Black Transgenders: Still Marginalized

The declaration that the Defense of Marriage of Act is unconstitutional and the repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” are the things that gay ought to be jubilant about. However, there is a smaller group of individuals within this small group that still has to fight for their rights. These are the colored transgender individuals.

In employment and housing, they are put at a disadvantage by people and institutions that abuse them for having no legal protections. Statistics shows that one in five transgender Americans has been homeless frequently in their life because of discrimination and rejection by family. And to rub salt on wound, institutions that were established to help shelter homeless people have the guts to turn them down because of their gender status.

A study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reveals that 78 percent transgender Americans have been discriminated from work. Next, lawmakers who are supposed to serve any group without prejudice are reluctant to pass a comprehensive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Such apathy from the government allows discrimination in the local, state and federal to cripple transgenders from getting equal access to the American dream.

Even in getting the simplest things like renewing driver’s license, applying for a passport, credit approval and participating in elections are troublesome for transgenders simply because of their name and gender changes. This mainly happens in states that empower bureaucrats to impose personal biases and prejudices.

In a recent research report by the National Black Justice Coalition, it concluded that racial discrimination worsens the already bleak conditions for transgender people that prove that the gay community is a mirror of how detrimental societal ills are for this minority group.

26 percent of black transgenders are unemployed which is double the national average. 34 percent of them are living below the poverty line earning as little as 10,000 a year. Their poverty figure is more than twice the national average for all transgender people which is at 15 percent and quadruples that of the American population that is at 9 percent.

The group also needs better health care as more than 20 percent of black transgenders are HIV-positive, which is too high in comparison to the national average for all transgenders at 2.64 percent. With the above-mentioned conditions, it wouldn’t be a surprise why 49 percent of them commit suicide.

Janet Mock, writer and former editor of People magazine and a well-known advocate for transgender equality, describes how tough conditions are for transgender people compared to gay and lesbians. She said in her interview with The Root, “As long as marriage and families are based upon the lines of gender and sex, it will affect trans people and their families. Legal recognitions of all families, regardless of gender and sex, is also heightened by [the] patchwork of laws from state to state, which prohibit or allow trans people to change their relationships, marriages and access to benefits. Marriage equality has been largely about giving couples legal protections, so we must also extend those same legal protections to all LGBT individuals, specifically trans, low-income and people-of-color communities, regardless of marital status.”

Islamophobia – Bigotry In Its Newest Form

Prejudice against a small group of people in a big community is neither a new phenomenon nor is it native to any culture or religion. There is only one principle to it: Being different is wrong. Anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia are all basically human resistance to change and difference manifesting itself in grotesque ways.

While Xenophobia is fear of foreigners, Islamophobia is the fear of Muslims. This term was first coined in 1997 in a Runnymede Trust Report and Islamophobia was defined as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and, therefore, fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” Although this term was initially used in context with Muslims in the UK and Europe, the tragic incidents of 9/11 triggered hatred against Muslims in the United States where the term Islamophobia came to be heard frequently.

From 9/11 to Donald Trump’s proposal to refuse each and every Muslim the right to visit the USA, Islamophobia has manifested itself in many disturbing forms all over the US, UK, and Europe in the past few years. Muslims collectively have suffered ever since they began to be identified as ‘extremists’ and ‘terrorists’. In the latest poll conducted in the USA, it was found that 55% of the participants held a negative view of Islam. 74% of the participants did not have any Muslim colleagues in their workplace while 68% said that they had no Muslim friends or acquaintances. This shows that despite the fact that many Americans do not have much contact with Muslims, they still view Islam as unfavorable.

What gives rise to this attitude? Before 9/11, an average American didn’t know or care about the Muslims. Many people considered Muslims as nomads who lived far away and had conservative traditions and customs. When the twin towers fell, there was massive fear and chaos. The question in everyone’s mind was; who were there people who claimed responsibility? The Muslims. All Muslims. Why did they hate America so much that they would attack and kill thousands of Americans simply out of hatred? It was this fear and ignorance about Islam and Muslims which coupled up and gave rise to Islamophobia in the United States. One Muslim boy recalls that he was in grade five when the twin towers fell. Suddenly, everyone at school started hating him. His friends stopped talking to him and bullies would pick on him and beat him up. Once on the way back from school one boy asked him to give up his seat. He refused. That boy and his friends came and started to beat him up. The bus driver saw what was happening and deliberately turned the music up. When he came home, his mother cleaned his injuries and bandaged him. They did not go to the police. No one was willing to help.

Islamophobia is the result of the bad press more than anything else. Due to biased media coverage, the words ‘Extremist, terrorist and Muslim’ were linked together in the average American mind. The new face of Islam began to emerge and it was dark and menacing. Muslims killed innocent people in the name of God. Suppressed women due to religion rather than lack of awareness and education. They wanted a theocracy and wanted to bring Osama Bin Laden as the leader of America.
Videos circulated which showed men with beards dancing in the street every time an American soldier was killed or civilians murdered brutally. Verses from the Quran were selected and quoted without context. Even people from different ethnicities such as the Sikhs were discriminated against since they had long beards and supported turbans. No one went for a fact check. No one bothered to verify whether all the things circulating were even true or not. The Sikhs are not even Muslims! Nobody thought that the Gods of Christianity and Judaism are also not always kind, and that religious literature from the Bible and the Torah was sometimes more intense than the Quran.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS slowly became the true face of Islam in the west. After recent Paris attacks the California shootings, Mali attacks and other incidents of extreme violence provided the perfect background for the press and politicians like Donald Trump to capitalize on the Islamophobia to achieve their own ends. Muslims, whether they were from the Middle East or Africa, Arab or Asian often came to be associated in relationship to extremism.

Another classic example of widespread Islamophobia in the United States is what happened to Ahmed Mohammad: The 14-year-old Muslim boy who was a student at Mc Arthur High School in Texas. Ahmed being a technology enthusiast was famous in his school for tinkering with ‘gadgets’ and his classmates called him ‘gadget boy’. Young Ahmed made a clock out of spare parts of machines and other useless material lying around the house and proudly took it to his school to show to his engineering teacher. The engineering teacher admired his work but told him not to show it anyone else. Ahmed still went and showed the clock proudly to his English teacher. The clock was then confiscated and taken to the principle. A few hours later, a surprised Ahmed was put in handcuffs and taken to a Juvenile detention center where even the police admitted the clock looked nothing like a bomb. Ahmed’s family removed him from school and decided to move to Qatar for good.

