Unlocking the value of minority-owned businesses
As a critical source of representation in the marketplace, minority-owned businesses meet a foundational need for local consumers to see ownership that represents who they see in the mirror. Over the long-term, supporting minority entrepreneurs early on increases the likelihood of them turning into minority owned large businesses.
Notably, minority-owned businesses in the CPG industry are still catching up on multiple fronts due to historical challenges stemming from ownership resources, educational opportunities, business planning resources and overall funding support.
In comparison to their non-minority counterparts, such businesses have 12 times less wealth and start the journey with fewer banking relationships than their peers, and are 3 times less likely to be approved for a financial loan. And if that wasn’t enough, these businesses are more likely to be located in COVID-19 hot spots that minimize foot traffic from the very beginning.
Building a better world with data, expertise
NielsenIQ BASES is passionate about supporting minority-owned businesses and is committed to using its data and skills to build a better world. These core values were the genesis of the BASES Pro Bono Minority Business Consulting Initiative, launched in the second half of 2020.
The program aims to bring innovation-focused research solutions and expert consulting to minority-owned businesses on a pro bono basis. The selection criteria set by NielsenIQ BASES to identify suitable clients for such consulting engagements ensures they match ethnic authenticity, belong to the CPG industry, and can potentially apply the actionable guidance provided by NielsenIQ BASES.
The inaugural program winner in 2021, as chosen by NielsenIQ BASES, is Rocky Robinson—a direct-to-consumer personal care line launched in March 2020 by Audra Robinson.
Robinson introduced a line of shower gel, lotion, and lip balm products initially, but quickly pivoted in response to the pandemic and added hand sanitizer to the line when it was in short supply. This company unapologetically celebrates the brilliance, beauty, and magic of little Black and Brown girls, working under the belief that they deserve a selfcare experience that tells them they matter, and centers them in everything they do.
Robinson sought help to attract more financial support and retail shelf space. NielsenIQ BASES assembled a project team from its North America diversity and inclusion (D&I) volunteer cohort that ultimately executed an agile learning plan approach to help guide Rocky’s go-to-market strategy for the line’s expansion focus.
Minority business consulting initiative
NielsenIQ BASES is offering pro bono consulting services to a select number of minority-owned businesses. If your business qualifies, please complete the Fall/Winter 2021 application. Deadline: December 30, 2021
Preparing minority innovators to succeed
Immediately after the project presentation was delivered, Robinson instantly recognized its invaluable worth. “The data gleaned from BASES’s recommendations will help me as I prepare for future pitch competitions and more,” according to Robinson, who added that she feels “even smarter and more equipped to speak to my business, the market, and future of Rocky Robinson.”
Prior to commencing with such a unique pro bono consulting assignment, experts who worked on the initiative emphasized the importance of being proactively mindful of the value these businesses bring to the CPG echochamber. Importantly, minority entrepreneurs are found to enhance their local communities and help close wealth and equity gaps, encourage job growth and overall national income, explained Krystal Dawson, VP, North America Diversity & Inclusion, NielsenIQ BASES.
“From an execution perspective, it is critical for consultants to be proactively mindful that these business owners are likely to have minimal experience in the strategic guidance or research space,” said Dawson. As such, she added, “Pro bono clients are treated identically as traditional contract clients, including proactive awareness of opportunities to simplify communications along the way.”
Benefits of pro bono partnerships
It is equally important to check in on the client’s progress once the project is delivered. There will be times when they can benefit from a fresh set of ears as they continue mapping out how to leverage the guidance provided by experts. Being open to engage with clients during the implementation stage can make or break the success of the team’s consulting efforts.
“The social climate in recent years has shown the importance of large businesses making the tangible effort to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to lifting up minority entrepreneurs,” said Dawson. “Today’s consumers want any business they support and believe in to demonstrate genuine, material support where their social media posts sit, even amid a pandemic.”
The approach BASES took with its pro bono efforts with Rocky Robinson is just one of many opportunities that other corporations can replicate within their own wheelhouse. The primary goal is to genuinely inspire other companies to do more than just donate money or post on social media.