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  • July 29, 2021

    The State of Corporate Social Responsibility

    George Floyd Mural

    The murder of George Floyd last year spurred a national movement for racial justice and prompted demands that businesses do more to combat racism. Companies could no longer hide in the void of silence. 

    Although many brands had taken steps to become more socially responsible prior to the acceleration of the racial justice movement, there was still more work to do. It was no longer enough to simply not be racist. People demanded that companies use their platforms to demonstrate active anti-racism. Authentic and meaningful change was expected. 

    Fortunately, that’s exactly what we saw. Brands began to redevelop and pivot their internal and external communications to align more with social justice efforts. However, it has been more than a year since racial justice was brought to the forefront of the national conversation. In that time, what has been accomplished? Has progress crept to a halt? And, most important, what should happen next?

    Brand Diversity in Action

    In the wake of the U.S. racial justice movement, many companies did step up. Brands looked at their marketing efforts and asked themselves how they could effectively promote holistic diversity and inclusion. Many companies developed targeted advertising material for minority audiences, but, more importantly, they ensured the actual representation of minorities in ad creative.

    Representation was not the only step forward. Companies became introspective. Many businesses lacked diverse leadership and opportunities for minority employees to move up within the company. Now, we are seeing more minorities placed in positions of leadership and the implementation of new programs to help future minority employees achieve the same goals. 

    Above all, brands have finally begun to prioritize engagement with Black consumers and underserved communities. For a long time, brands have “talked the talk,” without committing to any real action. Authenticity comes from doing rather than saying, though, which is why many major companies such as Coca-ColaTarget and Netflix have directed money toward Black community initiatives and made efforts to buy from Black suppliers. 

    It seems that many brands are putting forward long-term equity and inclusion initiatives and committing funds to continuing their efforts in the future. Only time will tell if all companies stay the course, but we are hopeful that many will. 

    Running Out of Steam?

    Last summer’s racial justice movement was one of the most powerful we’ve seen in a long time, and it led to real change. However, now that a whole year has gone by, are people losing momentum? As time goes on, all movements start to dissipate, but it’s important to understand that people haven’t stopped caring about racial injustice because it isn’t getting as much media coverage. It’s incredibly difficult to keep the attention of millions of people on one topic for an extended amount of time, no matter how crucial it may be. New issues arise every day. However, many people still continue to push for equality within their own communities at a more local level. Additionally, commitment to keeping the heat on intolerance for racial discrimination within the workplace seems to have remained steady, and that’s promising.

    Protest on Capitol Hill

    There are still instances where people come together to keep businesses in check and hold them accountable through – you guessed it – social media. Social media users have been keeping a watchful eye, and it’s hard to hide within the world’s largest global communication channel.

    So, to answer the question “is the racial justice movement over”?  No. The movement is never over, and brands should still be doing the work to achieve equity. We may not be as loud as we were a year ago, but we are all still here. We are waiting, watching and continuing to push for progress wherever and however we can, with smart brands doing their part. 

    Corporate Responsibility: What’s Next?

    We’ve seen many brands make promises to minority communities and businesses within the past year, but time will reveal who is authentic in their commitment. Apathy and inaction are the greatest threats to social justice. 

    Staying vigilant is imperative as everyone gets back to post-pandemic ho-hum marketing. Keep an eye on brand marketing efforts –  was their allyship genuine or an attempt to capitalize on a large social movement? The onus is on organizations to stay committed to inclusivity, but we’re here to call out those who don’t adhere to the voices of millions across the globe. Continue to question brands on their social commitment to reform, choose to work with multicultural agencies and, as always, speak up in favor of change. 

  • July 16, 2021

    Back In Office Routine Basics and Tips

    The pandemic cast many of us out of the office and kept us captive in our homes for months. We traded in our work clothes for sweatpants, moved our meetings from the conference room to Zoom rooms, and converted our living space to office space. Working from home was a challenge for most at first, but we slowly adjusted to the circumstances.

    Empty office

    Recently, we’ve been told we can start easing our way back to normal. The problem? Normal feels like a lifetime ago…what does ‘normal’ even look like anymore?

    For some, it could be hard to come back to the office full-time; some may have found they like work from home better, and others might not feel ready to return just yet. No matter what your reason is for feeling anxious about the daily trek back into the office, here are some helpful tips to make the transition a bit easier.