It is easy to classify people into groups and label them. It is easy to say that all Muslims are terrorists. All Blacks are thieves. All gays are promiscuous. All Asians are good at math. But the reality is more complex. We cannot simply classify people into boxes and blame a whole group of people for the actions of one.

Bigotry is under any circumstance is wrong and inexcusable.

Fred Phelps indulged in bigotry against Christians.

Nazi’s do not justify bigotry against Germans.

Stalin doesn’t justify bigotry against atheists.

Osama bin Laden is no excuse for bigotry against Muslims.

Even though Islamophobia is completely understandable, that does not make it justified. It is still bigotry.

Target Your Audience – Branding, Diversity and Technology

Branding is the key to business success. Whether you’re a small, locally owned electronics repair service, or a multinational corporation, a strong brand will set you apart from your competition. Successful branding is a complex, multifaceted process. It’s both an art and science, combining detailed, accurate data analysis with intuitive understanding of what your audience wants. With a great marketing company at your side, you can harness the power of proven, effective branding strategies that can bring you incredible success.

A great marketing company is like a personal trainer for your brand. Our job is to keep you on the right track so that you can successfully meet your goals. Like a personal trainer, we’ll help you evaluate and understand your brand’s “fitness level.” What have you done in the past to build and market your brand, and how well have those strategies worked? Have you been seeing more success as time goes by, or has your audience engagement been faltering lately? Just as a personal trainer will measure your BMI, body fat percentage, and other stats to evaluate where you are right now, we’ll help you understand where you stand. We’ll then work with you to make effective strategy changes that will bring you results. We keep you on a steady regimen of effective, high-quality content, taking consistent measurements along the way to make sure you see real progress. Just like a personal trainer will make sure you exercise and stop you from eating that extra donut, we’ll work with your brand to help you make the right branding choices, and avoid unwise decisions that could set you back.

Our job is to help you succeed , by using the latest techniques to give your brand a real advantage in today’s crowded online marketplace. We leverage the power of cutting-edge trends and technology to create laser-focused branding and marketing strategies tailored specifically to your unique brand. Using the power of the internet and social media, we help you reach out directly to potential customers and clients.

We help our clients reach their goals and achieve results by incorporating the Six Key Points of Branding. These six essential factors form the basis of an active, successful  Diversity branding campaign:

  1. Know Your Audience. Who are you targeting? What are their values? How do they behave as consumers? How can you reach out to them in a way they can relate to?
  2. Know Yourself. Who are you, as a company? Understanding your brand’s style, culture, and history will give you the tools to move forward with successful branding strategies.
  3. Measure Everything. Gather quantifiable data about your past metrics. Look at past failures and past successes. Understand the actions you took that led to where you are today. By evaluating your past and present metrics, you have a baseline that acts as a platform as you plan for future success.
  4. Set Measurable Goals. Use your past and present metrics as a guide to planning for future goals. When you know what success looks like for your company, you can forge ahead by formulating concrete, specific, and attainable goals that will move your company
  5. Be Consistent. Consistent publishing, rhythm, tone, and style are essential to building a strong brand and reaching your audience effectively.
  6. Authoritative, Validated Content. Not only do you need great content that provides real value to your audience, but you need to seek the endorsement of credible third parties whom your audience trusts.

These are the elements that every brand needs to succeed. Our job is to help you implement these six key points of branding, helping to reach out successfully to a worldwide audience of potential clients and customers.

PART !: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

The first key to successful branding is to know your audience. If you’re going to craft an appealing brand identity, you need to understand who you’re selling to. No company is selling to literally everyone. No matter what line of business you’re in, you have a target audience that you need to focus on. You need to make yourself appealing to these people. The key to doing so is to really understand them. What are their wants, needs, and aspirations? What appeals to them? What do they respond to? To understand your audience, you need to get inside their heads. You need to understand your audience on a psychological level, taking into account what really motivates them.

Understanding

Many people tend to think of “target audience” regarding traditional demographics. This consists of statistical information like age, income level, and ethnicity. This isn’t the way you want to approach your audience. Instead of thinking regarding demographic groups like “18-35-year-old men,” you need to think in terms of affinity groups. Within any demographic, and sometimes overlapping multiple demographics, there are numerous affinity groups. These groupings have far more bearing on how people self-identify, conceptualize themselves, and interact with others than mere demographic information. Think about how people form social relationships in the real world. They don’t necessarily gravitate toward people with similar demographic information. Not all 18-35-year-old men get along. Instead, people form affinities with others based on shared interests, life goals, and life circumstances.

For a good example of affinity groups, think back to high school. High school is a fascinating little sociological “petri dish” for examining human social interactions. People gravitate toward one another into friendship groups, based on shared tastes and interests. You have kids who are into athletics and play sports together. You have kids who are heavily involved in theater. There are groups of kids who love anime and video games. There may even be “alternative” or “gothic” kids with particular tastes in art and music. All of these people fall into a demographic group: 14-18-year-olds. However, these people are in entirely different affinity groups. They’re different people, with different tastes, interests, and aspirations. The kids who love sports may not respond to the same brand aesthetics as the kids who love black metal. Think about clothing companies in the 1990s and 2000s that marketed to teens. Remember Hot Topic? They branded themselves with that “different” demographic in mind. They sell an image that these kids relate and aspire to, drawing heavily on rock music, the 80s and 90s nostalgia, and quirky “Tim Burton” aesthetics. They know their audience, and by tailoring themselves to that specific affinity group, they’ve been immensely successful.

High school is a rather extreme example. Kids that age are figuring out their individual and social identities, and identifying with an affinity group means a lot more at that age than it does during adulthood. However, affinity groups still hold strong in the “real world” of adulthood. Think about Americans in a 25-50 demographic. An urban minority affinity group might not respond to the same branding strategies as people of the same age who live in the suburbs and work at office jobs. For most companies, targeting a 25-50 demographic as a whole won’t be a viable strategy. You want to go after an affinity group within that demographic. To successfully communicate the value of your product or service, you need to understand what people in that affinity group really want.

