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Reaching African Americans

At the beginning of my career in public relations, marketing, HIV education, broadcasting and public health, many challenges were faced in the attempt to get organisations to reach African Americans and other communities of colour with the same respect and excitement. Moving from one corporation to another in the early 90s, I was convinced that no one capable of making decisions cared about making a difference or changing the way campaigns were conducted to better reach certain audiences.

As I started to feel more and more frustrated working for a variety of companies, I decided to start thinking outside of the box, so I created my own public relations firm with the help of older professional mentors from the marketing and advertising fields. Shaking in my boots every step of the way, the only choice I had was to keep moving forward so that I could help so many community-based organisations being ignored by the mainstream media and marketing firms. So, I created a firm called Promotions West, designed to demonstrate and instruct agencies how to create, understand, and manage their own marketing, public relations and advertising campaigns without being told what they needed from so many that had never visited those communities. We also teamed up with a sharp group of women of colour that created Social Light Communications and together we worked with each other and grew our product while building long-term relationships with community stakeholders.

By the year 2000, the agencies that had ignored these communities decided money was now flowing into those communities, so the game of cards started all over again trying to fool a group of people that were now more sophisticated in recognising fakes sliding into their communities for the money and not because of a genuine interest in helping to solve community-wide problems.

Over the years of watching the manipulation and abuse of communities, we at Promotions West decided to create a checklist that groups could utilise to set priorities on the ins and outs of conducting communication activities and engagements in their own communities. Over the years we have worked side by side with organisations to teach them how to conduct effective and successful marketing for their people. No one knows what works better in a community than the people that are a part of the community.

We offer our Checklist for Reaching the African American Community at no-cost to organisations that are truly interested in using it to make a difference. In all honesty, the work in planning successful events or campaigns is not easy and takes a lot of work initially, but the results are always positive. Each time gets better and easier to reach your goals. Our checklist includes the following:

  • Initial Planning

  • Planning

  • Execution

  • Funding & Tracking

  • Outreach

  • Research

  • Types of Media

  • Planning for Success

  • Evaluation

I hope our Checklist will help you to achieve your goals of successfully reaching the African American Community. Let us know if it helps or if there are any questions. You can download the checklist on the Promotions West website at: Remember, each adventure is an exciting and rewarding experience.

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