    Re-establish a Positive Office Culture

    Women walking and laughing in an office

    A business can thrive when it has created a culture that enables its employees to thrive. Office culture is one of the most important assets for recruiting and retaining talent. When employees enjoy their jobs, communicate well with each other, and believe in the mission of the company, they’re more inclined to produce their best work. 

    However, culture is a delicate ecosystem that must be maintained. When COVID-19 hit, people were no longer able to have consistent, in-person interaction with each other in the office. It’s hard to maintain in-office culture when there is no office to go to. Instead, most people were isolated with nothing to do but stare at a laptop for hours daily, and that can take a toll on anyone. Getting back to the office will help employees reestablish the comradery and team spirit they’ve lost over the last year professionally – and personally.

    Routine, Routine, Routine

    By now, we’ve all mostly adjusted to a remote work routine. Your ‘new normal’ might consist of waking up a few minutes before work and making your daily commute across the hall to your “office”. Getting reenergized can be tough, but people are creatures of habit! Start waking up at the time you would for your commute to the office. Pack yourself a lunch in the morning or meal prep the weekend before a long work week. Put on business casual attire – shoes and all.  A gradual return to your schedule before the pandemic could save you from experiencing shock when you do go back. 

    Bedroom office

    Make a Back-to-the-Office Bucket List

    COVID-19 made us miss the simplest of things. You may have missed dining at restaurants with friends or going to the movie theatre. Going back to the office is an opportunity to indulge yourself and do all the little things you’ve missed. Let this be a celebration! Make a list of things you’ve missed most about being in the office and cross them off as you complete each one. Here are some examples:

    • Hang out with co-workers after work
    • Eat at the pizza place next door for lunch
    • Redecorate your office (or new office if you moved like us!)
    • Attend a company retreat
    • Listen to the radio on the way to work
    • Appreciate the view from your window

    Having a back to the office bucket list will give you something to look forward to when going into work every day. You can even take the idea a step further and make official plans with coworkers to cross items off your lists together. Your list will serve as a great reminder after the pandemic to cherish the little things in life.

    Connect with Leadership

    People shaking hands in an office

    More than likely, your leadership has a plan for the transition back to the office. Listen closely to their plan and speak up if you have additional ideas. Everyone is looking to make the transition back as easy as possible. Expressing your fears, worries, and expectations gives leadership a better idea of how to craft a plan that works for the whole team. Employees that don’t feel safe or happy at work will be too preoccupied to perform to the best of their ability. So, don’t be shy to reach out to your leadership, and don’t be afraid to be honest. 

    Making a smooth transition back to the office may seem daunting, but it can be done. The SRB team knows because we did it! Our CEO, Dr. Sheila Brooks, believes the office is, “a special place where people can be creative and collaborate to create amazing work.” She supports and has followed D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s initiative to get the city back to work and back to the office. Dr. Brooks was constantly communicating the most current updates for D.C. to the team and had clear steps planned to safely get the team back in the office, once vaccinated and certain restrictions were lifted.

    Transparency needs to come from both sides. Employers should be honest about their plan and, in return, employees should give honest feedback. Now, we’re all back in the office and loving it. Just take a look!

    SRB Leadership Retreat

    Post-pandemic, work for a lot of people probably won’t ever look the way it used to. Some businesses have chosen to go fully remote, and others are trying out a hybrid approach. For those destined to be back onsite, use these tips. It’s important to embrace the positives and check-in with yourself regularly. It’s a unique process for everyone, but honesty will help guide you through it.

  • June 28, 2021

    Podcasts for Budding Entrepreneurs

    Hello new entrepreneurs! So, you’re ready to dive into the business world and dominate your industry? That’s great!

    But have you worked out how you’re going to make your dream a reality?

    Sometimes, inexperienced entrepreneurs jump into new business ventures without really knowing what they’re getting themselves into, and that can make things a lot harder. You may find yourself in a situation that you lack the experience or knowledge to handle. You may struggle to maintain the momentum you started with, and you will certainly hit roadblocks along the way. 