Values and Behaviors

You need to understand your audience’s psyches. What do they want, and what do they need? Human beings have needs and wants that motivate their behaviors. What does your target audience value? This can vary between affinity groups. As an example, think about how cars are advertised. Different makes or models of cars are targeted toward customers with different values, values that affect what they need from a car. Minivans are ideal for families with children, who need a larger vehicle. Commercials advertising minivans tend to evoke a sense of security. They underscore the reliability and safety of the vehicles, appealing to parents’ intrinsic desire to protect and nurture their children. Contrast this with BMW or Lexus sedans. These vehicles are sold through the image of luxury. They appeal to upper-middle-class status aspirations, emphasizing high-quality craftsmanship and luxury features. For the suburban mom with kids, the image of a sturdy, reliable minivan with a high safety rating is appealing. This kind of vehicle meets her particular needs, which are mainly practical. The ideal Lexus customer has different values and different needs. These two hypothetical people aren’t looking for the same thing.

So how do you understand what your target audience wants? You can ask them directly, of course, but this comes with a few caveats. What people want isn’t always what they say they want. Human beings have a tendency not to understand their desires and motivations entirely. What they say isn’t always what they do. A person’s actions can be far more telling than their words. The great business magnate Andrew Carnegie understood this. “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” Sometimes simply asking people what they want doesn’t give you the right answer.

A textbook example of this phenomenon is McDonalds’ “Arch Deluxe.” This sandwich was designed to meet a consumer demand for a burger that felt more “adult.” At the time, McDonalds had a decidedly child-centric brand image, with a focus on marketing toward children with Happy Meals, toy giveaways, and built-in playgrounds. In an attempt to appeal to what adults said they wanted in a burger, they created the Arch Deluxe. Its release was accompanied by a very expensive advertising campaign, which positioned the sandwich as a higher-quality, “premium” item. It failed miserably. People may have said they wanted a more “adult” burger, but in the end, people don’t go to McDonalds looking for a premium fare. It turned out that people didn’t want what they said they wanted.

So consumers aren’t always reliable when they tell you what they want. So how do you gain insight? The key is rigorous research that gives insight into consumers’ actual behaviors. By looking at their actions instead of their words, you can get a clearer, more reliable picture of what your audience really wants.

Researching Your Target Audience

Methodical, in-depth research is one of the keys to really understanding your audience. There’s a reason why big companies pour so much money and resources into consumer research, employing highly qualified sociologists and psychologists for their thorough insight into human nature and behavior. There are several approaches that you can take, including:

  • Dialog and discussion with your audience. Although consumers don’t always reliably report what you really want, dialog and discussion are still a valuable tool for gaining insight into your audience.
  • Analysis and research of consumer behavior patterns. Quantifiable data is a valuable tool for looking into large-scale consumer behavioral trends.
  • Competition analysis. What are your competitors doing to appeal successfully to your mutual target audience? Look at what has worked for them, and leverage those techniques for your own branding.

Research provides you with real, tangible data. Never assume that you know anything about your audience. Remember what they say about assumptions? When you blindly assume that you know what your audience wants, you’re wasting your time and money. Do research, analyze data, and measure results. This is the best way to build up an accurate picture of your ideal consumer.

Profiling your Ideal Customer

When you’ve done some serious, quantifiable research, you can use these insights to create a profile of your ideal customer. These profiles are like avatars. They represent a typical person that you would target. Who is this person? Who do they associate with? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What kind of income do they make? A profile is a fictional persona, representative of the type of people you’re targeting. These avatars are based on the data and information you’ve gathered through your market research. When you gather a real understanding of the values, behaviors, wants, and needs of people in your target affinity groups, you can understand them on a psychological level. This deep understanding empowers you to create a strong, successful brand that makes a genuine appeal to your audience, one that they’ll perceive as authentic.

Using Your Knowledge to Laser-Target Your Audience

The value of all this specific information about your ideal consumers is that it allows you to target your marketing efforts with incredible precision. New technology like social media has given companies an unprecedented ability to target particular groups of people, those who will have a real interest in buying their products and services. This is like the difference between carpet bombing and precision missiles. You can “carpet-bomb” indiscriminately, wasting energy by reaching a huge area that happens to contain your target; or, you can send the rocket right into the window of the enemy base. When you focus your marketing efforts as precisely as you can, you save money, energy, and time. Digital marketing has opened up the possibility of precision targeting for marketers, in ways that didn’t use to be possible.

With traditional marketing and advertising media, companies were often forced to reach a very broad user base of people. Imagine a television commercial for an arthritis medication broadcasted on a major television network. It’s going to reach many, many people, but only a fraction of them will be your target audience: people suffering from arthritis. You could opt for time slots associated with television programs whose audience tends to overlap with yours, but your targeting options still paled in comparison to what’s possible with digital marketing techniques. Online marketing techniques let you set your sights on the people who matter. Instead of wasting time casting a broad net, you can leverage the power of tools like social media to laser-target your marketing directly to people who will actually buy from you. For example, let’s say you’re a young adult clothing company with an urban vibe. It doesn’t do any good for Bob the middle-aged accountant to see your advertisements. He isn’t in the affinity group that you’re targeting. He has zero interest in buying from you. By leveraging the power of the Internet, you can filter out people like Bob. Instead, you can focus on building brand awareness among young urbanites with a history of interest in products like yours. You can find people who have bought similar products to yours, and who’ve expressed interest in other brands that target the same audience. By going for a narrower target, you’ll see better results and get a much greater return on your investment. By knowing your audience, you can target the right people with laser precision.

PART 2: KNOW YOURSELF

Knowing your audience is the first step toward successful branding. The next step is knowing yourself. You need to understand who you are as a company and create an identity based on your knowledge of your audience. Your target audience has a need, and your role is to fill that need effectively. Your brand image should express and embody what you’re about. It’s important to understand your brand’s history, culture, and style, in order to move forward.

