Saturday, December 28, 2013

Racial Endearment: Is it Okay to use "White Face" for your Brand?

This topic has always been troubling for me. Is it okay to splash white images a.k.a people all over your brand as to increase "Brand Equity". We found this article on "Black Life Coaches" addressing the controversial marketing strategy and would love to know your opinion.

I was quickly contacted by a world renown publicist. He had the credentials, connections and track record many publicists would pay to have. He said that he read my book, loved it and would like to represent me. He said he think it has national appeal for all audiences and to sell tons of copies. He said he is sure he can get me on all of the top morning television shows, Good Morning America, Today Show, Wendy Williams show and The Kelly and Michael show to start. By the way, I’ve never been on any of these shows. He said it wouldn’t be hard, I have a good story; I am a decorated military veteran who resigned for a life in Corporate America [went through a scandal] and then resigned to pursue a life as an entrepreneur a decade ago. I successfully made all transitions. He said the book was well-written and easy-to-read, innovative, applicable and practical. With all of these praises I thought to myself, “Then let’s do it!” But about 30 minutes into the conversation his tone changed. He had one condition. I said, “I am willing to adjust” simply because I was eager. But the condition was tough for me. He wanted me to change the image on the cover of my book.

I thought to myself, “He means the black guy?” The guy isn’t me but to me he is a representation of me. The publicist went on to say, if you want success in something like a self-help book, instructional business or intellectual services, you must be able to appeal to a large audience and a black face doesn’t do it. I thought to myself. “This is crazy. What do I do?” He told me to think about it for about a week and let him know. I struggled with the idea. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I told him in about 3 days. I felt like I would sending the wrong message. Like I would be misleading folks, especially since my picture is on the back and the majority of people who support me are black anyway. The publicist respected my position but gave me a lecture on how brilliant I am but I am stunting my growth. I respected his insight too, but I just couldn’t do it.

However, he heightened my senses. I started to watch as other black professionals did what he recommended. One day I went to a black entrepreneur conference and saw in amazement the amount of marketing paraphernalia from intelligent entrepreneurs that didn’t have black faces on them. I inquired to one of them, who were selling training services. He stammered as he pleaded his case. I told him to calm down. I am not judging you. I just want your perspective. He said “Blacks would trust whites and whites would trust whites, but blacks find it hard to trust blacks with knowledge enhancement.” It became a money thing to him. But it became a movement for me.

The thing is there are so many great and intelligent blacks out here. We can’t simply put white faces on our materials to increase our value, appear inclusive and seem more intelligent as soon as our star begins to rise. And when we put black images on our marketing, it shouldn’t come across as being divisive or only good for “blacks” either. We must work to change that belief. This may work for your business but it damages race relations. It sends subliminal messages in my opinion. It says white is the better value and blacks aren’t.

Now my book may sell slower than it would have if I changed the cover image but what I am speeding up is the belief that good things can come out of the black community. If I changed the image on my book, I may have sped up my sales but I would’ve slowed down the belief that there is good in black. So be it. I pray. Do right. And work hard regardless.

I believe the “Black-Owned” era should be over and we should be stepping into the “Best-Owned” era. By Devin Robinson  POWERM.O.V.E

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