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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

It’s That Time of Year Again!

Posted by mefa0707 on August 1, 2011

Happy August 1st everyone!

It’s time to get ready for the Marketing Doctoral Student Association and Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association meetings that start this Wednesday in San Francisco. I am excited to see you all there! It should be a great time.

MDSA has been especially gracious this year in involving MEFA in the program. MEFA members will participate on a number of panels and workshops throughout the week. Additionally, MDSA continues to graciously host our annual meeting. That meeting will likely take place Friday afternoon, August 5th (UPDATE: 4:30-5:15PM). Many thanks to MDSA, especially Lenita Davis, Vanessa Perry, and Myrna Varner of KPMG.

We are asking that each of you please notify us that you’ll be attending the MEFA meeting asap–as soon as you read this–so we can plan adequate seating. So please shoot us an email at and let us know that you plan to attend the MEFA meeting. At the meeting we will review 2010-11, tell you about the exciting things in store for the coming year, and begin the transition to new leadership. I hope you all can attend, even if you are not a member (yet).

The 2010-11 academic year was the best yet for MEFA, though a good bit of our work took place behind the scenes based on your feedback from last summer’s meeting. Here are a few quick highlights:

1. Programming. Based on your feedback MEFA brought the first (of hopefully many) web-based programs to you in November 2010. Many of you participated in that first webinar where we explored the racial wealth gap with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Building on the success of that program, we are busy doing the behind-the-scenes work to bring you more web-based programming in the upcoming academic year. We have multiple commitments from people in industry who are excited about the opportunity to speak to us.

2. Joint Conference with MFCA. In June 2011 MEFA and the Management Faculty of Color Association (MFCA) held the inaugural joint conference on the campus of Rutgers-Newark. We are currently in negotiations with MFCA about making this an annual or semi-annual event.

3. Building Ethnic Minority Capital in Marketing. MEFA members have served on disciplinary award and scholarship committees in marketing, including the Williams-Qualls-Spratlen Award and the Valuing Diversity Scholarship. MEFA is committed to facilitating the success and recognition of outstanding ethnic minority scholars, those who mentor and support them, and research of interest to people of color.

4. Member Services. Members are currently working on a database of marketing course materials, including syllabi, lectures, and in-class examples.

We are anticipating that these efforts and others will really blossom this upcoming academic year. Of course, that cannot happen without each of you. MEFA needs your brilliance, your involvement, your love. Without them, none of these plans will amount to much.

So, here is my annual plea. Get involved. The first step is to renew or join for the first time. (If you have never filled out a paper application and snail-mailed it or handed it to us with a check you’ll need to join. Just skip to the next paragraph.) For each current member it is time renew. On the right side of the screen you can click the tab to renew your annual membership at $50.00. The “Donate” button will take you to PayPal where you can renew using your PayPal account or a debit/credit card.

If you have never joined don’t worry. We got you. Instead of clicking the “Donate” button, just download and complete the application and send it to us (along with a check) by snail mail. (You will only ever have to do that once.)

I look forward to seeing each of you at the meeting on Friday, August 5th at 4:30pm. For those of you who cannot make the meeting this year we will keep you posted via email, the blog, and facebook. We still want your input, feedback, and participation. So drop us a line, get on facebook, reply to this post, forward the link to anyone we may have missed. We want to hear from you!

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Consumer Researchers Should Understand the Racial Wealth Gap

Posted by mefa0707 on November 15, 2010

Wealth is what you own minus what you owe

Suppose you had a white-collar job that affords you what you consider a comfortable—but not lavish—lifestyle. One unfortunate day your supervisor informs you that you have been downsized. “You will be laid off for up to three months, and maybe not even that long. Once we re-organize I should be able to re-hire you (at your current salary and benefits) if you can stick it out.”

After you get over the shock of being laid off, how you think about the next 90 days probably says something about how wealthy you are.

“Who does this clown think he’s kidding? Wait for three months? I’ll be out on the street or close to it in less time than that!”

“I don’t know about three whole months, but if I dip into savings and put off that cruise until next year I can probably make it—at least until I can find something else if I need to. If push comes to shove I can hit my parents up for a loan or tap into my 401k a little early.”

“Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. I can work on some of those home repairs I’ve been putting off or maybe go see the Grandparents in Florida.”

For a distressingly large number of Americans who we commonly consider “middle class,” the second and third responses are all but unthinkable. There are no savings, and The Bank of Mom & Dad™ has less to lend than it once did. A temporary layoff, an underwater mortgage, or an unexpected medical- or automobile expense can quickly throw a family into financial ruin.

What is the racial wealth gap?

