The "Secret Code" of Discrimination : BAME : Racism and Nigga
Customer profiling has been a tool marketer have
had in their toolkits for many years. Often times the best and most
innovative products have reaped in gains and profits when they have been able
to segment their customers' diversity. I'm not a big fan of the
politicized definition of customer segmentation or profiling, but despite the
merits, it has its obvious downside. Microtargeting is (also called micro-targeting or micro-niche
targeting) is a marketing strategy that uses consumer data and demographics to
identify the interests of specific individuals or very small groups of
like-minded individuals and influence their thoughts or actions. I wish the
application of this definition was just as simple. It gets more complex
when micro-targeting is used
extensively to achieve the opposite i.e., it can be used as a tool for
exclusion than inclusion.
With the proliferating A.I. and
smart algorithmic tools, with the sophistication of online analytics
available to marketers means that it is possible for them to understand their
customers and profile them like never before often encouragingdiscrimination
like including a certain demographic cohort in their feeds and making their
feeds invisible to a certain few! This is largely due to the explicit bias they
have that reflects not only in their decision-making process but also their
apparent reach outs should they intend to include a diverse segment of
customers. Many brands are still reveling
in their privileged ignorance despite the visible thrust and a standout theme of bringing in racial diversity
in messaging to attract diverse customers.
I'm talking about the evolution of profiling in the digital realms but rewind a
bit and we realize that this has been an eternal modus operandi and profiling
has been the de facto secret code of discrimination even in the physical
domain. Do recall the infamous Oprah Winfrey incident when a sales
assistant in the luxury Swiss
boutique, Trois Pommes, refused to show her a luxury handbag
because it was 'too expensive'. It created a furor! In my most recent memory,
is another incident that rocked the inclusion boat: A former Versace employee sued the company for
unfair business practices claiming that the luxury fashion label used a secret
"code" to alert employees when a black customer entered the store.
I did an article on this that got scrapped because it was deemed too
sensational and stirring up a hornets' nest. It had insights fromresearch I did for a high-street brand in 2014, the outcome of which cannot be fully published,In the survey, I asked customers if they ever had a hair-flicking, lip-biting moment when they were ignominiously ignored, unceremoniously treated by the sales staff while being busy servicing other premium customers? No, this wasn’t a discriminating survey. I surveyed everyone regardless of the differences. People surveyed noticed some sort of discrimination on perceived differences based on race, skin color, obesity, sexual orientation, disability, and all forms of negative psychology that can possibly be applied to a diverse customer.
understanding is what drives my business, Diverse Customer. My role is to put in place and
maintain a wide range of initiatives and identify priorities for the brands and organizations I work with.
And, working around profiling and segmentation is a major part of it. There are two main components of my role:
an invaluable influencer and influence marketing platform for brands to reach
out to and engage with a diverse customer base by identifying, orienting
and connecting brand to individuals, platforms, and foundations who have
influence over a demographic segment. I engage social influencers who can
help in leveraging an organization’s Diversity, CSR and Social Impact
undertakings and can increase brand recognition and amplify it as a result of
diverse customers leaning on these allies' and role models' voice, authenticity
and affinity elements as they speak in the tone and support the causes
consumers are most passionate about.
2. I act
as a Brand/Product Strategist and guide organizations seeking to position their
messaging strategies in multiple new markets for various products, or services.
Facilitating these two components is hugely
beneficial to my clients as it reflects the brand's intention to embed
diversity and inclusion into their core values ensuring that every decision
taken within the organization is well informed and guided.
It is also to ensure that my clients do not embark on a wildly ambitious project. One of the largest segment of customers I work with
is the BAME.It is very important to
stress to the BAME customers that my clients are not exploiting black culture
purely for financial benefit. This is because many individuals in this demographic feel as if
society, big brands, and celebrities cut and commercialize pieces of black
culture for white consumption. Many times, it appears as if black culture is
appreciated more than the individuals. Although diversity leads to innovation,
creativity, and better products and marketing it is important to avoid cultural
In the book, Reni Eddo-Lodge expands on the concept
of white privilege: “When I talk about white privilege, I don’t mean that white
people have it easy, that they’ve never struggled, or that they’ve never lived
in poverty. But white privilege is the fact that if you’re white, your race
will almost certainly positively impact your life’s trajectory. And you
probably won’t even notice it” (p.87).
think about - whom they're marketing to, who is their target customer - they
typically have very distinct demographics in mind. Marketing can be tricky, a masterpiece
of unintentional irony even once brands have worked out their key target
customer, they miss the mark in requiring to consider the diversity of that
group...and, that becomes the biggest single most factor determining a business'
success in assessing its ability to market to a wide range of