President of Media Sales | BET Networks
Louis Carr’s success at BET has made him one of the most influential African Americans in the media industry. But the company’s president of media sales has been more than just a role model, actively opening doors for people of color in advertising and media.
“This network has given me opportunities to point to it as a model the entire industry should follow from both a social and business perspective,” says the 20-year BET veteran. He has been instrumental in bringing minorities into the industry. As his BET colleague Michele Thornton, a 2009 ADCOLOR Change Agent, notes, Carr has hired “more people of color than any other media executive—ever.”
“BET demonstrated that employing people of color to make a meaningful connection with people of color works,” Carr says. “Because the network is delivered from the audience’s point of view…the engagement is pure.”
Mentoring and service are a critical part of Carr’s diversity efforts. In 2003, he spearheaded the BET College Tour for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A year later, he founded the Louis Carr Internship Foundation (LCIF), which provides paid summer internships to undergraduate students—providing financially challenged minority students a chance to get career-building experiences in places like Discovery, CNN, MPG, Walton Isaacson and the American Advertising Federation.
“We sought out kids we knew could make a contribution, but never had an opportunity or financial resources to participate in unpaid programs in the past, and provided 101 internships in nine years,” he says.
Still, the board member of the USA Track & Field Foundation believes industry diversity efforts are a long way from complete. “The Olympics is the world’s largest media event and everyone could see that the majority of the participants were people of color. To ignore that is socially wrong…but it’s also bad business.”
VP of Corporate Marketing | Univision
For the past 25 years, Chiqui Cartagena has been articulating what it takes to address the Hispanic market successfully. Currently Univision’s VP of corporate marketing, she’s played a role in developing, launching and leading some of the most successful Spanish-language media and marketing programs, such as People en Español and Columbia House’s Club Música Latina. Her groundbreaking 2005 book Latino Boom! Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business in the U.S. Hispanic Market is required reading for Hispanic marketing classes around the country.
“The hardest part was educating corporate America about how to approach and respectfully treat the Hispanic consumer they were trying to capture,” explains the one-time Hispanic Direct Marketing Professional of the Year. “My book helped elevate the conversation about Hispanic marketing.”
Both as a marketer and a thought leader, Cartagena has helped uncover ways mainstream brands can use innovative thinking, strategic partnerships and content to expand into the Hispanic market. She is adamant that these efforts need to be aligned and integrated into larger campaigns. “It’s important to make sure Hispanic initiatives aren’t isolated, which is often what happens,” notes the former Meredith exec. “You can’t succeed with a new product launch that is a great marketing idea that gets no distribution support because it is perceived as a second-tier ethnic initiative.”
In fact, the time has never been better for advertisers to court the Hispanic market.
“A 2011 AAHA report concluded that a company allocating one-quarter of its annual ad spend over five years to the domestic Hispanic market would generate annual revenue growth of 6.7 percent,” she says. “Companies that are making Hispanics a priority are the ones positioning themselves to win today…and in the future.”