The racial wealth gap remains a vexing social and public policy problem in the US. According to data compiled by the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative, wealth accumulation is an outright crisis for families of color. In 2007 they collectively owned assets worth 16 cents for every dollar’s worth of assets owned by white families. For Latino families it is 12 cents on the dollar. For African American families it is 10 cents (.pdf). Black and brown families own less wealth than whites with only high school educations. Black and brown middle- and high-income earners are more likely than whites to make deposits rather than withdrawals at The Bank of Mom & Dad™. The origin of the racial wealth gap is bound up in public policy that for most of the country’s history openly privileged whites in the wealth accumulation game. But the gap’s persistence is also the outcome of contemporary and ongoing policies and business practices that continue to disadvantage the non-white and the non-wealthy.

Understanding consumer implications of the racial wealth gap

Recently Victor Corral, Program Manager for the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, was kind enough to offer a webinar to Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association (MEFA) members. Titled Understanding the Racial Gap in Building Wealth in America (link to the entire webinar, 56:26, at the end of the post), it provides an overview of the racial wealth gap, its historical underpinnings, and policy-oriented approaches to addressing the problem.

Why should consumer researchers care? Consumer scholars know surprisingly little about the role wealth plays in consumption independent of income. To this point, only policy-oriented sociologists, economists, and a few finance scholars have shown much interest in wealth but none really explore consumption in any depth. But, from the micro/cognitive level to the institutional level consumer research could be enriched by incorporating wealth (and its intersection with race and gender) into analysis. Think of the myriad ways wealth could impact consumer interactions with everyday products and services, attitudes towards credit and financial risk, mental accounting, as well as health and social behaviors. As illustrated in the scenario above, wealth can act as a buffer against loss, perhaps granting those who possess it higher tolerance for risk-taking in some domains.

Check out the webinar by clicking the link below. (It will open in the present window.) Then, stop by the Insight Center website at This is an area of research ripe for engagement by consumer scholars. I think the sociologists and economists have uncovered a very interesting way of looking at inequality–from 50,000 feet in the air. They’ve given us the (very) macro view. A next potentially interesting step is to look at how wealth operates at the meso (e.g., family, neighborhood) and micro (e.g., individual/cognitive) levels. We already have senior scholars (e.g., John Sherry, Linda Price) and junior scholars in the field (e.g., Tonya Williams Bradford and Amber Epp) beginning to look at wealth. I think they may be onto something.

Webinar (opens in this window)

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Reminder: AMA Foundation Valuing Diversity Scholarships Applications Due

Posted by mefa0707 on June 7, 2010

Do you know a student eligible for the Valuing Diversity Scholarship given by the AMA Foundation?

The scholarship is to assist with funding doctoral education for persons currently enrolled in an AACSB-accredited marketing doctoral program from an underrepresented group (i.e., African American, Hispanic American, or Native American). Eligible students can apply online.

Please note: the deadline for application is June 14, 2010. See the AMA Foundation Valuing Diversity page for more information.

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The Williams-Qualls-Spratlen Award

Posted by mefa0707 on May 21, 2010

Whose faces would you put on the Mount Rushmore of minority marketing scholars?

The faces on our proverbial Mount Rushmores may differ, but Jerome Williams, Bill Qualls, and Thad Spratlen would certainly be on mine. These gentlemen have been mentors to me and to many other students over the years, and their particular dedication to minority students is unparalleled.

So, what does this have to do with you?

Funny you should ask.

The American Marketing Association Foundation has chosen to institutionalize the legacy of Drs. Williams, Qualls, and Spratlen by presenting a named award annually in their honor. The AMA Foundation wants you to nominate someone in the field who exemplifies the same commitment to mentoring students shared by the namesakes for this award. Part of our responsibility as members of this academic community is to carry on the legacy of individuals like Jerome Williams, Bill Qualls, and Thad Spratlen, and to make sure we honor those who do.

So please, visit the W-Q-S award page at the AMA Foundation website. Read the eligibility requirements and nominate someone today. The foundation has been gracious enough to extend the deadline for nominations until June 4th. So don’t put it off. Do it today.

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MEFA Election Results

Posted by mefa0707 on October 24, 2009

I want to thank all who took the time to vote in the inaugural Executive Board elections for the Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association. Although the seats were uncontested, we were able to establish a process that we can take forward.

The results:

President – Dave Crockett

VP/Pres. Elect – David Wooten

Treasurer – Oscar DeShields

Member at Large – Jerome Williams

Immediate Past President – Angelica Cortes

Additionally, Sylvia Long-Tolbert has agreed at my request to serve MEFA as the Executive Secretary.

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Rush to Judgment: A Failed Attempt at Ownership-as-Branding

Posted by mefa0707 on October 16, 2009

National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell put an unofficial end to a bid by talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh and St. Louis Blues (hockey) owner Dave Checketts to purchase the St. Louis Rams NFL franchise this past week. After remaining silent on the issue for several days while the controversy practically consumed sports media, Goodell directly criticized Limbaugh’s radio persona. Checketts consequently dropped Limbaugh from the ownership group, characterizing his involvement as a “complication and a distraction,” choosing to move the bid forward without Limbaugh.