    One of the best ways to stay inspired and prepare yourself for the types of challenges you may face as an entrepreneur, though, is to listen to those who have come before you. For the busy start-up founder or budding CEO, podcasts are a great option to pick up helpful info and industry advice while on the move. 

    Check out the podcasts below and get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

    How I Built This

    NPR’s How I Bult This is a fantastic peek into the lives of some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. On each episode, a new entrepreneur shares their story from the inception of their idea to where they are now. How I Built This has a large listener base and has featured big names such as Chipotle’s Steve Ells and Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd. By listening in, you can learn from the mistakes and missteps of other entrepreneurs to avoid making them yourself. Every episode offers insights into a different industry and general business advice, so it’s the perfect option for any up-and-comer. How I Built This is also a great reminder that even the most successful entrepreneurs started out just like you!

    How I Built This cover photo

    StartUp

    Unlike How I Built This, where each episode tells a different entrepreneur’s story, StartUp has three seasons dedicated to one entrepreneur’s story. The podcast, created by Alex Blumberg, follows Blumberg as he leaves the security of his job to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations, offering listeners a detailed look into both the professional and personal life of a new entrepreneur. What makes StartUp unique is that Blumberg is not reflecting on his past experiences. Instead, he is chronicling his experiences in real time, which makes the podcast feel current and relevant. Blumberg even includes real, recorded conversations with his wife, business partner and potential investors. Blumberg’s podcast truly opens your eyes to the reality of becoming an entrepreneur in today’s world. 

    StartUp Cover Photo

    The Pitch

    As a new entrepreneur, you will be pitching all the time. You’ll be pitching to your family, your friends, strangers, basically anyone who will listen. Continuous pitching pushes you to refine your idea, and it is good practice for larger, higher-stakes pitches in the future. Pitching to investors is key for entrepreneurs. The Pitch podcast lets you listen in as entrepreneurs make real pitches to investors. Think Shark Tank, but in podcast form. You’ll get a sense of what the entrepreneurs do well and what they do poorly when presenting their ideas. More importantly, though, you’ll hear the types of questions investors ask, and you can tailor your own pitch to answer those questions.  

    The Pitch Cover Photo

    There is no shortage of podcasts for entrepreneurs. The options listed above are just a few great resources for those who are new to the game. Knowledge is the best tool for an entrepreneur. The more you learn, prepare and research, the easier it will be to start your business. 

    Who knows? If you put in the effort, it could be you sharing your success story on a podcast one day!

  • June 15, 2021

    Getting Back to Normal: Marketing During the Transition Out of COVID-19

    In March of 2020, the pandemic changed every aspect of our lives. All of us, including marketing professionals, had to adjust to the new normal. Ads were scrapped, entire campaigns were forced to pivot, and industry professionals rushed to find new ways to reach consumers. Our marketing tactics changed to reflect the world around us. SRB Communications even wrote a blog on a marketer’s role during COVID-19. However, what happens now?

    As we slowly and optimistically move toward reopening, we find ourselves in an odd position. Social-distancing requirements vary from place to place. Not everyone is comfortable taking off their masks just yet. It can be challenging to know where people stand. So, the question is no longer, “How do I market in a pandemic?” It is now, “How do I market as we transition out of a pandemic?” 

    Here are three key areas to pay attention to:

    Government Regulations

    Public health regulations are constantly shifting right now, but it’s important to stay up to date. Your marketing should always reflect the health and safety guidelines outlined by government officials, both local and federal. If the local and federal guidelines don’t align, you need to assess who you’re trying to reach. It is usually best to follow federal regulations, but you may have more flexibility if your message is aimed at a local audience. Regardless of what the health and safety measures are in your area, the best course of action is to cater to your audience.

    Audience

    A mask hanging from a rearview mirror

    Listening to your audience is imperative right now. They are living in the gray area between the pandemic and normalcy just like you. Some people feel safe because there is large-scale access to vaccines and a good portion of the population has been vaccinated. However, some are apprehensive because the pandemic is still ongoing. You know your audience better than anyone, and if you don’t, do the research! Listen and figure out what they’re telling you. Let them lead the charge and guide you out of this pandemic.

    Competitors

    Paying attention to your competitors and the marketing industry at-large will give you a good idea of the current trends and best practices during the post-pandemic transition. If your competitor’s work starts to promote more normalcy, take steps to match them. It’s important to maintain a watchful eye. You don’t want to risk being too early to arrive at the new normal or be left in the past when everyone else has moved on. Keep a pulse on the industry.