  • Understand your history. Where have you been in the past? What kind of image have you built up? What’s worked, and what hasn’t? Those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it. Take stock of what’s worked in the past, and what hasn’t. Have you had success with your previous marketing efforts, or have they fallen flat? If things haven’t been working, you may need to formulate an entirely new strategy. When you have insight into the past, you can plan for the future.
  • Understand your culture and style. What’s your company’s culture like, and what’s your brand’s unique individual “style”? Is your style effective, and does it embody a brand image that’s appealing and appropriate? If not, what can you do to overhaul your image for better results? Different companies have different “styles,” depending on what you’re selling. For some brands, an air of authority and professionalism is the key to success. Other companies can appeal most effectively to their audience with a conversational tone and a great sense of humor. If you’re a B2B shipping and logistics company, your brand will have a far different style and tone than a brand of energy drinks. Your style should be tailored not only to your audience but to your audience in the context of the need that your company can fill.
  • Understand your baseline metrics. Again, quantification is a major key to branding success. This ties into the concept of understanding your history. What kind of numbers have you achieved in the past? How many sales, website views, and other measurable interactions have you previously achieved, and what led to those numbers? It’s impossible to measure future improvement if you don’t have a baseline to compare against. Measure everything.

PART 3: MEASURE EVERYTHING

If you want to become a successful brand, you can never go in blindly. Never assume you know what you’re doing, in the absence of data that backs up your claims. If you really want to understand what’s worked in the past, what could work in the future, and how to make the changes that will lead to reaching your goals, you need to base your strategy on concrete, quantifiable data.

You need to measure your brand’s involvement and interactions with your customers. There are a number of data points that you should evaluate, including:

  • Phone Calls that you’re receiving in your office or call centers.
  • Website Traffic. Is your audience actually seeing your website?
  • Time spent on your website. It’s not enough to look only at the number of overall website visits. Those people could be there for two seconds and then leave immediately. This indicates that they’re not interested in your brand, or your website isn’t holding their attention enough to entice them to learn more. When people spend time on your website, it means they’re actually paying attention in a meaningful way.
  • Number of pages viewed by visitors to your Are people stopping after reading your homepage, or are they interested enough to explore the rest of your website? Are they actively looking into pages that talk about the services you offer, provide contact information or give more information about your company?
  • Downloads of materials from your website, like ebooks and white papers. Are people interested enough in your brand?
  • Video views. Is your audience interested in your videos?
  • Event attendees. Are you hosting events in person, like seminars? If so, how many people are attending?

These are all quantifiable metrics that can give you a useful portrait of audience engagement. This data will give you indispensable insights into what is and isn’t working. For example, let’s say your website traffic is relatively high, but people aren’t lingering for very long, and few visitors go further than your homepage. This indicates that you can take steps to improve your website’s design and functionality so that it’s more appealing to your audience. Without these metrics, you might not even realize that your website isn’t up to par.

Measure your past to plan for your future. Looking at past data, what does success look like for your company? Let’s say you have some promotional videos up on YouTube. Which videos have gotten the most views, and what led to their success? Is there something in their content that appeals more to your audience than the content of your less popular videos? When have you had the highest sales, or the most phone calls, or other high numbers that indicate success? Look at what you’ve done that’s been the most successful, and use your measurements to determine what you did to achieve this success. Find correlations between actions you’ve taken, and desirable results that you’ve achieved. This will give you the knowledge you need to determine what parts of your branding strategy you should keep, and which parts you may want to reevaluate.

When you’ve taken measurements that indicate what’s worked in the past, you can forge ahead and go after strategies that work. Separate the wheat from the chaff. Toss out old strategies that aren’t producing results. This isn’t always an easy decision to make. Sometimes, if you’ve poured a lot of time and money into strategies that have fallen flat, you feel like you’ve already invested too much to let go. Letting go feels like a defeat, like you’ve wasted time and money. This is a logical fallacy. If you keep failing strategies around out of precedent, or because of a sense of investment in them, you’re doing nothing but wasting more of your money, time, and resources. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. Learning from the past is the pathway to changing the future. Measuring your past empowers your brand to set concrete, measurable goals for the future.

PART 4: SET MEASURABLE GOALS

With the future, as with the past, measurement is the key. When you’ve measured your past to get an idea of previous successes and failures, you have a baseline that you can use to plan for the future. Past successes provide insight into what you’re capable of. When you look at a time when you had record sales, and the actions you took that led to that happening, you can set a goal to reach that pinnacle again. Your past and present metrics tell you what you can realistically expect. Your goals should be:

  • Goals like number of sales, the number of page views, or number of retweets on Twitter can be measured.
  • Measurable goals are specific goals. “Establish thought leadership” is a worthwhile aspiration, but it isn’t a specific goal. The way to achieve this broad goal is by setting specific goals. For example, publishing a guest blog on Forbes, or getting a press mention about your ebook in Business Insider, are specific goals that work toward establishing the thought leadership you need in order to build your brand’s authority and credibility. These are concrete goals, which you can take identifiable steps toward accomplishing.
  • Aim high, but not unrealistically high. Your past and present metrics give you the insight into what you can reasonably achieve, specifically, within a set period of time. If your brand has 10,000 YouTube followers, it might not be realistic to expect to have a million followers within a year.

Marketing goals are like any other goals, in business and in your personal life. Think about how people achieve fitness and weight loss goals. It isn’t enough to say “I’m going to lose twenty pounds.” You need to identify steps that you can take to reach that goal. You need a diet plan. How many calories do you need to cut from your diet per day, in order to reach that goal? How many calories can you burn working out? How many days per week will you exercise, and what kind of exercise will you be doing? These are specific, quantifiable, measurable goals. In marketing, just like with weight loss, the way to succeed is setting and achieving measurable goals.

PART 5: CONSISTENCY IS KEY

When you’ve measured your past, and set goals for your future, you’ll be ready to forge ahead with your branding campaign. One of the things to aim for is consistency. Successful brands are consistent in their publishing, rhythm, quality, voice, and style. Everything you do, every advertisement and piece of content, should feel like an integrated piece of a greater whole. Nothing you do should feel out of place. To solidify your brand identity in the minds and hearts of your audience, you need to build and maintain an image that’s consistent.

Consistency in Voice and Style

Every brand has a “voice,” a unique personality that comes through whenever you communicate with your target audience. One of the keys to successful branding is to keep your voice and style consistent.

