At Octonano, we recognize that Black history is American history, and should be heard and celebrated as such year round. But in honor of Black History Month, we want to celebrate some brilliant Black marketers and Black-owned agencies. In a bygone era, the mere existence of Black marketers was an anti-racist statement, affirming that people of color represent diverse cultures worthy of their own narratives, and therefore, creative marketing initiatives recognizing Black Americans as individuals. Today, we look at a few Black leaders in the marketing and branding world.
Blue Surge Marketing is an e-commerce focused, full-service digital marketing and website design agency with an early success story. The agency’s founder and owner Godson Michel grossed $1M from his first e-commerce store with no ad budget, when Michel was only a college student. His method? Using data-driven insights to embrace change and artfully leverage growth opportunities in the ever-changing digital landscape.
Bozoma Saint John
With years of C-level marketing experience, Bozama Saint John has worked at such leaders as Endeavor, Uber, Apple Music, PepsiCo, and Netflix, where she now holds the position of Chief Marketing Officer. Throughout her career, she has been a strong advocate for women of color and sees it as her responsibility to “hold the door open” for other Black women.
Founded in 2016 by Keith Cartwright, Geoff Edwards, Jayanta Jenkins and Kwame Taylor-Hayfor, Saturday Morning’s guiding dictum is to bring awareness to and shift perceptions of racial bias and injustice through creative content. Companies like Spotify and Procter & Gamble have turned to Saturday Morning to create thoughtful campaigns to convey the companies efforts in corporate social responsibility.
As the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the marketing and licensing division of National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), Joi Garner might not sound like an obvious choice for our list, but her marketing achievements are extraordinary. Garner’s work led the NBPA’s partnership with DoorDash, initiating the social justice campaign #PayItForward, a challenge supporting Black-owned businesses. Garner also launched Kia Motors' holiday campaign which provided relief to families impacted by Covid-19.
Lincoln Stephens co-founded The Marcus Group Project, an organization dedicated to bringing more diversity to the advertising industry through mentorship, exposure and career development. Stephens has brought promising young professionals of color to the Cannes Lions Festival, has also worked with top consumer brands including Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Cadillac, and Hummer, and was named in Ad Age’s 40 under 40.