    This present state that we are in is truly unusual, plain and simple. We’re all tiptoeing our way back out into the world and figuring out the best way to connect with those around us again. Eventually, we’ll know how to navigate through this stage. It’s just a matter of time.

  • May 28, 2021

    Five Social Media Marketing Strategies to Maximize Exposure for Your Business

    Social media has become a huge part of branding, but there are far more components to it than posting pictures and getting “likes.” Technology is consistently evolving, so brands must keep up to stay relevant. While brand exposure is difficult to precisely measure, it is still imperative to take the necessary steps to engage as many viewers as possible. SRB Communications has been in business for more than 30 years. The key to our success is being able to adapt and pivot marketing strategies over time to stay relevant with the marketing trends.

    It is important to have a brand strategy in place first. The strategy not only determines what your brand represents, but also your purpose and target audience, to name a few. If one of your business goals is to grow your audience and gain more exposure, then continue reading as we highlight some of the top marketing strategies you should know about in 2021.

    Phone with Social Media Apps

    Tailor Your Content for Each Social Media Platform

    Some of your content may need to be tailored to fit your various social media platforms, as different platforms serve different purposes and attract different audiences. Your content is not “one size fits all” and may miss the mark with some of your viewers if treated as such. Consider your audience and alter your use of language and images to fit in.

    Effectively Tell Your Story

    Brand storytelling is using a narrative to connect your brand to customers, with a focus on linking what you stand for to the values you share with your customers. Brand storytelling lets you communicate more than what you do; it helps you show people what you believe. When you articulate your values, you make it easier for people to align themselves with your brand. Here are some examples of how certain brands shared their story.
    https://www.webfx.com/blog/marketing/5-storytelling-marketing-examples-to-inspire-your-strategy/

    Create More Graphics, Imagery and Video Content

    People are visual beings by nature. Visuals give your audience a better understanding of not just the message, but what’s behind the message. According to an article on Search Engine Journal, images or videos perform better on average than nonvisual content, receiving up to 94 percent more views, and tend to stay ingrained in people’s minds a lot longer.

    Share Educational Content

    Creating educational content is an impactful way to build value for your audience. Educational content can be a powerful tool that brings more people to your business, strengthens awareness for your programs and initiatives, and more. Knowledge is power, and at SRB Communications, we pride ourselves on creating compelling brand awareness campaigns for our clients every day. We also enjoy creating “how-to” blogs that add value for our clients and audiences. Educational content can include social media posts, blogs, infographics, videos, hosting webinars, workshops and more.

    Engage with Your Audience

    Engaging with your audience is important as it builds trust between your brand and the viewer. When you properly engage, your audience is more likely to be a frequent user of your website, visit more pages during a session, tune in to your social media content, sign up for an email newsletter or follow through on your call to action. A few ways that you can engage with your audience can include having conversations with them, asking specific questions that relate to things they are interested in, promoting other people’s content, the list goes on. Here is a list of more ways you can engage with your audience: https://www.omnikick.com/increase-social-media-engagement/

    Growing your business’s presence can be challenging and does not happen overnight, especially with the ever-changing digital and social media trends. Therefore, it is essential to stay tuned to the developments in your respective industries, the patterns of your target audience and the latest trends to act accordingly.

    Overall, we’ve discussed a few tactics that can get you started, but keep in mind there are many more trends to be mindful of when growing your business. Every strategy out there is not guaranteed, and it may not align with your business goals. The best thing to do is to test and analyze different methods to see what works best for your business. It’s never too late to go back to the drawing board. Keep striving!

  • May 14, 2021

    Short Video vs. Long Video: Making the Most Out of Your Video Content

    As a video marketer the question tends to linger, “How long should my video be to capture the viewer’s attention?” The answer to this question is not as simple as you would think and depends on a few factors such as the video content, the viewing platform, your target audience and the purpose of your video. If you didn’t know, SRB Communications started off in 1990 strictly as a production company! For the first 18 years of business, all we did was produce compelling videos for our clients in various formats, lengths and more. So, as you can imagine, it is exciting for us to see how video has significantly changed over the years. It is our goal to create videos that are aligned with the trends, and strategically planned and filmed to receive the best ROI for our clients and their target audiences. Keep reading as we highlight the pros and cons for short videos and long videos that should help you determine which length may work best for you.