A great example of consistent branding is Coca-Cola. They’ve crafted a unique, highly effective brand image that focuses on evoking feelings of togetherness, family, friendship, and emotional comfort. This is evident in all of the content and advertising they produce, and every ad they make has that warm and fuzzy “Coca-Cola” vibe. An example is a campaign they do every Christmas with the polar bears. These ads depict a mother bear bonding with her cubs over cool, refreshing bottles of Coca-Cola. These ads depict a heartwarming scene of family togetherness, creating an association in the audience’s minds between Coca-Cola and the positive emotions that come with social bonding. In the old “We Are the World” campaign, they linked Coke to togetherness and positive feelings by showing people from all over the world uniting together in friendship, community, and solidarity. Again, this embodies the Coca-Cola “personality,” linking their brand image to positive emotions. Coca-Cola has created a consistent brand personality that’s palpable throughout all of their marketing and advertising. Nothing is ever out of place, and none of their ads clashes with their established brand image. A commercial that was palpably sarcastic or sardonic would feel “wrong.” It would be out of character, like seeing someone you know do something that doesn’t fit their personality. Even for people who tend to like darkly sarcastic humor, a sardonic Coke commercial would prove unappealing or even unsettling.

Another good example of consistent branding is Geico. They’ve put out numerous campaigns, but all of them focus on using light-hearted humor to reach out to their audience, often by using absurd or larger-than-life characters and situations. The gecko commercials and the caveman commercials appeal using humor, building up a consistently quirky, likable, and accessible personality for their brand. The use of humor also helps set them apart from competitors in a crowded auto insurance marketplace. Geico has a consistent tone and style. Even before they’ve shown the logo or said the company name, a Geico commercial is unmistakable.

When you “break character” from your established brand image, the results can be disastrous. A great example of “what not to do” was the infamous Nationwide Super Bowl commercial. It did generate a good deal of publicity, but it wasn’t exactly positive. Nationwide’s branding usually positions their brand’s “personality” as someone like a neighbor you can always trust for good advice: “Nationwide is on your side.” They’ve traditionally advertised in a way that speaks to a sense of security and trust. With Nationwide “on your side,” you feel secure. The Super Bowl commercial was jarring and upsetting for people that saw it. The commercial painted a heartbreaking portrait of a child who would never experience life because they died in a car accident. The commercial’s goal, to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving, was commendable. However, it didn’t work to Nationwide’s advantage at all. It was off-putting and upsetting, not only because it made a strong appeal to negative emotions, but because no one expected it from Nationwide. The jarring inconsistency with Nationwide’s established brand image felt “off,” making the commercial even more unsettling. People expect Humane Society commercials to tug at their heartstrings, but not Nationwide commercials.

Don’t make the mistake that Nationwide did, and don’t deviate too much from a consistent brand image. Your marketing and advertising efforts should serve to strengthen and corroborate that image, not clash with it. All of your content should feel “on-brand.”

Consistency in Publishing

When it comes to content publishing, everything you put out should be consistent in its quality, rhythm, and timing. Consistent content can bring remarkable success. People are creatures of habit. A regular publishing schedule can go a long way toward making sure that your audience actually sees your content. This is where account management comes in. You need all of the content on your blogs, social media accounts, and elsewhere to be released at a constant, consistent rhythm. The way to reach out to your audience is a regular schedule of high-quality content publishing. Along with keeping a content schedule, the quality of your content should also be consistent. You don’t want to let your audience down by putting out half-hearted, mediocre content. Not every tweet, video, or blog article can be your absolute best, but every piece of content should be worthy of representing your brand.

Youtube Personalities: A Case Study in Consistent, Quality Content

Many young people, often equipped only with some software and a video camera, have found extraordinary success by publishing videos on YouTube. These people are a great example of the importance and value of consistency in branding, scheduling, and content quality. These kids know their brand, and they know their audience. They put out high-quality content, on a regular basis, designed to appeal to select affinity groups.

  • They have consistent personal brands. Youtube personalities have a consistent, likable persona that appeals to their audiences. You might call this a “personal brand.” They keep their screen persona consistent, creating a sort of “character” onscreen. The audience gets to know and love these characters, and knows what to expect from them. They project a consistent personality.
  • They know their audience. Youtubers know exactly what kind of audience they’re targeting, and they laser-target their content toward the people they’re trying to reach. A great example of good audience targeting is Pewdiepie. His audience consists of young teenagers who like video games. He’s developed and maintained a consistent style of humor that he knows appeals to them. He has his share of critics and detractors, but those people don’t matter. They’re not part of his target audience. He knows who he’s performing for, and he knows what they want to see.
  • They publish consistent content on a regular basis. Most YouTubers upload a new video about once a week. It’s almost always on the same day, at more or less the same time. Their audience knows exactly when they can expect new content, and they make a habit of remembering when to check for the latest uploads from their favorite Youtube stars.
  • Their content has a consistent, cohesive style and tone. Youtubers have their own unique humor or entertainment style. This stays consistent throughout all of their videos.

Most of these Youtubers are just kids, but they’ve leveraged the power of social media to make themselves known. They know their brand, they know their audience, and they release consistent, quality content. They’re an excellent model of online marketing success.

PART 6: AUTHORITATIVE CONTENT

There’s a popular buzzword saying in marketing circles these days: “Content is King.” This is wrong. Content is dead. Its throne was usurped a long time ago. It isn’t enough just to have content. The new ruler of the online marketing world is validated, authoritative, high-quality content.

When content marketing was a newer concept, just having content could set you apart from the crowd and give you an edge over your competition. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, everyone has content out there in the pipeline. Every brand is putting out their own content, making for a crowded marketplace where it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.  Nowadays, not just any content will do. Quality and authority are the keys to content success.

The Changing Landscape of Content Marketing

In the past, the content craze resulted in every brand scrambling to get large amounts of content, any content, onto the web. This flooded the Internet with reams of useless, low quality, and downright spammy content. This kind of content existed to boost search engine rankings by incorporating keywords, often at the cost of readability for real human beings. This became a problem, because when users would search the Internet for information, this subpar content was dominating search engine results. In response, Google released an algorithm update called Panda. Google Panda penalized low quality, poorly written content. This was a major step toward the new focus on quality that has come to dominate successful content marketing.

