Quinn believes that it’s not necessarily the technology, but Coleman’s ideas about marketing that are only enhanced by online strategies. “Don Coleman was in community before community was cool,” he maintains. “The digital thing is influencing community in a different way, but what is really important now is the role communities are going to play in purchasing. For those of us working in the marketing field, it’s going to be critical that we understand communities. GlobalHue has always had a very strong connection to the impact community has on [purchasing]. They have a capability that is going to transfer very well to the digital world.”
A BUSINESS MODEL TO ENSURE GROWTH
Coleman’s business model is cemented in his strongest attribute: strategic visioning—identifying and implementing concepts in advance of the trend. “This model is more relevant now than even when he thought of it,” relates the firm’s Executive Creative Director Desmond Hall. “I think he really saw how things were going to develop.” Even as the firm thrived in the African American market, Coleman’s probing nature led him to examine other market segments for profit potential. When he read results of the 2000 Census revealing that Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans would make up 40% of the U.S. population by 2020, the visionary knew he had to reposition his agency. By 2002, Coleman had acquired Montemayor y Asociados, a Hispanic agency based in San Antonio with $90 million in annual billings; and Innovasia, an Asian American ad agency in Los Angeles.
GlobalHue Latino Vice Chairman Lara Marella recalls, “I remember thinking, ‘Holy cow, this is really something powerful. If they do this right, it could be something amazing in the marketplace.’” Coleman’s evolution into multicultural marketing brought talent such as Marella into the GlobalHue fold. “When I was in a Latino agency we were so siloed. Quite frankly, I was a little bit scared as a stand-alone Latino agency.”
As large mainstream agencies seek to expand budgets, Coleman believes Latino agencies will be targeted in the same manner as African American firms. “Soon, on the Hispanic side, they’re going to try to say, ‘You really don’t need to talk to anyone other than the more acculturated Hispanic that speaks English,’” he says. “People are being aggressive toward us and we’re not being aggressive in return. When you don’t return a punch in the jaw, you may get knocked out.”
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