Author: Olivia Morgan

Consumer POV: Social Justice and Your Brand

By Olivia Morgan Blog

This past summer, New Orleans-based research firm MDRG tracked weekly consumer behaviors and attitudes culminating in their study, Black Lives Matter: MindStates and Metaphors. In a webinar for the New Orleans Chapter of the American Marketing Association, Consumer POV: Social Justice and Your Brand, MDRG’s Senior Director of Marketing and Operations, Stephanie Douglass, broke down what this data means for brands, researchers and marketing agencies. 

After 10 weeks tracking consumer behaviors related to COVID-19, the firm pivoted to track feelings around Black Lives Matter. For the purposes of this study BLM references the movement rather than the specific organization. 

Brands are looking to see how to reckon with racial issues internally and with their public messaging. One question Stephanie came to was, “How do we respond as an organization? Will our response push the movement forward and what impact will it have on our brand?”

By surveying over 200,000 consumers on their feelings around protests for four weeks they found that 6/10 in were in support of the protests with 2/10 neutral, and 2/10 against. Trends fell along expected lines in regards to age, urban and rural divide, and party lines.

Their study used online metaphor elicitation exercises to revel a conscious and subconscious responses to get a more complete understanding of consumer’s emotions. Two metaphors they found commonly present were journey and transformation.

“Ultimately, the fight for equality in America is seen as a long journey” Stephanie explained, “A majority of Americans believe brands have a role in this fight by responding to the issue of police violence.” Studies have found 69% of Gen Z are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes, and that some Americans would stop buying from a brand if they are perceived to have behaved hypocritically on the issues of racial injustice.

She stressed that it is crucial for brands to remain authentic, using their own voices to be believable and relevant. “Values your brand brings to the table in response to this changing dynamic should be ingrained in employees and internalized in the corporate culture,” she explained. 

How you’re treating your employees is a reflection of your brand just as much as your advertising. She noted a local example of the backlash faced by the Ace Hotel, when they posted a message in support of protests this summer. They were then called out publicly on the post by former employees for the hotel’s habits of using BIPOC identities to sell their brand while doing nothing to help when those employees were harassed by customers and management, and were kept from moving up. 

“Allyship without accountability is not enough,” she explained. She emphasized that while brands take actions such as hiring chief diversity officers, implementing programs to support value and mission, and change corporate culture it is crucial to look at the data to understand how black consumers experience your brand. 41% of black Americans feel that brands don’t understand them, and Stephanie feels it’s our duty to examine how our research and marketing policies are whitewashed.

“Most importantly, look at the data- identify key research studies to review with a lens toward diversity, and determine areas where black Americans are underserved by your brand and take action through specific initiatives to address these areas,” Stephanie said. 

To hear the full webinar withmore analysis of which brands are doing what well, how research companies can make their surveys more equitable, and a deeper dive into the data join our AMA NOLA Chapter and you’ll receive an email with all of our 2020/2021 webinar recordings. AMA NOLA has so many wonderful membership benefits, learn more. (If you’re already a member—YAY! You should have received the webinar recordings via email—if not—email

By Olivia Morgan, Fund Development Coordinator at Culture Aid Nola.

Diversity Done right: Strategies for Building Inclusive Brands

By Olivia Morgan Blog

Led by moderator Cleveland Spears III, a panel of local field leaders spoke on building inclusive brands in a recent webinar for the New Orleans Chapter of the American Marketing Association. 

There is a hard business case for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion increasing profitability, the panel agreed. “Consumers want brands not just to speak up about social issues in posts or advertisements, but to live their values,” explained marketing researcher Sondra Brown, founder and president of MDRG.

Kelli Saluny, the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Camelback Ventures says DEI is the best business case for the job market moving forward in terms of the talent pool you want to attract and the cost of high turnover within your company. “It isn’t just the moral imperative, there is money at stake if you don’t take this seriously,” she said. “We must be fully cognizant of not implementing race-neutral policies and practices to race-based problems.”

