Jeffrey L. Bowman Says Brands and Businesses Should “REFRAME The Marketplace”

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jeffrey BowmanIn his new book, “REFRAME the Marketplace,” Jeffrey L. Bowman, advertising and marketing expert and former senior partner and managing director at Ogilvy & Mather, gives marketers a solid piece of advice with regard to reaching the New Majority via the Total Market Approach: “Grow your sales and expand your reach by deepening engagement with the new majority consumer.”

Not familiar with the terms ‘New Majority’ and ‘Total Market Approach?’ According to the book, it’s about shifting demographics. “Although the general and multicultural divide is still with us, parts of our business model have, in fact, morphed to reflect America’s dramatically shifting demographics…budgets have grown as these segments have ballooned, and the desire among brands for multicultural services has increased,” he writes.        

In a recent interview, Bowman told TNJ.com, “When you combine Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and LGBT from a population, that sum becomes the majority population. Part of my testament with regard to writing the book was to drive change within organizations to introduce new language. Minority often means ‘less than.’ When companies make business decisions, when we use the same language, we get the same outcome. How about we use the language, ‘greater than?’” 

A guide for brands and businesses, REFRAME fully prepares you to bring Total Market thinking to your office, department, and division and provides: 

– A self-assessment to evaluate how your enterprise approaches and plans for the New Majority

– A five-level framework to Total Market Enterprise Mastery, which quantifies the strategies and systems companies need to adopt at each development stage

– A convenient tool to measure your company’s readiness for the New Majority and track your improved position in the marketplace

– A first-of-its-kind index for tanking brands based on meaningful connections with consumers across all racial and ethnic segments, determining what ethnic segments drive the ranking, and pinpointing growth opportunities and revenue potential for particular groups 

Bowman made the case for Reframing at a daylong event last week dubbed, “REFRAME: The Summit, 3rd Annual Total Market Industry Conference.” Held at MIST Harlem, the event showcased his ideas via panel discussions led by leaders of some of the industry’s top companies including Verizon, Ogilvy North America and Prudential. “For me, this event was an opportunity to re-set the industry and bring all audiences together in terms of training and education in what I call the New Majority or the New Marketplace.” 
 
Here, Bowman tells TNJ.com more about the book and the conference.  

TNJ.com: Tell us about the term ‘Total Market Approach.’

Jeffrey Bowman: Total Market Approach refers to how we got here. How did the industry form?  McKinsey & Company introduced the phrase in the mid 1960s when they published a paper alerting brands about opportunities that advertisers and marketers would miss if they did not address their “Total Market” and show more engagement towards the wants and needs of the “upwardly mobile Negro,” as the phrase went back then. There were brands that were not paid attention because we made up a small number. But the new industry vertical shows that brands do procure our services. It’s a form of change management, so they become ‘New Majority-ready. ‘

TNJ.com: What are the current trends or challenges being discussed in the industry with regard to the book?

J.B.:  In 2010, when I was at Ogilvy we introduced the definition of total market from a media perspective. And today, we can have this conversation in a more productive way because of data. In 2010, it was about addressing the market that we encompass from a cross-cultural standpoint. Fast forward and the conversation has progressed.  There was fear from the general market as well as from the multicultural market that brands would not go to someone who would advise them. Walmart, Coca-Cola and General Mills all said that they would approach this from a Total Market Approach in shifting the advertising. Brands have not faced the hard truth that you need to Reframe.  There has been a negative impact to multi-service providers that everybody is the same. The good part is that there is a conversation about how to make the shift; how to provide the truth and here’s what the outcome should be from an organizational impact standpoint.

TNJ.com:  What is the big takeaway about the industry that you want people to get from the book?

J.B.: First off, everyone should be up for training; secondly, the way that we inform needs to be transformed; and third, I hope people become change agents within their internal organizations.  

TNJ.com: What was the inspiration behind launching the conference, which began three years ago? 

Bowman: When you think about Marketing Communications, it has been an industry divided between general market and multicultural. Those are the two industry verticals. So, every conference you go to looks at the way media is purchased and activated on the notion of separate but equal.

It’s about growing a bigger share of the pot. It’s not like you’re going to lose by moving to Total Market. It’s not a case of one plus one is two. In this case, it’s one plus one equals three because we’re able to shift the conversation to where brands will re-evaluate the budgets and how their organizations are structured in order to remove barriers of innovation and growth. And the idea is that we’ll have a different outcome.

When most people come to this event, they are the change agents of their organizations. The goal of this event is to #1 expand the audience of change agents and #2 to give those agents tools. The big announcement at the event was the launch of the platform, which is Total Market Enterprise Transformation Platform that helps build a community of other change agents so that there’s a community aspect online; there’s also a lab for training and education; and then there’s a publication so that people can read and learn on their own terms.

Often, when people have this kind of conversation, they wonder whether they should be saying “African American or Black” or “Hispanic or Latino.” So imagine online content for people to get that basic understanding, because at the end of the day, it’s a similar conversation to digital – the idea that there’s a digital skill set and then not a digital skill set. We live in a digital world, so you have to have both. The difference with this conversation is that you’re talking about people and a certain set of the industry that has been around for 40 or 50 years. So people sometimes feel like they’re losing something. Businesses shift and there’s a consequence to that. They have a significant impact.