Celebrating Black History Month-Well Maybe!
When Black History comes around every year I chuckle since it is a year- round endeavor for me. See I am African American. However, it should be a year-round endeavor for everyone as well! So, currently the reality is that celebrating the contributions of African Americans are largely attributed to music and fashion-the “usual suspects”, with a sprinkling of historical facts, here and there.
It should not be so much a celebration as it is a recognition of the meaningful contributions made by African Americans to American History and our society. Recognition of these contributions by a diverse America leads to respect, upon which to build a solid relationship. I am mindful of the two steps backward America is taking with the current events occurring in Washington D.C. The increased frequency of interviews emanating from Washington D.C. shows the building that is the icon of America’s democracy appearing in the background. This building, our Capital was built by African slaves. I think about how the unique layout of the streets in our Nation’s Capital were designed by an African American. And how John Glenn may have been delayed getting into space, or not gotten there at all, if it were not for the persistence and perseverance of three African American women.
So, what should this mean for marketing communications. It means we can and should recognize African Americans in our communications strategies and messaging. Rather than “celebrating” them which in my judgement leads to stereotypes we should recognize them and provide the respect that honors their contributions. The result will be a solid lasting brand and consumer relationship. Beyond communicating competitive brand metrics, brand value has a relationship component. This relationship value is what, just like any personal relationship, helps us weather the stormy times and makes the wonderful moments even more memorable. The same holds true for brand and consumer connections.
Ron Campbell, President Campbell-Communications
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