Hillary Davis, director of regional diversity and inclusion for Ochsner Health added, “Inclusivity is really about valuing the people that you have and showing that and integrating that into your policies and cultural observances.” Along with being a good corporate citizen in the communities where you are located, Hillary encourages companies evaluate their hiring practices, the inclusivity of their job listings and the diversity of the questions asked to ensure they are building an equitable workforce.

“Multicultural is mainstream now,” AnaMaria Bech of VIVA NOLA Magazine said. She cautioned that media entities should establish strong partnerships within their communities and support those they are trying to include to ensure they connect correctly and don’t the mark.

Moderator Spears explained that if there is not enough diversity in the room, and the inclusivity to make everyone feel safe speaking up at every level of the branding process, efforts will miss the mark. “There are hundreds of years of cultures that must be un-learned in society and our industry, it will take courage and intentionality from those in decision making seats to integrate diversity into our industry.”

To hear more from our panel analyzing campaigns that missed the mark, and other tactics for successful DEI branding, join our AMA NOLA Chapter and you’ll receive an email with all of our 2020/2021 webinar recordings. Learn more about the incredible membership benefits here. (If you’re already a member—YAY! You should have received the webinar recordings via email—if not—email

By Olivia Morgan, Fund Development Coordinator at Culture Aid Nola.

Power and Influence: Influencer Marketing Workshop

By Olivia Morgan Blog

Social Media Influencer marketing is the newest wave of digital advertising. Recently the New Orleans Chapter of the American Marketing Association hosted a workshop with two well-known local influencers to break down when and how to begin an influencer campaign with your brand. 

“When it comes to paying an influencer, you’re not paying them for the one post, you are paying them to maintain a relationship with their audience so that way when they post a sponsored post with you, they are interested in it,” said family and fashion blogger Jennifer Palpallatoc Perrault @HauteOffTheRack. Jennifer began blogging in 2012 as it was becoming popular, to create an online portfolio to get a job in the fashion industry. This has since opened up enough paid promotional opportunities for her to pursue blogging full-time for the past two years.

Jennifer likens sponsored posts to advertisements on a show- the influencer is the show, and to make money from the commercials, you have to put on a good show. She shares lifestyle and styling tips and has a loyal following of over 240k on Instagram, and has collaborated with brands such as Popeyes, Dove, Nordstrom, and Nivea. She says the best time to begin incorporating influencers are for product launches, sales, and new brand awareness. 

New Orleans native Tracey Wiley @tracey_wiley, began her influencer journey three years ago and uses her platform of 11k Instagram followers to share dining, shopping, and beauty picks while advocating for public education and equality. Blogging is a creative outlet from her job in public education and a way for her to combat her anxieties.

She says when pitching to brands, she looks to what she already uses to keep partnerships authentic and literally “in-house.” She likes to first outline her deliverables to a brand, and then build a relationship through phone calls. Jennifer says another great way to reach out to influencers is by sending an email pitch including campaign details with a scope of work and timeline.

Both influencers insist creative control is important, and that using their own voice to stage photoshoots with props, photographers, clothing is key to creating a natural-looking sponsored post. Tracy explains it is key to not only deliver great content for a brand, but to also present metrics of engagement rates, likes, comments, shares and saves for each post following the campaign. 

There are two different ways to measure success on a collaboration, either return on investment or brand awareness. Jennifer stressed it’s important to be clear with influencers from the start on which goal you are hoping to reach with your posts. She suggested influencers are typically better for brand building than conversion, and that it’s best to begin a relationship with an influencer to build brand awareness, and once it has been integrated into their market, they can build the trust with their followers to launch more successful campaigns for sales or conversions.

To hear the full webinar join our AMA NOLA Chapter and you’ll receive an email with all of our 2020/2021 webinar recordings. AMA NOLA has so many wonderful membership benefits, learn more. (If you’re already a member—YAY! You should have received the webinar recordings via email—if not—email

By Olivia Morgan, Fund Development Coordinator at Culture Aid Nola.

Let’s Get Real: Building Virtual Relationships So You Can Sell More!

