United Colors Of Global Hue

Don Coleman has positioned his agencyto make a play on markets of every stripe and color

area — making the multicultural segment a true emerging market. “I definitely think this industry is just scratching the surface,” says Corliss Green Thornton, associate professor of marketing at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. “There’s a lot more work to be done in this area.”

As chairman and CEO of GlobalHue, Coleman is positioning his firm on the forefront of this burgeoning sector. The company’s demonstrated ability to remake itself and grow in today’s harsh business climate has earned GlobalHue its selection as the 2003 BE Advertising Agency of the Year.

FROM THE GRIDIRON TO MADISON AVENUE
The road to becoming an advertising executive began when Coleman was still in the National Football League. While on injured reserve, Coleman, who holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Michigan, attended classes at Hofstra University, eventually receiving an M.B.A. in marketing. He wound up playing four seasons with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets until knee injuries permanently sidelined him in 1977. Landing a position at Warren, Michigan-based Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Coleman worked his way up the ranks, eventually becoming a vice president. In the ’80s, he left that firm to work at Burrell Advertising where he learned about target marketing.

By 1988, he decided to venture out on his own and formed DCA, which consistently ranked among the nation’s largest black-owned agencies. Coleman joins serial entrepreneur Don Barden of Barden Companies Inc. (see “The House Always Wins,” this issue) as CEO of a BE 100S company that has twice earned the distinction of being a company of the year. In 1998, DCA was named BE Advertising Agency of the Year for its innovative approach to gaining market share.

THE MOVE TO MULTICULTURAL MARKETING
GlobalHue attained much of its growth by increasing the number of services offered as well as employing stringent cost-control measures. “We got more [involved in] events and promotions, the Internet, customer relationship marketing, and custom publishing,” Coleman says. “So we branched out and provided more services for our clients, which kept us in the game.” Cost-control measures included managing expenses that can’t be billed back to the client, such as an unauthorized lunch or plane ticket. “All these things add up,” Coleman notes.

Although analysts attribute the 2000 census data to the growth in multicultural advertising spending, Coleman began creating his one-stop shop for multicultural marketing in 1999 when he entered talks to combine DCA, a specialist in urban marketing, with Montemayor. “Don and I had some conversations about [DCA] buying us out,” says Carlos Montemayor, now a vice chairman with GlobalHue and president of its Hispanic operations. “In order to diversify our efforts, we decided to sell our company.”

The merger with Montemayor turned out to be fortuitous when, later in 2000, DaimlerChrysler restructured its sales and marketing teams and initiated a review of the auto giant’s operations within these areas, including its choice of advertising agency. Numerous presentations were made to the incoming management. Coleman’s agency had to compete with some 60 other agencies for the

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