    Two people editing videos and images on their laptops

    Short Video Content Pros

    Videos that are two minutes or shorter tend to capture the viewer’s attention longer than 10 seconds and convey key messages and information needed.

    Ideally videos that are 30 seconds or shorter tend to have the most views.

    Producing short videos is easier and requires less time to produce.

    According to Business2Community, more people are likely to engage with your short videos and 92 percent of people who watch short videos on their mobile devices are likely to share your content with others.

    Short videos are ideal for Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram. Here are some examples in a great blog from Wishpond: https://blog.wishpond.com/post/115675438075/ads-that-converts

    Short Video Content Cons

    Due to limited time frames, your communications and content will need to be condensed, which means that you may not be able to include all the details ideally preferred.

    Creating valuable and engaging content in such a short window can be challenging.

    Long Video Content Pros

    Videos over three minutes are a small investment of time which makes them long-form content. This means that you will have to capture the viewer’s attention at the start of the video to keep the viewer invested.

    If you keep your videos under 10 minutes you will avoid losing viewers.

    Since there are no time constraints, long videos are more likely to provide a large quantity of impactful information that will connect with your audience if executed properly.

    Studies show that 22 percent of people were more likely to watch a 10-to-20-minute video as long as the content was engaging and informational.

    Long videos contain more content, which means that you can edit the video to create various versions of the same video to increase reach and engagement on your different platforms.

    Long videos are ideal for one’s website and YouTube. Here is a great example of a long form content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtV2JAHU-rI

    Long Video Content Cons

    More time and resources are invested in producing a long video.

    It is impossible to reach your entire target audience with long video content, therefore it is recommended that your content is applied specifically to your buyer’s persona further along the buyer’s journey.

    A majority of your key points will need to be loaded on the front-end to capture the viewer’s attention, as long video content usually does not secure many views.

    When creating videos, it is imperative that you take length into consideration when determining your target audience and the message you want to convey. Having engaging video content is a great way to drive business, effectively tell your brand’s story and increase conversions if the core messages are successfully communicated. Once you have determined your target audience, the viewing platform and your purpose of the video, then you can begin to decipher the best way to optimize your video length. Remember, there is no right or wrong option for you.

    We hope this is a helpful blog that you can reference when it comes to incorporating videos into your strategies. Wishing you all success with your content creation!

  • April 23, 2021

    How to Remain Relevant as an Author during the Pandemic

    Dr. Brooks opening up her first box of books in 2018

    The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdowns and isolation have left many of us with extra time on our hands. We filled in all kinds of ways – walks, exercise and hobbies. Some people have used that time to fulfill lifetime dreams of writing that first book.

    Three years ago today, our CEO, Dr. Sheila Brooks, released her first book, Lucile H. Bluford and the Kansas City Call: Activist Voice for Social Justice, in hopes of bringing light to a never before told Black female trailblazer and activist of Kansas City, Missouri. 

    She released her first book on this very day, April 23, in 2018, never thinking in her wildest dreams that a couple of years into her book release, right when she peaked on her book tour, that the tour and its accompanying publicity would come to an abrupt stop in 2020. 

    That all got us to thinking: How can you remain relevant as an author during the pandemic or any other disruption that basically shuts down America?

    The SRB Communications team, manages all of Dr. Brooks’s PR for her book. We faced a great challenge in 2020 when the global health pandemic hit. Our goal was to ensure that book sales did not plateau, even though face-to-face events and promotional opportunities disappeared almost overnight.

    Visiting The Kansas City Call Newspaper in Kansas City, Missouri on our book tour

    So, what did we do? We put our thinking caps on, strategized and pivoted. Whether you just wrote your first book and are wondering how to promote it in the midst of a pandemic, or you released a book a year or more ago and are stuck wondering what’s next and how to bounce back, this blog is just for you. Keep reading. We have some of our best and proven methods of success for remaining relevant as an author during COVID-19.