By Olivia Morgan Blog

It often seems as if going digital — whether it’s been your preferred method of working for years, or a recent adaptation due to the COVID-19 pandemic — completely flips the game of sales and relationship management on its head. “While it is true that everything has changed, the reality is that nothing is really different,” Tom Martin explained in his recent webinar for the New Orleans Chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Tom is the founder and President of Converse Digital, and author of The Invisible Sale and Sell Greatly. For most of his career he’s worked with clients outside of New Orleans, and has perfected the art of engaging in a digital space.

Tom has developed a method of five P’s: Proximity, Preparation, Presence, Patience, and Preference, to stand out when building virtual relationships. The greatest of these, he insists are preparation and proximity. He suggests conducting social reconnaissance to ensure you never talk to a stranger. Start with LinkedIn and Facebook to find out not only who you need to be talking to, but the catalysts for future conversations. This is also a great way to build proximity to those you hope to form a relationship with.

Tom sees relationship building not unlike a taco truck- we must find where our clients are and take ourselves to them. Once those needs have been met, we must move again to somewhere else and continue to always find the markets where people are already interested. This is how we build propinquity- they state of being close to someone not just physically, but emotionally as well.

We’ve come a long way from when buying attention to land a sale was common — taking a client to dinner, attending a ball game, or drinks. Now that we live in a virtual world, it is more important than ever to earn someone’s attention, because it is easier now to simply ignore an email, or a call. Tom says the key in building any relationship is to always be of value, not simply in a transactional relationship for one’s benefit.

You can learn more about Tom’s “5P’s of Successful Sales” in his latest book, The Invisible SaleView the full webinar here to hear Tom’s answers to questions and examples of building strong digital relationships.

By Olivia Morgan, Fund Development Coordinator at Culture Aid Nola.

Marketing Tourism in a COVID Economy

By Olivia Morgan Blog

New Orleans’ tourism market is slowly returning, and leaders from across the city are working to return the city to its status as a major destination.

Mark Romig of New Orleans and Company explained this comeback will first be with the “drive market,” those within a 250-mile looking to get out of their towns for a quick trip without air travel. They are ramping up a fall campaign promoting safety and leisure travel, built on the idea that staying in a New Orleans hotel, rather than taking just a day trip, gives you the full hospitality experience.

Brigette Folse, Director of Sales and Marketing for Royal Sonesta New Orleans, says while leisure travelers are returning alongside a season of scaled-back weddings, the major meetings and conferences that once drew thousands are missing.

Brigette thinks of this challenge from the perspective of the event planner, and is reaching out and partnering with companies to begin delving into creative practices for hybrid meetings and conferences. She says maintaining safety expectations and branding cleanliness is key to returning people to hotels.

Most paramount to recovery is ensuring this safety, said Alana Harris, Deputy of Arts and Culture for the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy. “What we do now will impact what we are able to do in the future. Supporting initiatives like the gig-economy worker’s grants, and rental assistance funds is a big help to our cultural landscape,” Alana explained. 

The city has implemented Embrace the Culture, a virtual platform supporting creators in the community. This sets up a digital infrastructure for culture bearers to continue to practice safely in front of a global platform marketing them to future visitors.

While focusing on safety to draw in visitors is key for the city, it is important to also consider marketing to locals. Daniel Hammer, President and CEO of the Historic New Orleans Collection, says traditionally 65% of visitors to THNOC were regional tourists, out of town guests, 15% further away. During the pandemic THNOC pivoted their programming, and turned the assets of their catalog, including performances, lectures and film screenings into blogs, social media features and webinar programs. Over last five months, engagement with these programs has been approximate to the number of museum visitors they would have under normal circumstances.

“Our new challenge is how can we convert those engagements into visitors to the museum when we begin to be able to host on-site activities,” Hammer explained. Their marketing is now focused on bringing the local audience to the French Quarter, he said as THNOC reopened outdoor spaces and larger rooms and galleries to a slow trickle of visitors. 

Alana encourages everyone to support the artists and musicians who have kept the culture not only by visiting our local attractions as they reopen, but tipping culture bearers and giving them a seat at the table to not just at the party but where decisions are being made. She said, “Continue to stimulate, create, and preserve the culture virtually and digitally, keep ourselves safe so that we can all be together soon.” 

By Olivia Morgan, Fund Development Coordinator at Culture Aid Nola.

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