OMD Worldwide is helping small and mid-sized minority-owned businesses like a waffle company or janitorial service provider get the same level of media expertise as brands such as Pepsi, Nissan and State Farm.
The agency is expanding a free marketing and educational program called Growth Academy, which was launched in September, as a way to support small and mid-sized minority-owned businesses. This June it began partnering with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and the New York Urban League to fully launch the program after it saw a rise in participants. The courses will be offered virtually three times per year—spring, summer and fall.
It’s the latest diversity, equity and inclusion effort from Omnicom Media Group, which earlier this year hosted so-called “infronts” to help connect clients with diverse-owned and targeted media partners and has also launched a Diverse Creators Network last summer, which aims to elevate creators of color.
Since its launch, more than 90 businesses and organizations have participated in Growth Academy. Among them are Brite Works, a commercial and industrial janitorial service provider; Sygma Technology, a boutique system integrator firm that specializes in custom software development; and Pop Goes the Waffle, a waffle company that markets sweet and savory liege waffles.
“I’ve found the sessions informative and immediately applicable to help my business and its social equity in the marketing space,” said Geneva Taylor, managing director at Tellis Executive, a recruitment and contract staffing services firm. “What I like best is that it is practical and hands-on and not just for the marketing professionals in the world. OMD appreciates that business owners have a lot on their plates, and they share real-world examples that help drive the belief that we can market effectively too.”
The program consists of six classes that teach small business owners how to plan and buy media: Marketing Foundations, Organic Search 101, Paid Search 101, eCommerce 101, Social 101 and Getting Creative with Social Media. The curriculum focuses on fundamentals such as e-commerce best practices, how to structure website content, how to maximize sales and strategies to maintain and grow social followers.
OMD provides talent to teach the courses, including executives working on its State Farm, PepsiCo, Clorox and Wells Fargo accounts. All courses are taught by volunteers at the agency, according to Christopher O’Brien, managing director of performance marketing at OMD.
O’Brien said the program is meant to support the industry “in a different way than just helping other clients make more money. It really is just an opportunity to do good and give back.”
“NMSDC believes it is vital that certified-Minority Business Owners have every opportunity to grow their businesses,” said Stefan Bradham, VP of marketing and communications at NMSDC. “And it’s partners like OMD that allow us to serve as a growth engine for MBEs with just-in-time education to enhance the way they market their products and services.“
There is no cap on how many can participate in the program. To participate, owners must fill out a brief survey about their business. OMD then will reach out with a welcome email and the schedule, giving each business owner the opportunity to pick any and all classes they’d like to participate in.