Your content has to provide real value to your audience of potential customers and clients. There are different approaches you can take to providing this value, depending on your brand’s style, tone, and target audience. You can create useful, informative articles and infographics that give people information they’re looking for. You can even provide value in the form of a good laugh if humor suits your brand image well. With great content, you’re providing value to your audience up front.

The most recent Google algorithm change to impact content marketing was Google Hummingbird. It’s important to craft your content in a way that Hummingbird will reward. This kind of content is:

  • Fresh content. It’s important for brands to put out new content on a regular basis.
  • Well-positioned content. An effective modern website homepage is like a “dashboard” for all of your brand’s online content. It should neatly consolidate your content, tone, and brand image, tying everything together to make a cohesive statement of what you’re about.
  • Content that makes good use of relevant keywords. Keywords are still a crucial component of your content, including all the pages on your website. There was once a time when all you had to do was shoehorn as many keywords as possible into the text on your website and company blog. Some websites would even hide a string of keywords at the bottom of the page, in a text color matching the background so they couldn’t be seen. Other websites would use keywords so often in their text, that it interfered with the clarity of the prose itself. These tactics are no longer effective. Keywords should be seamlessly integrated into the text content of your blogs, website pages, and social media content. They should never look awkward or out of place; in fact, their presence should be almost undetectable.
  • Content that is validated by third party authorities. On the Internet, there’s total freedom of speech. Anyone can say anything they want, whether or not it’s true. Nowadays, everyone knows that you can’t always trust everything you read online. This is why it’s become critically important for content to be validated by trusted, credible third party authorities. For example, posting a guest blog or getting an endorsement on Joe’s Random Business Blog won’t give you any air of authority. Who is this Joe, and what qualifies him to say anything about business or marketing? This hypothetical “Joe” is not an authority, and no one cares if he endorses your business. In contrast, posting a guest blog on Forbes or Entrepreneur is an entirely different matter. These websites are well-known, widely respected publications, which many people look to as relevant authorities within their industries. When Forbes vouchers for your brand or your content, it means something to your audience.

Third Party Validation: The Holy Grail of Content Marketing

Third party validation is the new Holy Grail of content marketing. If you want to succeed, you need the support of individuals and publications that your audience trusts. To build your brand’s credibility, leverage your network to find individuals who will serve as “brand ambassadors,” spreading the word about your company to people who look up to them and respect their opinions. Some of your best potential brand ambassadors include:

  • Former or current clients. Your clients are your best assets. If you’ve provided them with real value, and they’ve had great experiences with your company, they’ll be glad to personally attest to your brand’s quality.
  • Individuals with industry influence among your target audience. People have a natural tendency to look toward authority figures for guidance. There’s a reason why so many brands are so eager for an endorsement from popular Reach out to influential individuals that your audience respects. This has worked for many, many brands. For example, many cosmetic companies send out free samples to popular Youtube “beauty bloggers.” The Youtubers use the products in their makeup tutorials, cultivating positive brand awareness among a target audience of young women who are interested in makeup.

Guest posting in respected publications is another way to build your brand’s credibility and position your leadership as thought leaders within your industry. Don’t stick to your own tiny corner of the Internet. Posting on your own blog and social media pages is important, but you want to spread your content far and wide across the Internet. Reach out to blogs and publications that cater to your target audience, and increase you ability to deliver your brand’s message.

Content Marketing is a Long-Term Game

Content marketing is incredibly effective, but often decidedly indirect. You might not see the payout right away. Validated, authoritative, high-quality content is designed to provide immediate value to your audience of potential customers and clients. You’re building your brand’s image, appeal, and credibility. Great content allows you to create a rapport with your audience, encouraging them to develop a sense of growing loyalty to your brand. The ROI of content marketing is long-term, but once you’ve built your content empire, the results are worth the wait. You’re creating a genuine connection with your audience by leveraging the power of technology to get your message out into the world. Over time, great content leads to a strong brand identity, greater customer loyalty, and a considerable impact on your bottom line.

In a dynamic and ever-changing online landscape, a great branding company helps your brand stay on the path to success. By leveraging the latest technology, taking precision measurements and analyzing concrete, quantifiable data, and creating great content that provides genuine value to your audience, we’ll help you precision-target your marketing efforts to reach out to the people who matter the most. Content marketing is an exciting new frontier. New technologies like social media provide an unprecedented opportunity for brands to successfully communicate their message to a worldwide audience that matters. Smart online marketing can take your brand to the next level, bringing success that you never thought possible. This is the way of the future, and the future is now.

Diversity Best Practices In Hiring/Recruitment in The US

Most of the firms in the US promote the idea of diversity,  but the problem lies in making it workable which means to guarantee that every single hired employee feels welcomed in the firm and is given the same promotion chances as others to higher levels as far as his/her abilities allow.

Farzana Baduel throws some light on the positive side of diversity story in The US. She is MD at Curzon PR and initiated it in 2009. The organization is a public relation and strategic communications agency. Her entry into the public relations industry seemed to correspond with the era in which the image of the global sector was not cultivated at its zeniths, apparently showing many poor records when it came to diversity in the PR sector.

The recent figures on diversity practices show that only about 8% of PR practitioners are from backgrounds that belong to an ethnic minority. Apart from this figure, the industry has an excellent record of gender diversity, but still the white male domination can be seen at the top leadership positions. Public Relations are not the only field in the business sector which is in a struggling mode for the promotion of diversity in the workforce.

Farzana is a woman from an ethnic minority background, and she complains about the deficiency of diversity in public relation industry, enough to aggravate her. Although, she is much proud of her hiring record at Curzon’s PR because it includes a huge range of professionals from different cultural and national backgrounds, still the situation is unsatisfactory for her.

The moral side of the promotion of diversity, either related to gender or ethnic origin, has been for all times a stronger one. The practiced truth is that for any successful business, the benefits must take priority over the moral values when decision making is being done regardless of any diversity practices!

DIVERSITY IN WORKFORCE HELPS TO REACH SALES TARGETS MUCH EASILY

Opportunely, several studies evidently show that over the previous years, the importance of the promotion of diverse workforces for having positive business implications in much heightened. The most important notion is that we reside in the world where the population of target consumers is itself becoming much diverse for any company.