    First and foremost, it goes without saying, we have all experienced our fair share of the “Rona Blues” in the last year. As a full-service marketing and advertising agency, we saw many transformations. Not only with the team and our company, but we witnessed first-hand how the pandemic impacted our clients in all of our industry business verticals, as well as how it had an impact on entrepreneurs and their passion projects. From 2018 to the end of 2019, Dr. Brooks traveled across the country on a promotional tour for her book, sharing Bluford’s story. The SRB team secured conference sessions, vendor tables, author panels, keynote speakers, book signings, class lectures, fireside chats, television and radio interviews, the list goes on. Then came “Miss Rona” in the beginning of 2020 and everything changed. Well, almost everything. The one thing that remained consistent was Dr. Brooks’s book sales. And here’s how:

    1. Know your audience and stick to it. 

    Dr. Brooks and co-author Dr. Clint C. Wilson II

    Conduct an initial analysis of who your book represents and what are those unifying factors that they will latch on to, relate to and become invested in. For example, Lucile H. Bluford, was a journalist, an editor, a civil rights activist, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and a Black female, just to name a few key things. That initial assessment gave us several key categories and potential audiences that we were able to target. Your list can be short or as comprehensive as you like.

    2. Create a personal media list for your book.

    After you identify your audience, it’s time to compose a media list of all of the important individuals that you can contact at various organizations, libraries, schools, local publications, blogs, etc. You will want to start building connections with the media, if you already haven’t, to ensure your contacts will be more receptive when you find the right time to pitch your book for some PR. Relationships are harder to build and maintain during the pandemic. Don’t put off what you can start today.

    3. Create a comprehensive pitch, with multiple sections that you can plug and play when needed.

    Over the years, the one thing we consistently hear from our media connections is that people do not know how to pitch properly. It is important that your pitch as an author is not just your book summary and a laundry list of your professional accomplishments. Your pitches need to be short and sweet. DO NOT BURY THE LEAD in your email or phone call! Be specific to who you are pitching to, and even better if you can relate it to the organization, the specific radio host, or the current societal landscape and what we are all experiencing. Paint the story for them that you want told so they don’t have to do that work for you! The more tailored your content is to who you are pitching to, and the clear identifiable ways you can relate it to their audience, the higher chances you have of securing the event, interview or coverage. 

    4. Get creative with your virtual promo.

    Just because the in-person events have stopped, doesn’t mean there are no events going on! Get creative and find them or create them yourself. Host a panel with other fellow authors, seek virtual networking opportunities for authors or other business leaders and attend with the intent to promote your book, schedule times for some “live” chats on social media. Your opportunities are endless, and you can truly reach far more people that you would have in person, now that travel is not a barrier. This digital world that we are in now is always changing and people are looking for new things to engage in, now is your time! 

    5. Share engaging content from your past events or milestones.

    Celebrating the one-year book anniversary in 2019

    If you are not active on social media, you should be. It can really be one of your best friends as an author. Since in-person events have significantly declined, use this time to share throwback photos and videos from your past events. Tag the event hosts, the media outlets, and others who were there. You can also share book testimonials online too, that is a proven way to help others be more inclined to purchase your book. Don’t forget to add a call to action to anything that you share, to get higher engagement online.

    6. Plan in advance.

    Proper planning is the key for any successful strategy. Take the time to really map out the year, find key milestones in your book journey (like an anniversary) as well as key calendar year milestones and observances (i.e., Black History Month or Women’s History Month) and find ways to connect the two. This will help you stay ahead of what is to come, and not be reactive or miss opportunities.

    We could talk for days about the amazing experiences we had promoting Dr. Brooks’s book in her first three years, and more importantly all of the lessons learned. But today, on the anniversary of her book’s publication, and also World Book Day, we want to shout out to all of the wonderful authors out there! We know that this is no small feat, in addition to all that you do, many also working full-time jobs. Just remember, do not feel bad about bragging on yourself and your work because if you don’t tell your story, who else will? 

    2019 NAACP Image Award Nominee

    “On this book anniversary today, I am at a loss for words as I reflect on my journey as an author so far,” said Dr. Brooks. “It has been a blessing to travel across the country to share Ms. Bluford’s story, and more of a blessing to have your continued support for me and my book. It gives me great pleasure to share how we persevered during the pandemic, in the hopes that our story will help others through these trying times.”

