steve Jobs and Howard Schultz have moved people  as well as how we can be more conscious of our own decisions and increase our chances for success.

Tom Peters, management consultant and author, called The Business of Belief "profound." He said, "Every sentence should be savored."

Anyone who has ever heard Tom Asacker speak knows that he draws his inspiration from a variety of sources and shares that inspiration in ways that are unforgettable. And if you have never had the opportunity to hear him speak, buy and read The Business of Belief and you will understand more about why you believe what you do.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Growing Diversity Means More Multi-racial People and Families

The growing diversity of the United States inevitably leads to a growing number of bi- and multi-racial individuals and families. The May 12th edition of NPR's Weekend news program examined the growing trend in a story entitled,  "Checking more than one box: A growing multiracial nation."

In part, the story, from Minnesota Public Radio, reports, "It's not just that there are more multiracial and biracial people. The government is now counting the group differently. For the first time in modern history, the 2000 Census allowed us to check off more than one box for race."

"The last Census showed 9 million people, about 3 percent of the population, reporting more than one race. That's an increase of one-third from the decade before.

"'The youngest age group, kids under 5 [years old], 7 percent are identified as having more than one race group,' says Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. 'If we look at the elderly, over 65, it's only 1 percent.'

"That means more people are choosing spouses outside their own race. The change, Passel says, comes from evolving attitudes. Over the past few decades, he says more people have simply come to view intermarriage as no big deal."

Younger people are even more likely than older generations to accept bi-racial marriages within their own families and among their friends.

This growing trend presents a new challenge for marketers. Several authors of books by Paramount Market Publishing include information about bi-racial individuals and their unique set of circumstances and perspectives. You may want to check out Black Still Matters in Marketing by Pepper Miller or Miriam Muley's excellent book on marketing to women of color, The 85 % Niche. Or explore other titles on multicultural consumers on PMP's website.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Help Your College Grad Find a Job in Advertising

Everybody knows that the job market is tough right now. But, Young & Rubicam Advertising Agency in New York thinks it may be missing some of the best and the brightest because college grads aren't especially skilled in interviewing.

Along comes Belle Frank, a long time executive at Y&R, with a wealth of experience interviewing. In her just-released book, The Advertising On-Ramp: Getting your first advertising job,  she tells graduates in communications, advertising, and marketing as well as those in liberal arts exactly what she hopes to find in a job candidate. And she tells them how to construct a resume and prepare for an interview.

What do she and her colleagues look for?

A person that they would like to have on their team—someone who is likeable and brings a winning personality to the table. Someone who can differentiate him or herself from all the other candidates.

Someone who has work experience, whether in retail, construction, or any other job. Job experience tells Belle that the candidate knows what it means to get to work on time and put in a full day's work.

She is also looking for someone who can collaborate, with a team, and with the agency's clients. She is looking for someone with patience and resilience because most campaigns are revised many times before they finally see print, the web, or the airwaves. No "loners" need apply.

With brevity, clarity, stories, and humor, Belle Frank tells it like it is.

If you know a  young person who wants to work in advertising or even someone older who wants to make the switch into advertising, this book is a must-read. Just in time for a useful graduation gift!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blacks Overindex in Using Mobile Devices for Shopping and Online Viewing

Readers of Pepper Miller's latest book, Black STILL Matters in Marketing were not surprised by new data from Prosper Insights and Analytics that show that Black consumers aged 18 and over index higher than the general population when it comes to using their mobile phones for shopping and viewing online content.

In Ms. Miller's book, she and co-writer, Kevin Walker of CultureLab write extensively about Black media and how its various forms are being used by Black consumers. Among  their comments: "Internet access for many African Americans is not on the computer. Due to several factors, including availability and cost, internet access by African Americans has sidestepped the desktop and laptop for the cell phone."

For example, Miller cites Pew Research that shows that 44 percent of African-American teens use their cell phones to access the internet vs. 35 percent and 21 percent of Latino and White teens, respectively.

Prosper found that Blacks over index in such behaviors as checking in to get a discount,  comparing prices on various websites, and reading product reviews among others. Overall, Black consumes have a mobile aptitude index of 127, indicating that they have a higher mobile capacity (+27) than the general population of adults. Prosper reported that Blacks are also more likely than the general population to view content such as TV, sports, and news on their mobile devices. You can find specifics on the Prosper findings by clicking on the link above.

As usual, readers of Paramount Market Publishing books get an early "heads up" on new trends in consumer behavior with insights and wisdom about how to take advantage of those trends before their non-reading competition catches up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hispanic Men: An overlooked opportunity?

Marketers may find a new target of opportunity in Hispanic men. An article in Convenience Store News reports on research from Mintel that 55 percent of Hispanic fathers are the top decision makers about household purchases. Meanwhile, most marketers focus their efforts primarily on Hispanic women, assuming that since white women are often the top decision makers in their households when it comes to household purchases, the same holds true in Hispanic households.