The result of this is obvious: those companies that embrace the group of workforces from different backgrounds regarding gender or ethnicity can better understand the requirements and requests of consumers, who are exceedingly becoming more and more diverse. The result is also supported by research from the New York-based Center for Talent Innovation, which exposed that when work teams consist of one or more members from diverse backgrounds, they are more able to understand the market of target consumers. They are also more able to invent new solutions and can quickly reach their sales targets.

The Wayne’s StartUp DNA research established that about 82.5% of individuals had the same opinion when they were asked about the diversity in teams at the workplaces. According to them, it helped them in overcoming various challenges and also aided with new thinking development and innovation.

Nevertheless, diversity is not only a number game. To harvest more benefits from a business, there must be a genuine, diverse workforce in it. There must be the nurturing of broad, open-minded and meritocratic working atmospheres in which people coming from minority origins feel happy and engaged. This will also facilitate these professionals to become comfortable and productive and contribute positively to earn a good business fortune.

HAVING DIVERSE LEADERSHIP BORES MORE FRUIT FOR THE BUSINESS

Another side that is often overlooked has a diverse leadership. There are several business industries where diversity is welcomed at the entry level, but it becomes overwhelmingly ethnic, and gender biased when it reaches to leadership roles. This sort of practice is entirely negative from the business point of view because that company where diversity and wide-ranging leadership is promoted is always benefitted by decisions by variety of viewpoints, standpoints, and life experiences. It then bestows the business with a unique competitive advantage in their market niches.

One thing is for sure, despite all these truths, formulation of a diverse workforce is something that needs actual work. It requires firms to make certain that diversity is not just merely an afterthought that comes in mind after a CSR presentation. Rather it is a value that is weaved in the core fabric of the corporate culture.

It can be promoted through the introduction of policies in which flexible working is permitted, and it is made certain that both women and men professionals from minorities can flourish. Companies must have frank and honest discussions about the ways in which they can promote diverse and inclusive working atmosphere.

The moral and business opinions for diversity are growing on a daily basis. It requires that not only diversity must be embraced, but it must be embarked upon as well, especially when the benefits of a successful and diverse workforce are considered.

MAKING DIVERSITY ACTUALLY WORK, INCORPORATION IN GOALS AND STRATEGIES

Once the business notion has been established, the workforce diversity can aid the organization to reach the fresh markets and create greater capital based on rational approaches, the business can survive well.  So how can one make it real? It is one thing that diversity is acknowledged, and it is the other that it is added as a value to the business and makes it a reality. Barbara Stern, the vice president of Diversity at Brookline, Mass-based Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, accepts that diversity recruitment is an act of balancing. Even when the business cases are clear, decisions must be made to ensure the certainty that black and Hispanics do not feel left out from the whole process and also that they do not feel lost. According to Stern, it is important that the customers must view diversity throughout the organization. Especially in organization customers, search for people in the organization who look like them and share their culture and values.

The marketing professionals also realize the importance of diversity. The recent total spending by minority groups in The US is approximate $500 billion on an annual basis, and it is estimated to grow further at a rate of 50% or even more in the next three years. Bob Baublitz, a marketing manager working in Bell Atlantic’s ethnic and premium markets division in the city of New York, acknowledges the importance of diversity by saying “Prior to we can sell to these clients, first we must have to hire them, promote them and retain the minorities because diversity inclusion begins at home”.

HOW TO PUT THEORY INTO ACTION? USE THE GUIDELINE BELOW:

To enhance the effectiveness of diversity practices at all the levels in the organization, it is mandatory that diversity first must exist in it. According to Simmons Associates, a New Hope, Pa. –based consulting firm, here are some key ways that can help in the recruitment of diverse employees:

  • Develop networks with minority students and colleges
  • Promote scholarships and corporate level internships
  • Aid the job fairs for minority communities
  • Strengthen partnerships with organizations for minority student professional
  • Develop partnerships with minority organizations
  • Check all the websites where the CVs of diverse individuals can be obtained
STEPS WHICH MUST BE TAKEN IMMEDIATELY

If you want to promote the diversity practices in your organization, then you must consider and implement the following plan:

  • Recognize and begin developing connections with national minority organizations. These must be not only on the basis to provide access to the college age minority students, but also for gaining access for those minority members who can work on mid or senior level positions.
  • Advertise recruitments on minority publications such as Emerge or The Advocate and Hispanic times, etc. Utilize your internal employee resource groups. Inquire the minority employees to give insight into places and ways which could help to recruit diverse applicants.
  • Create training sessions for leaders to make sure that the diverse candidates are not left out in the interviewing process, just because they are different.
  • Appreciate the cultural norms of diverse candidates
  • Create partnerships with marketing groups to make sure that all the marketing- not only the recruitment advertising- promotes a diverse combination of individuals.
TIPS AND STRATEGIES TO INCORPORATE DIVERSITY INTO RECRUITMENT AND HIRING PROCESS

The tips and the strategies for firms that are searching for the incorporation of diversity into the hiring process are given below:

Initially, in the first step, break up the hiring process into three functional parts so as to analyze and build up of diversity initiatives around the organization.

These are:

  1. Recruiting procedure
  2. Interviewing procedure
  3. Hiring procedure

In the next step, consider these functional parts in the two-dimensions, which are at the individual and the system levels.

Any employee who is involved in these three functional parts at any particular position (for example, at recruiter, or interviewer or as a hiring manager) must know and agree upon the minimum job requirements and the required job responsibilities. For example, the essential job function must appear in the job description, in the interview questions, and in the applicant rating system as well, when hiring decisions are to be made.  Diversity cannot be practiced until there is a sound system present to support it.

The cultural competencies must also be built up into the hiring process for the defined areas of diversity in the organization (for example, does the organization considers diversity by race and gender only or it does include age, sexual orientation and disability also). You can include:

  • Identification of the bias and barriers for the diverse candidates during the hiring process
  • Once these are identified, put efforts to educate all the employees who are engaged in the recruitment process when these barriers and biases appear during the recruiting, interviewing or in between the hiring process.
  • Initiate a process to make alterations so that these barriers can be eliminated.

