Entrepreneur, public speaker and Chief Marketing Officer for Peace First, a nonprofit organization helping young people imagine and implement compassionate solutions to injustices around the world, Bobby Jones is a bonafide urban legend. Deemed one of the nation’s foremost experts on marketing to teens and millennials, the co-author of the new book Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn ( listed as a #1 New Release on Amazon for Philanthropy and Charity) understands his professional purpose to help brands understand how truly diverse, dynamic and powerful multicultural communities are. He accomplishes this, he says, “By delivering innovative campaigns and experiences that add value to my client’s bottom line and to people’s lives, and by providing career opportunities and mentorship to talented diverse young people who have gone on to do amazing work in the field of marketing.”
Besides guiding and empowering marketers to seek out and use their resources and missions for good, the 41-year-old is commited to addressing the needs of growing, underserved populations like African Americans. He says, “Our book shows how culture creators and social entrepreneurs are collaborating in fresh and exciting ways to ‘Make Money and Do Good by Harnessing the Power of Cool’ and provides seven simple principles that anyone can follow. African Americans are a driving force in making ‘good’ a ‘cool’ part of popular culture. When we spoke with world changers such as Jaha Johnson, who manages Usher and Common; Jason Mayden, a super-talented designer in Silicon Valley who has previously done iconic design work for Nike and brand Jordan; and Jocelyn Cooper, one of the partners in Afropunk, there was a consistent narrative of how they were using – cool – art, music, design and culture to reach people with messages about justice, inclusion, love and social activism. Their creativity drew people into conversations around #blacklivesmatter, LGBTQ equality, corporate diversity and other important issues to black communities.”
And what about millennials? “Through research, we know Millennials want to work for, and buy from, brands with a higher purpose than just making a profit. Millennials have tremendous buying power and influence over consumer markets, so brands are realizing that in order to be relevant and meaningful, they need to add value to people’s lives, solve problems in the world and stand for things that matter. My work has always been in youth culture with a particular focus on multicultural youth. As a researcher, I spent years traveling the country, and the world, understanding the passions and values of young people and how it shaped their identities, interests and buying decisions. It was clear that the Millennial generation and their younger counterparts Centennials, were more diverse, socially conscious, accepting of other races, genders and sexualities, and had a greater interest in making a positive difference in the world than my generation. I was really inspired by that and wanted to do more to help them make the world more just and peaceful. I was also becoming burnt-out by the constant stress of agency life and was looking to make a change. I had been a marketing advisor for Peace First for years and was passionate about their work teaching peace-making skills to young people around the world. So, I had a conversation with its founder Eric Dawson and we realized that the biggest barrier to more young people becoming peacemakers was a culture of violence that said it wasn’t cool to do so. So, we began to imagine what it would look like to connect youth peacemaking to pop culture to change that. Today, I work with some amazing young people from as young as 12 to 24 year olds, many of whom are addressing issues in the African American community such as police injustice, incarceration reform, homelessness, and creating new narratives and images for women of color. It’s the most amazing work and my experience as a multicultural youth marketer prepared me for it,” Jones tells Be Modern Man.
Besides Millennials addressing an important population like a younger generation of BE Modern Man hopefuls is crucial, especialy in a such an uncertain economic, social and politcal atmoshpere. “My advice, in addition to being your best and most authentic self, is to remember the ‘3R’s’: Relationships – build good relationships with good people and be just as supportive and enthusiastic about their success as you are about your own; Reputation – you are a brand and word-of-mouth matters. Think about what you want your brand to stand for, how you want people to talk about you and make sure your actions and decisions are consistent with that; and, Resilience – no matter what, keep pushing forward toward your dreams.”
And his narrative of living a purpose-driven life is ordained, hence, how he can seamlessly connect and market to the African American consumer because, in reality, he is a huge part of that community. “Don’t feel like I have to break free of any conventionality. I am not in any way beholden to stereotypical expectations of who I should be and how I should live my life. I was born free to be anything I want to be. In my opinion, there is no singular definition of being black. Blackness is as it does; and every black person who has ever lived has helped shaped its definition. I feel like I am part of a long rich tradition of black excellence that exists in all shapes and forms. I take pride in honoring that tradition, and I hope that inspires others to do the same.
“I believe that we can create a world where people are accepted for who they are, where we courageously stand up for each other, compassionately connect with each other and collaboratively work together to solve injustices; and I want my impact to be that I helped harness the power of young people, business and culture to create that world,” he tells BE Modern Man.
To read more about Bobby, read the blog and purchase the book, visit www. http://www.goodisthenewcool.org.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @blackenterprise and join the BE Modern Man conversation using #BEModernMan.