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Information for Our People of Color!!

Business Information You Might Can Use!

Book Review For:

“Under the Influence: Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation’s Impact on Brands, Sports and Pop Culture”

Author: Erin O. Patton

This book should be a must-read for all marketers and managers of products and services in this 21st Century, as it truly defines the influence of hip-hop in our culture today, and what CEOs of any company must do to be successful.

However, in reading this book, it must be understood what Hip-Hop really means, and Erin O. Patton clearly defines that throughout his book.  Hip-Hop is not just the music that many of us listen to in today’s times.  It is a mindset in urban culture, which includes the self-expression, the ability and strength to move forward, despite adversities, through verbal communications, entertainment (music and film), clothing and accessories, and success in business or business ventures.

Mr. Patton begins his book, by focusing on how the ‘Influence of Hip-Hop’ touched his life as a high school student in his native town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by explaining how he and his friends would have their own ‘rap battles’ during lunchtime in the ‘Boys’ Restroom in the mid-1980’s.

Patton further speaks about some of the Rap Artists that were recognized during that time whom influenced this genre, and made gold the jewelry of our choice, such as: Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Queen Latifah, and many others.

He describes how Hip-Hop’s influence made its way from the early days to present day society, and how so much of what we read, view on television, witness in our communities, hear, purchase, etc., is all based upon urban consumers, or the impact of the hip-hop culture.

Erin Patton explains that before he graduated from high school, he was influenced, as he wanted to purchase a pair of shell-toe sneakers, that were a brand of Adidas, marketed by LL Cool J.  However, he was not able to afford them.  He learned the two golden rules of hip-hop culture: Authenticity and Originality.

I was very intrigued by how Mr. Patton detailed Hip-Hop’s influence throughout the years, and what its impact continues to have in our society.  He detailed his experiences with various sports legends, such as: Michael Jordan – and the marketing of the ‘Air Jordan’ Sneakers; Stephon Marbury, and the Starbury Movement.  It must be emphasized, as Mr. Patton emphasized – that, Stephon Marbury was emphatic about ensuring that his brand of sneakers were made ‘affordable to the kids, who could not afford the high-priced sneakers,’ that were so-often marketed.  Stephon Marbury wanted to give back to his community, as he considered himself a voice for the voiceless, which is what Patton demonstrated that the hip-hop culture was all about.  Patton’s experiences also involved his work with the well-known,  and extremely talented African-American Tennis Players – Venus and Serena Williams.  He marketed a brand of sneakers for Venus Williams.

Additionally, I was extremely impressed on how Mr. Patton broke down the marketing system that a company should follow.  He emphasized how a company must know who or what group of people they are marketing to, and what their needs and desires are.  Thus, he designed ‘The 7 Ciphers,’ as he emphasized that traditional marketing methods are no longer feasible, neither will they work in today’s times in selling products.  For your information, ‘The 7 Ciphers’ are as follows:

‘Core Urban – The Innovators’

‘Tertiary Urban or Sub-Urban Cipher – The Eminem Factor’

‘Sub-Urban – Hip-Hopopreneurs’

‘Contemporary Urban – Hip-Hop’s Generation X’

‘Vintage Urban – Global Innovators’

‘Alternative Urban – The Fusion of Hip-Hop, Rock & Skate’

‘Organic Urban – Keeping it Real!’

In each Cipher, Patton details the age group, their residential geographical area, and what their likes and dislikes are for the most part.  He demonstrates this by capitulating on the marketing that various Hip-Hop Artists have been involved in via each cipher area.

In explaining these various marketing strategies, Erin Patton details the various product industries that have had impact on our lives through hip-hop culture such as: Again, sneakers/tennis shoes (which have been marketed by various Athletes and Hip-Hop Artists); the automobile industry – marketed by Jay-Z, and 50 Cent; the liquor industry – marketed by Jay-Z, Snoop-Dogg, Busta Rymes, P. Diddy, and others.  He also shows the rise and fall of many of these products.

Patton finalizes this book by reiterating the most important strategies that companies need to maintain their brand momentum and stimulate growth in their respective industries.  He emphasizes the fact, which I believe to be true, that, urban consumers (majorly African-Americans) are the driving forces of most companies in today’s society.

The CEO of any company whom is charged with marketing their goods and services to the community should make “Under the Influence: Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation’s Impact on Brands, Sports and Pop Culture” a must-read for their managers and/or marketing staff.  Additionally, I would recommend that high school and college level students involved or interested in becoming entrepreneurs or business marketers read this most-informative book as well.  All readers of this book must remember and focus on the fact, that, wherever we are located, that the majority of the profits are received from us – the urban consumers.

“Under the Influence: Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation’s Impact on Brands, Sports and Pop Culture” by Erin O. Patton can be purchased at Amazon.com, and if you’re in the Cleveland, Ohio Area, it may be obtained from the Cleveland Public Library.

Until the next time –  Stay Blessed!!

Natalie R. Fitten

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2 Responses to “Business Information You Might Can Use!”

  1. Very good blog posts ! I am an elder education advocate and small business advisor/consultant, live in Holland Michigan, retired and willing to provide my expertise to Concious African Centered people.

    • Thanks so much Brother Fronse! I am an advocate of education for youth, although I’m not a teacher. In essesnce, though, I believe, we, as elders in our communities, are all teachers to some degree. I really wish I could get something going here in the Cleveland, Ohio area. It is really tough. Anyway thanks for your comments and you have a Blessed Day!


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