So, now that it’s all over but the shouting, from a branding perspective what have we learned? Two things:

  1. Two attractive people can make an ugly baby. The intuition is that attractive parents should produce attractive children. But, the unique features that make two people attractive independently may not work well together. My suspicion is that the Checketts group looked at Limbaugh’s and the NFL’s popularity among so-called NASCAR dads and figured “Hey! They would be great together.” But, this turned out to be a profound misreading of the NFL brand. Just because two brands are independently attractive does not mean that their offspring will be attractive.
  2. How brands create meaning–not just what they mean–is important. The NFL largely crosses demographic lines among American men. To be clear–the NFL does not always cross lines in ways that are graceful or free from controversy; nor does it cross every line that divides. However, it brings American men from different walks of life together like no other marketplace experience. Football generates different meanings for different fans and the NFL looks for ways to house them all–even if not always comfortably. Limbaugh’s brand operates in a completely antithetical way; it is essentially undifferentiated, take it or leave it. And large segments of the fan base immediately responded to the dissonance created by putting those two antithetical brands together in the same conceptual space. Even many who supported Limbaugh conceded his irreconcilably poor fit with the NFL by arguing that Limbaugh-the-owner would be different than Limbaugh-the-brand. (This of course would seem to defeat the very purpose of having a celebrity owner.)

What are your thoughts?

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Branding Health Care Reform

Posted by mefa0707 on September 8, 2009

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently you are at least vaguely aware of the prospect of health care reform. One of the interesting pieces of the debate is about how reform is “branded” for public consumption.

One of the blogs I try to frequent, Capital Gaines and Games, took up this issue briefly last week. One post last week labeled health care reform the new “death tax” in terms of how its opponents have characterized it. Another poster disagrees.

p.s. I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend

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Welcome to the 2009-2010 Academic Year!

Posted by mefa0707 on September 2, 2009

And just where did the summer go exactly? It seems like just the other day it was packing up the end of the Spring 2009 term. Now the Fall 2009 term has begun and with it the inevitable pangs of guilt about not having accomplished enough during the summer. We all have to keep pushing forward though.

At the Marketing Diversity Blog we are going to try to make this a place to discuss diversity issues in a marketing world. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this piece in The Chicago Reporter by Kelly Virella on gentrification and retail.

[Ernest] Gates, an African-American community organizer who worked for 10 years to recruit the Walgreens, believed West Haven’s growing white population would soon lure other retailers, bringing with them valuable services and jobs. The supermarket he and his neighbors needed—to alleviate their burden of traveling sometimes five miles to get groceries— would be their next target. He parked his car in front of the Walgreens construction site, at the corner of Madison and Western avenues, and listened to the din of engines, gears and pipes, confident he and his nonprofit could use West Haven’s changing demographics to recruit one in the next three years. His prediction was right—and very unsettling.

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Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association Annual Meeting Info & Agenda

Posted by mefa0707 on August 3, 2009

Save the date and time!

The annual meeting for MEFA will take place on Friday, August 7th at 4:30pm at the Hotel Sax in conjunction with the Marketing DSA/PhD Project meeting. It will immediately follow the Project AHEAD meeting in the Americas room.

Below is an outline of the agenda for the meeting.


Old Business: Annual review of activities (we will provide written summaries of these to members via email). Our hope is to limit discussion of these topics to informational questions in order to conserve time for new business. To that end we are asking current members to read over summaries and raise any questions via email prior to the meeting.

  1. Membership update
  2. Technology update
  3. Financial update

New Business: Initiatives and proposals

  1. AMA Diversity and Marketing SIG and Journal proposals
  2. Marketing and Diversity Blog/Technology
  3. Organizing Committee Resignations
  4. Elections
    • Nominations (President, VP-Pres. Elect, Treasurer, 3 at-large board members)
    • E-voting
  5. Feedback from Members
  6. Marcus Alexis Tribute (Thad Spratlen)
  7. Good of the Order

If you have thoughts or suggestions on the agenda, or other questions about the meeting please contact us. Place them in the comments section or email us

* Agenda is subject to change.

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Welcome to the Marketing Diversity Blog!

Posted by mefa0707 on July 23, 2009

CD Store

Welcome to the Marketing Diversity Blog. This blog is the new home of the Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association (MEFA).  (Facebook users can becomes fans of MEFA here, or just search for “Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association”. You can also email us at

The Marketing Diversity Blog will be a place to find the most up-to-date information about MEFA, and to discuss issues where racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity intersect with the discipline and practice of marketing. Beginning in September will try to have at least one open thread each weekday where you can come and discuss whatever’s on your mind. We will also post some (hopefully) insightful blog entries and links to cool stuff throughout the marketing world for you to chew on as well.

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