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Originally Posted On: Celebrate Black Marketing Pioneers – Eminent SEO
As Black History Month, February is a fantastic reminder of how much we owe Black creators in all aspects of our culture. From fashion to technology to medicine, the Black community has given the United States invaluable tools for advancement and brought about many improvements in our quality of life.
We Recognize Black Marketing Pioneers
Unfortunately, many of these individuals have been excluded from the history books. Still others have been stripped of credit because of the color of their skin. At Eminent SEO, we want to take a tiny step to remedy this by highlighting some amazing Black pioneers in an industry very close to our hearts—the field of marketing.
As marketers ourselves, we recognize how central public relations really is to the marketing business. We can say without a doubt there are very few individuals that do PR better than Robin Beaman. As a Black woman, she single-handedly developed the public relations strategy for the Oprah Winfrey Show. She now owns and runs Beaman Incorporated, whose services are sought by such major corporations as ABC and Coca-Cola.
After serving as a partner of Owens Morris Communications, Faith Morris went on to open Merge Consumer Marketing about a decade ago. Since then, she’s used her unparalleled marketing prowess to focus on how marketing can go beyond race to approach our culture and society as a whole. Under Ms. Morris’ watchful eye, the firm has grown to become truly full service, handling needs from PR to television production and media planning.
John H. Johnson
Mr. John H. Johnson is the founder of Johnson Publishing Company, which has been widely successful for decades. By publishing and distributing magazines such as Jet and Ebony, Johnson did what hadn’t been done previously, and created a series of staple publications catered toward the Black community. In doing so, he opened doors for advertisers to finally acknowledge the incredible market power of the Black consumer, enabling a larger segment of Black-oriented products to become available. In turn, Johnson’s magazines helped to develop an integral part of modern Black culture.
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Madam C.J. Walker
In the late 1800s, Madam C.J. Walker created and distributed a line of beauty and hair care products developed especially for Black women, a feat almost unheard of in those days. As she ran her business, she was also an active philanthropist, social and political activist, and patron of the arts. Her development of specialized beauty products for Black women not only gave the women in her community products that made them feel beautiful, but the line also allowed her to be the first female self-made millionaire. This is no small feat, especially for a Black woman at the turn of the century.
When it comes to intersectional marketing, few people deserve more accolades than Howard Buford. As the founder of marketing group Prime Access, Howard Buford has won awards and accolades for his inclusive marketing strategies that open welcoming arms to the LGBTQIA+ community. In extending attention and marketing strategy to those in this community, Buford was able to create a more inclusive world and show just how much buying power the LGBTQIA+ community has. His marketing efforts have earned him a Clio as well as a Moss Kendrix Marketer Award.
Although she has not yet reached the age of 40, Shawn Turner has already earned the coveted position of public relations manager for Disney Stores in North America. With over 220 stores on the continent, Disney relies on Turner to coordinate the communications and PR strategies for a wide variety of locations and market types. Turner does so with remarkable success, managing a product portfolio amassing over $9 billion in global assets. To stand out in a corporation as large and long lasting as Disney is certainly a feat any marketer should be proud of.
As a young marketing expert, Coltrane Curtis approaches digital marketing through the lens of the influencer. He serves as the creative director of Team Epiphany and helps to guide online influencer trends through his marketing efforts. Curtis’ clients now include such prestigious national brands as Pepsi, Timberland, and Yahoo. In 2010, his work earned him the AdColor Innovator Award.
Here’s Coltrane Curtis in a video, “The Future of Culture.”
Ambre Morley is using her marketing and advertising experience to create positive change in the medical world. She has been the communications manager at several large pharmaceutical companies, most notably Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals. Her efforts have largely focused on fighting diabetes, a disease that is 60% more likely to affect those in the Black community, especially in areas where medical care is not accessible, inclusive, or affordable.
Black History Is a Part of Our Marketing Present
As our society continues its slow journey toward equality this Black History Month, it’s important to remember that there is still a great deal of work to be done. These standout members of the marketing and advertising communities have helped foster change and inspire inclusion for the Black community, all while helping make our industry what it is today. While we celebrate their achievements, we must keep in mind that many of these individuals faced intense and unjust opposition and hardships simply because of the color of their skin. Their struggles make their contributions all the more remarkable and help pave the way for young Black entrepreneurs and marketers who follow in their footsteps.
Though February gives us the opportunity to intentionally recognize the contributions Black individuals have made to marketing and our society as a whole, at Eminent SEO, we remain cognizant of their achievements and experiences during all 12 months of the year. With the inspiring marketing stories we’ve shared above, we hope you’ll choose to do the same.