    Asked about her journey as an author, Dr. Brooks said, “One of my proudest memories was being nominated for a 2019 NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author category! To have that honor in year one of my book was unbelievable. I truly cannot wait to see what is next.”

    Learn more on www.lucileblufordbook.com and purchase your copy of Lucile H. Bluford and the Kansas City Call: Activist Voice for Social Justice here. Happy World Book Day!

    – The SRB Communications Team

  • April 16, 2021

    Data Tracking: The Ethical Dilemma Within the Marketing Industry

    Consumers are becoming more aware of the actions taken by the companies they buy from. A company’s social responsibility to its community is under more scrutiny than ever before. People are looking to connect with businesses on a personal level and build relationships on shared values. If the values match up, consumers take notice and brand loyalty is born. However, the reverse is true. Consumers will demand change if their values aren’t being reflected in your business. 

    This can be seen clearly in the question of data ethic. Privacy has become increasingly important to people, especially in this digital and virtual world we are adapting to. People want their data private and protected, but some businesses survive on using this data. So, with this mismatch in values, what does the future look like for data collection? How will brands and companies adjust to consumer’s growing interest in the topic? Is there an easy fix? Keep reading to find out!

    The Problem

    Companies can’t just snap their fingers and stop using consumer’s personal data. Entire businesses are built on a revenue model that requires the collection and distribution of data. Without this, they would fail to make a profit. It’s like asking an ice cream shop to stop selling ice cream. However, for some, the demands for change outweigh the titanic effort it takes to evolve their business. Therefore many have decided to pivot to survive in this new climate.

    Advertisers have also become very dependent on this data. It has enabled them to create relevant and timely ads to target consumers. The reason why you see an ad for those shoes you really wanted, ten seconds after mustering the willpower to close the website tab, is because advertisers are using your data to make informed decisions about who to target. Without this data, the advertising industry would be sent back to the dark ages of blindly sending ads out, hoping to reach the right person.

    Analytics page displaying social media metrics

    Brands Leading the Change

    One of the largest data collectors is Google. This company has built an empire based on its perfected method of data collection. Google certainly hears the demands for change and has been working on a new way to ensure privacy, while maintaining the ability to collect data. Before, consumers were tracked using cookies that capture data. Now, with Google’s new method called “FLoC” (Federated Learning of Cohorts), consumers are grouped with other random individuals to better secure their data. This grouping helps you hide in plain sight, while also allowing Google to make a generalization based on the group’s overall data. The company will still use your data, but now it can’t be directly connected to you.

    Another brand taking data privacy seriously is Apple. While Google works around the data privacy issue by providing more security, Apple will stop it all together. Apple has promised to work on software updates that will allow the iPhone user to prevent apps from tracking them and sending targeted ads. This software update would significantly hurt advertisers. However, companies like Facebook are already looking for ways around it. Some ideas have ranged from updated payment models on their platform to ad notifications directly from the app. The real issue is the uncertainty of when exactly we’ll see widespread use of this update. Companies are obviously already trying to adapt, but did they start too late?

    Google app displayed on smart phone

    Data privacy is a hot topic and one that is constantly changing. New developments are being created each day. Whether you’re a consumer concerned about your data privacy or an advertiser worried about losing that data, it’s very important to stay up to date. Follow SRB’s social media to stay informed on the marketing news, so you don’t miss out on the latest advancements in the industry.

  • March 29, 2021

    The Past, Present and Future of Women’s History: A Journey Through the Marketing and PR Industry

    Women’s History Month is about more than history. It’s about the expanding recognition of women’s accomplishments; not just those of the past or current but encouraging the women of the future as well. As women, we must hold each other up. We remember the past to inspire ourselves today. However, we must remember to inspire the future generations now and not wait for them to go looking. 

    We thought it would be fitting to close Women’s History Month by taking a look at the past, present and future female leaders in the marketing, advertising and PR industry. As communication experts, our voices in the industry are vital. We communicate to the world what representation, equality and diversity look like. At different points in our lives, we exist in each of these categories. What do you want yours to say, and who do you want to inspire?

