Building Your Own Table, with Selle Evans of Masterly Business Solutions

Our industry has a diversity problem. The lack of equity and inclusion on marketing teams – particularly leadership – is why today’s guest stopped waiting for a seat at a table and built her own. Selle Evans is the founder and CEO of Masterly Business Solutions, a marketing agency focused on leveraging personalization to grow brands. Selle and Mike discussed the power of personalization, common mistakes companies make in their early stages, and the romantic power of Mix CDs.

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Keep Colors Bright All Year Long: How to Avoid Rainbow Washing Your Pride Marketing

Marketing to any demographic includes looking at sets of trends and profile basics to craft a message that will reach them most effectively (the explosion of articles discussing "marketing to millennials" is an easy way to see this in action). The issue with reducing groups of a similar generation, race, or preferences to a target on a marketing calendar, however, is that it forgets the individual, and betrays strong consumer preferences for personalization.

This has become especially true for LGBTQ+ communities, where marketers have grown comfortable during June's Pride Month in posting a rainbow on social media, creating a promotion, and calling it a day. While this is, of course, important, it also reduces the community and event to a symbology; it forgets that in the U.S., 5.6 percent of the U.S. population identifies as LGBTQ+; this community is made up of distinct individuals who don't want to just see performative allyship but messages that speak to them on an individual level with honesty, authenticity, and care.

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Pulse Issue 18

Get Up Stand Up: Brand Response to Black Lives Matter

June 2020

By Josch Chodakowsky, Senior Manager, Research & Innovation at Ask the Expert
By Josch Chodakowsky, Research Manager at Ask the Expert
Brands share a unique voice that consumers pay close attention to, and marketers can choose to amplify or mute that voice. Brand responses to the COVID-19 crisis have run the gamut from sensitive to tone-deaf, and consumer perception of those brands can change as a result of their responses. As the United States struggles with racial and policing issues, what can brands do to show they are fully allied to current causes, and not just toeing the line, or worse, throwing fuel on the fire?
The death of George Floyd has sparked nationwide protests, rioting, and civil unrest. Brands, which often remain silent when it comes to social justice issues, are speaking out, as are ad agencies and marketing professionals. The brands and agencies that include with their statements actions they plan to take to combat racism are generally faring well. Other brands are being accused of commercializing the tragedy. Ad Age curated a regularly updated list of responses from brands, media companies, and agencies as they take a stand on racism and social injustice.
While in the past brands often avoided aligning themselves with political and social issues for fear of alienating swatches of consumers or striking the wrong tone, some of the country’s biggest companies now have made exceptions to that policy. It’s the right move, according to new Morning Consult polling. Even though the survey shows that brands’ voicing of support for such causes is a divisive matter, especially along racial lines, there is one thing people agree on: Brands should not stay silent. More people than not said that if a company declined to make an official statement about the protests, that would cause them to see a brand in a less favorable light. Morning Consult also surveyed Americans’ opinion on the protests in general here.
Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, and L’Oreal are among some of the corporates that have taken a stand on racial injustice and police violence following the death of George Floyd. Brands lending support to the protests have primarily used social media to align themselves to the movement via a set of hashtags, including #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeForFloyd. What actual good these words of support will do in the fight against systemic racism, though, is not easy to gauge. While these protests will eventually cease, brands that choose to stay silent now will find it harder to join the discourse later on. As Sabrina Clarke-Okwubanego, co-founder of Niche On Demand, adds, some brands’ words will carry more weight than others, based on their past deeds. “Brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Netflix, and American Express’s messages to the black community are deeply appreciated because, outside of crisis, they demonstrate consistency and acknowledgment, which makes their words now authentic and empathetic.”
In YPulse’s most recent survey of young consumers, almost half stated that they felt racism in the U.S. is getting worse. In that same survey, 13- to 39-year-olds said that the biggest problem their generation faces right now is, “racism/discrimination,” beating out COVID-19. When YPulse asked young people about the issues that they are passionate about, civil rights, human rights, and racial/ethnic discrimination were among the top. YPulse also asked young consumers how they are participating in the #BlackLivesMatter protests, and if should brands get involved:
While HR leaders have long wrestled with how to address conversations on racial inequality in the workplace, the sweeping racial justice protests happening around the nation are placing a spotlight perhaps not seen in years on the issue. Experts say it’s one that employers, and HR leaders in particular, cannot ignore. HRE spoke with three thought leaders about the impact of the nation’s current tenor on HR’s priorities: Anne Fulton, CEO of FUEL50; Paul Rubenstein, chief people officer at Visier; and Jill Smart, president of the National Academy of Human Resources.
Further Black Lives Matter Education and Reading:
Are you an ANA member with a research request? Contact Ask the Expert to submit your question.

About ANA Marketing Futures

Knowing that marketers are increasingly challenged in their efforts to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) tasked itself with creating a program designed to help marketers anticipate—and prepare for—the future of marketing.


ANA Marketing Futures is what emerged. With a focus on innovative topics and emerging trends, ANA Marketing Futures provides resources that will influence and inform via member cases, research studies, and insight from industry innovators. Check back often to learn about emerging trends and become inspired to take steps toward the growth of your business.


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