16 Jun 2011
- Written by Bernal E. Smith II
It was, said Mike Michels, Toyota spokesperson, a move crafted so that National Newspaper Publishers Association members would “know our side of the story” regarding the negotiation breakdown over Toyota advertising to thank African-American consumers.
Here is President/Publisher Smith’s reflections on receiving the letter and about the dispute:
Bernal E. Smith II
I would suspect that despite their recent and significant challenges, given their prior success, that there must be a number of highly intelligent business people among their executive team that understand a good value proposition when presented with one. It seems when one analyzes the value proposition proposed to Toyota by NNPA it just makes good business sense:
200 Historically African American Newspapers.
Representing 19.8 million readers across both print and digital formats (approximately half of the African-American population.
Longest trusted source of legitimate news and information in the African-American community.
Readers of newspapers tend to be more educated, upwardly mobile, with higher incomes and buying capacity.
Readers of NNPA newspapers are the exact pool of customers Toyota seeks across all its brands, including Lexus, discerning buyers with higher incomes and a high degree of brand loyalty.
African Americans already represent a significant revenue stream of approximately $2.2 billion dollars annually for Toyota.
Recent fiascos and mishaps have damaged the brand, while GM, Ford and other competitors have had a significant resurgence.
An opportunity to invest less than one percent of associated revenues (above what has been previously done) on targeted marketing to maintain and grow the African-American market segment.
A real opportunity to solidify the loyalty of that consumer base while creating a solid corporate communications partner representing direct access to communities throughout the country, rebuilding trust in the brand while leading to robust new sales opportunities.
In my estimation, taking out the emotion, anger and rhetoric on both sides of this issue, we have presented what is a great business case for Toyota to invest marketing dollars in NNPA at unprecedented levels simply because it’s the best investment for their business.
Apparently, their failure to understand this business proposition requires escalation of this issue to a higher level in order to get Toyota leadership’s attention and engage their sense of understanding a good deal when presented with one.