In Win the Hispanic Market  several contributing authors discuss the attitudes of Hispanic shoppers, especially when it comes to groceries. Whereas, the Mintel research found that Hispanic men are brand loyal and willing to pay more for grocery brands that they believe are more effective than bargain brands, it also found that only 69 percent of Hispanic men had purchased food products in the last 12 months, compared with 83 percent of their white counterparts, 81 percent of Asian and 71 percent of Black counterparts.

To access the original article in Convenience Store News, click the link above.

The Tide Story

We'd like to draw your attention to three articles in the New York Times that discuss the iconic brand Tide and why it has become street currency. The story is that bottles of Tide detergent are now being shoplifted so often that many stores have the bottles "locked up" in some way so that patrons have to ask for help to buy it.

Three articles in the New York Times comment on this phenomena with one asserting that the brand is valued because of its long-time positioning by Procter & Gamble as the best detergent brand used by the most caring moms. Another asserts that it is a luxury that poor people can afford and because of its brand status, makes them feel "normal." The third article says that shoplifting Tide makes no more sense that stealing some  other product that could easily be sold on the street.

It is clear that Procter & Gamble's efforts to make Tide a highly desirable detergent has succeeded in many ways—some beneficial to the product and some not so beneficial. However, we would note one thing: Today's Tide advertisements on television still focus on Moms and Dads being good parents when they use Tide to keep their children in clean clothes.  The iconic brand and its message continue to resonate with families around the world, especially as that small luxury most people can afford.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why Authenticity Matters

The importance of authenticity to  multicultural consumers has been a constant theme among the authors of PMP books about those consumers.  We are proud that PMP authors have been in the forefront of recognizing authenticity and what it means to the multicultural community.

 Perhaps authenticity is so important to reaching multicultural consumers because so often they have often felt lied to, but Pepper Miller, David Morse, Teneshia Jackson, Erin Patton, Isabel Valdes, Cristina Benitez, and Miriam Muley  (in no particular order) have all stressed in their books the importance of having an authentic voice and message,  not something conjured up just to celebrate Black History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month.

The good news is that multicultural consumers recognize authenticity when they see it and reject positions that are designed to pander to them and their interests. As consumers that may make them  a more difficult group to reach, but companies and their marketers who understand the authentic component as a critical part of their messaging have a much better chance of success. Moreover, multicultural employees are an important part of conveying an authentic voice.

Just saying you care about multicultural consumers or adding a few brown faces into your advertisements does not convey authenticity.  You can learn more by reading any of the multicultural titles at Paramount Market Publishing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

PMP's Pam Danziger Named to Luxury Daily's List of "Luxury Women to Watch 2013"

Pam Danziger, president and founder of luxury-focused marketing and consulting firm Unity Marketing and author of two PMP titles, has been named to Luxury Daily's inaugural list of "Luxury Women to Watch 2013."  She joins an elite group of 25 leaders in the luxury marketing arena, whose members are drawn from luxury retailers and brand, media executives, service providers, and marketing researchers and agencies.

According to Luxury Daily Editor-in-Chief Mickey Alam Khan, "the 25 executives who make the cut shared the same qualities: dedication to craft, consumer focus, ambition, leadership potential, [and serving as] educator and role model.  Above all, they are focused on the larger picture and not getting mired in the weeds."

Danziger was selected in part due to Unity Marketing's focus on drilling deeply into the behavior and motivations of the affluent consumer, a small population with a big impact on the luxury marketplace and the economy in general.  "While there are ways of using Big Data to track consumer behavior, nothing can truly replace the power of one-on-one interviews with consumers," she says.  "That, in a nutshell, is my special challenge:  valuable consumer insights about the luxury consumers are hard to come by and costly to obtain.  Yet they are critical to the success of those who market to this small but important group."

Danziger takes a personal approach to marketing research, gathering data through a series of in-depth quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews and video tours to generate new perspectives about why, when, and how affluent consumers purchase luxury goods and services.  She insists on personal conversations and observations of luxury consumers and the way they live their lives to better understand how they make purchase decisions, in order to communicate actionable information and advice to marketers to help them be more successful in reaching these high-value customers.

Many of the insights gained from her work appear in her book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury.

The  personal approach is reflected in her quarterly Luxury Tracking Study, where she surveys over 1,200 affluent consumers about their purchase behavior over the past quarter and purchase plans for the coming three months.  Each quarterly survey includes a special investigation into an aspect of luxury consumer behavior that is of special relevance to luxury brands, such as the recent deep dive into the role of internet, social media and mobile devices in the luxury consumer's lifestyle entitled Affluents Online.

"I am pleased to join this group of influencers selected by Luxury Daily," says Danziger.  "In 2013, I look forward to continuing to bring new perspectives and new understanding to luxury marketers about their customers, both their current customers and the millennial-generation customers they will meet in the future."