(Readers: Please note the blog is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog and about the author. )

Jordan and Rock Man have been discussing ideas to help get blacks off the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Initial episode for this section begins #67 “Why Do Blacks Remain at the Bottom of the Economic Ladder?” Current entry, a couple of days since the last session. Jordan and Rock Man in Jordan’s office.

Jordan: “Rock Man, nice to see you. Have a productive couple of days?”
Rock Man: “Jordan, you make my head hurt sometimes. I can’t get this project out of my mind.”
Jordan: “Good. What’s hurting your head?”
010114_1917_19RockManCo1.png Rock Man: “Two big issues, which we’ve mentioned but never really addressed.”
Jordan: “And the issues are?”
Rock Man: “What problems are we likely to encounter? And, is this project even practical?”
Jordan: “The answer to your second question is probably ‘no’ but that should not stop us. At the beginning of every major project most people would say the undertaking is impractical. For now, let’s ignore whether it’s practical.”
Rock Man: “You have a great way of dismissing issues.”
Jordan: “I’m not dismissing the issue of practicality. But go back to an earlier conversation. This rebranding project is like eating an elephant.”
Rock Man: “Yeah, I know, one bite at a time.”
Jordan: “Now, what’s on your list of problems?”
Rock Man: “Aside from practicality, which you dismissed…”
Jordan: “…dismissed temporarily. List of problems, please.”
Rock Man: “I have three. #1 is motivating the black community to accept the new branding positioning statement. #2 is finding someone credible to lead the effort. #3, appropriate metrics for measuring progress.”
Jordan: “Excellent set of concerns. I think we are ready to begin the next phase of the rebranding program – ‘how do we get there?’”
Rock Man: “Finally. Seems like forever since we started.”
Male Jordan: “I told you the effort would not be easy and take a long time.”
Rock Man: “OK, Mr. Marketing Genius, how do we motivate the black community to accept the new branding?”
Jordan: “First step is to find out if they agree with it or even understand it.”
Rock Man: “These folks are not stupid, Jordan. C’mon.”
Jordan: “My comment is not to imply anything. My comment is based on experience. Any kind of rebranding takes a while for people to understand it. Really understand what the new positioning means. Frankly some people never understand but that’s OK as long as most people understand.”
Rock Man: “So we need to start testing the proposed positioning?”
Jordan: “No kemosabe, you, not we. You are in a good position to test the idea.”
Rock Man: “How and with whom?”
Jordan: “Whomever you want. Get a small group together – a focus group – and start evaluating the positioning. Select people who will give you an honest opinion. Use the group to find out what they like, dislike or are concerned about. They might have ideas that we overlooked.”
Rock Man: “What kind of materials do I need?”
Jordan: “If I were conducting the focus group I would include the positioning statements and some non-verbal props for reference – books, clothing, pictures. Anything that will help people understands the intended meaning of the positioning statement. And, make sure you have a whiteboard for notes.”
passionRock Man: “How ‘bout a blackboard instead?”
Jordan: “That was good. OK, blackboard but white chalk, both sides need to participate.”
Rock Man: “You suggesting having some white folks in the focus group?”
Jordan: “You decide whether the groups should be mixed. Early on I think separate groups might be more enlightening. But you definitely need to find out how whites react to the proposed positioning.”
Rock Man: “I agree. You available to help?”
Jordan: “Help, yes. But this project needs to be lead by someone in the black community. And my vote is for you to be the lead dog.”
(To be continued)