The changing requirements of the workforce are recognized by most of the organizations. Some organizations even have employees who are retiring next year. The applicant pool these days is much different than it was years ago, so the need is to address those requirements.

First step: Workable diversity and inclusion methods for recruiting

The adoption of a key method for diversity recruitment will certainly embrace the expanding current recruiting practices. The consistent usage of this approach will result in gaining more diverse candidate group, and the workforce will be admirable. Studies have also revealed that about 65% to 75% of the hiring in The US is filled up via employee referrals or simply networking. Therefore, to get a diverse background, it is necessary to focus on the efforts that promote networking in diverse individuals. All employees must be viewed as potential recruiters for an organization. For this purpose, a referral bonus must also be given to the employees when someone new is hired via a referral.

Second step: Workable diversity and inclusion methods for interviewing

The best method by which an organization’s employee selection procedure can be made more inclusive and welcoming for the diverse applicants is to learn about it directly from the diverse candidates themselves. These are the professionals who have an authentic experience of bias and cultural misunderstandings, and they know how it feels. So they can prove to be the best sources from which ideas can be gained about how positive changes can be made within the firm regarding diversity practices. Thus, it also provides a way by which interview questions are generated for the diverse applicants.

Third step: Workable diversity and inclusion methods for hiring

Keep a track of new and past diverse hires. Address the mistakes were done. For the diverse hiring procedure, go on with whatever solutions helped the applicants to get hired easily. Inquire them about what works well and take their advice that can help in the organization’s initiatives for diversity hiring.

Good news: US companies weigh in on the matters of diversity

The aim of AT&T is: have the best professionals talent at the table from every ethnic background, according to Rick Gomez, the executive director of Global AT&T college recruiting. For this purpose, the firm develops programs and strategies that grab the attention of some minority applicants. It is because they simply give much importance to diversity in work teams. The company is also partnering with student organizations instead of their aim, and it also sponsors many national and local events for the promotion of diversity. They are working with organizations such as National Society of Black Engineers, etc.

Just like AT&T, another firm named Chubb Insurance makes a targeted approach and taps the doors of various campus organizations such as The Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and others. Chubb propagates its diversity practices through partnering with Howard University so that they can have several direct diverse hires from the University. Meghan A.Henson, the VP of Chubb Insurance explains that this partnership is done to focus on exposing diverse students to the insurance industry. Through it, they are permitted to spend a whole day at any of their 50 branches all over the country. In this way, they will learn about the industry practices and can also have a view of their lifelong career further in this field.

Other companies like the Bank of America has strengthened the partnership with 12 diverse colleges and universities across the country including the black colleges and several Hispanic-serving institutions. The firm recently recruits 200 schools globally to accomplish their targeted diversity efforts.

Upon examining several firms for the campus recruiting, it’s quite clear that US top companies are searching the diverse talent pools. Precisely speaking, all of us are diverse. Can anyone be defined by a box? Certainly no! Hiring must be done for the most qualified candidate. By using diversity recruiting practices, the whole applicant pool is nearly boiled down for finding the best and the most qualified candidate. So, overall the situation of diversity practices in recruitment and hiring in business is improving in The US. This means that recruiters realize the importance of diversity practices.

Diversity is important, and it must be practiced globally. For this purpose, most talented and committed professional having diverse perspectives should be brought together under one roof. In this way, people can also challenge each other’s thinking and can solve the organization’s problems with collective efforts; obviously, there will be numerous points of view for a single problem. Diversity is a vital element of business practices, and it must be valued and fostered in the workplaces as well. Programs that promote and celebrate diversity provide networking opportunities for employees. Diverse workforces must be encouraged because everything done must be for the benefit of customers. Promotion of diversity helps to create the best people, those who think and understand together and can fulfill the diverse demands of the global market much efficiently than others.

,

L.A. Teacher: Anyone can Create a Better World

 

Recent gun shootings have been a frequent headliner. The society seemed to forget what and how it is to make a better and greater society. However, a 53-year-old Los Angeles teacher shows that the formula to a better society is “Kindness creates kindness, generosity creates generosity and love creates love.”

Recently, Tony Tolbert, a Harvard alumnus and a law professor from UCLA, handed the keys to his own home to a struggling single mother of four young children with the hope that his act will help them achieve a more secure and stable life.

Felicia Dukes and her family, the recipient of Tolbert’s generosity, will take ownership of everything inside Tolbert’s house including all of its modest furnishings. Tolbert plans to move back to his parent’s home and stay at the same bedroom where he grew up learning several virtuous acts.

In his interview with CBS News, Tolbert explained,”You don’t have to be a billionaire to do something good for someone else.” He added, “You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or Oprah. We can do it wherever we are, with whatever we have and for me, I have a home that I can make available.”

Tolbert credits his beliefs and principles to his equally generous father, a former entertainment lawyer, who he recalls has always allowed any needy stranger to temporarily occupy their family’s spare bedroom. He remembers that their spare bedroom has always been occupied by someone totally unrelated to their family.

“It planted the seed that that’s something you do,” he still reflects. “You take care of other people who are in a position where help is needed. If I say I’m generous… then I should be generous.”

Then enter Felicia Dukes’ family, whom Tolbert never met before but knew there was something he could give them and that is his own home. Before their meeting, Felicia Dukes’ family stays in a single occupancy residence at Alexandria House, a shelter that cares for women and children. However, Felicia is having a tough time since her eldest son could no longer stay with them at the shelter.

One day, she received some wonderful news. “I got a call they (Alexandria) had a young man that wanted to donate his house for a year,” Dukes recalls. “I’m looking like, what? Are you serious?”

The news was as real as the rising sun. Tony Tolbert, whom the family now considers as a grace from heaven, was serious in giving the family a new lease on life.

“My heart just fills up and stuff,” said teary-eyed Dukes, who welcomed the New Year with her family inside their very own home.  “Um … I’m just really happy.”

Tolbert has been in search of a deserving non-profit organization and its dependents through which he could endow his home. He finally settled with Alexandria House after learning about its mission and being impressed with some of the added services its counselors provide for their clients.

“I think if we can share more stories about people doing nice things for other people, and fewer stories about people doing horrible things to other people, that’s a better world,” said Tolbert, who also recently began studying Tibetan Buddhism.