    Remembering the Past

    Caroline Robinson Jones

    Caroline Robinson Jones broke racial and gender barriers by becoming the most prominent Black woman in advertising. In the early 1960s, Jones started her advertising career right after college in New York as a secretary and copywriter trainee at J. Walter Thompson, later working her way up to creative director. During her career, some of her clients included: McDonald’s, Toys ’R’ Us, KFC, American Express, Campbell Soup, Prudential, U.S. Postal Service and Anheuser-Busch. Jones launched a series of Black ad agencies throughout her career, including the firm that she had opened known as Creative Resources Management in 1986.

    Caroline Robinson Jones
    Inez Y. Kaiser

    Inez Kaiser overcame the hardships that she faced during the Jim Crow era in Kansas City by becoming the first African-American woman to open her own public relations firm in 1957, Inez Kaiser & Associates, which served national clients. She was the first African-American woman to have her story published in a PR history textbook. While working in the industry some of her clients included: Jenkins Music, 7-Up, Sterling Drug, Burger King, Southwestern Bell Telephone and Sears Roebuck.

    Inez Y Kaiser
    Barbara Gardner Proctor

    Barbara Gardner Proctor had no idea that she would open and operate the second-largest African-American advertising agency in the U.S. She started her advertising career at the Post-Keyes-Gardner Agency where she won 21 awards during her three years at the agency before accepting a position at Gene Taylor Associates as a copy supervisor. In 1970, Proctor eventually opened her own advertising company known as Proctor & Gardner Advertising.

    Barbara Gardner Proctor

    Staying Current

    Carol H. Williams

    Carol H. Williams has been at the forefront of the company she founded, Carol H. Williams Advertising, since 1986. She has led and motivated more than 5,000 employees over a 30-year career and has exceeded $30 million in revenue during high-performance and growth periods. Her company prides itself on its award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for many Fortune 500 companies. Williams started her career at Leo Burnett Co. in Chicago and quickly earned a position as their first African-American female creative director and vice president. After 13 years at Leo Burnett, she served two years as senior vice president, creative director at Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco. 

    Carol H. Williams
    Dr. Sheila Brooks, Ph.D.

    Dr. Sheila Brooks is an Emmy Award-winning marketing, media and communications executive, a former television anchor and executive producer. She is founder, president and CEO of SRB Communications, our advertising, marketing and public relations agency based in Washington, D.C., which has provided advertising, multicultural and crisis communications strategy, creative, media buying and video production for more than 30 years. In 2019, we received the highest honor from corporate America when SRB was named Supplier of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Dr. Brooks’ résumé could go on for pages, but as the women closest to her every day, we find inspiration in her drive, passion and kindness. She is a true titan of industry and an even more amazing woman to know.

    Dr. Sheila Brooks, Ph.D
    Symone D. Sanders

    A champion for women, Sanders is currently serving as senior adviser and chief spokeswoman for Vice President Kamala Harris. A seasoned political strategist and former CNN political commentator, Sanders was a senior adviser in President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. In 2016, at the age of 25, she became the youngest national press secretary on record while working on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. That same year, she was named to Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election. Sanders also served as principal of the 360 Group, where she provided strategic communications guidance to organizations, businesses, individuals, campaigns and candidates and helps clients find sound solutions to tough political and social problems.

    Symone D. Sanders

    Looking to the Future

    As we traveled through the women of the past and present, we have arrived at the most important stop on our journey, the women of the future! Women like our CEO and so many others have truly paved the way for the rest of us. The younger generations, yes, we are talking about the infamous millennials and the up-and-coming Gen Zers, are the ones who are responsible for carrying on the torch. It is up to them to take what the women of the past have gone through, as well as what the current female leaders are going through and learn from it, build on it and inspire the generations to come after them. 

    This Women’s History Month we highlight all of the females who are chasing their dreams, fighting to overcome the daily barriers that are set before them and living boldly in their truths. We know for sure that the advertising, marketing and PR industry wouldn’t be the same without the leaders who came before us, so we honor you and we can only aspire to be as great as you! 

    Young girl smiles while she wears a “Future Leader” t-shirt.

    To the future female business owners, PR executives, marketing influencers, publicists, advertising directors, CEOs and presidents, and more, we salute you this Women’s History Month. You are a part of history in the making, so don’t you ever forget that!

    – Sincerely, the Women of SRB Communications