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Walker and Company’s Dir. of Brand Marketing Says "Great Marketing is Always Authentic and Genuine"


Beauty is a $532 billion dollar industry. Black consumers make up about 13 percent of the US population but according to a 2019 Neilsen report, Black people outspend their counterparts in many beauty categories. Although our community continues to spend on personal care, hair care and skin products, the Black ownership in this industry is subpar to white proprietorship.


So for the few Black-owned brands that are in the health and beauty space, how do they keep up with the bigger brands all while still staying authentic? We had the opportunity to speak with Girard Hardy, Director of Brand Marketing for Walker and Company. Walker and Company is the maker of Bevel, the brand that created grooming products with Black men in mind. Girard provides insight on marketing a brand for people of color, gives tips to small businesses and how digital marketing has impacted the industry.



How did you start working with Walker and Company?


I have been a fan and user of Bevel products since discovering them in the fall of 2014. After shaving with Bevel for the first time, I was hooked and haven’t looked back. At the time, I was working for another brand but absolutely loved how Bevel genuinely spoke to Black men and women and made a note to watch for opportunities down the line. Fast-forward about 4 years, I was introduced to the team at Walker and Company and officially joined about a year after that. I’ve been here a few years now, and I absolutely love being able to bring my full authentic self to my work as a brand marketer. I’m surrounded by brilliant Black women, men, and people of color making products that speak to the needs of my community.


How do you approach brand strategy?


I start with an understanding of who the consumer is and what their needs are right now or when the strategy will be rolled out. This approach helps me be crystal clear on what else the Bevel man (for example) might be dealing with when I approach them about a new hair styler or shave product.


How has digital marketing impacted your industry?


I think digital marketing has impacted everyone’s industry, especially over the last year. With the outbreak of COVID-19, people were forced to change the way they shopped. For a lot of us, that meant that digital became the first (and sometimes only) option. I think too, that for brands focused on Black consumers, digital-first has been the strategy for a long time. It’s allowed for a lot more competition in all industries, especially in hair/Health & Beauty. This means that we, as marketers, have to be on top of our game. We can’t miss or our consumers will shop somewhere else.


Can you tell us about the influential strategy that aimed to make health & beauty simple for people of color?


Bevel was created by Walker and Company founder & CEO Tristan Walker with the purpose of developing solutions to complex shave & skin problems facing Black men. Our first product ever was a Safety Razor and Shave Kit that helps reduce razor bumps and shave irritation. Since then, Bevel has continued to create high-quality, solution-based health & grooming products that truly work for our consumers.


How are you leveraging social media to reach your consumer?


Social media is a fantastic tool for connecting with our consumers. For Walker and Company and our brands, particularly Bevel, social media gives us the chance to show and demonstrate to our consumers how our products look and the type of results you can expect when you use Bevel Hair, Shave, Body, or Skin products. It also allows us to tell them exactly where they can find us in their areas. My mom owned a small sewing store in the mid-80s and ultimately closed because it was impossible for her to tell people where to find her without spending a lot on newspaper or phone book ads (what are those, again?). That’s not the case in 2021 and I’m thankful for these changes.


What are the challenges with marketing brands for people of color?


We have to acknowledge that, as a nation, we’re only a handful of years away from people of color being the majority of the United States population. This will happen in our lifetimes. That means that ALL brands/companies should be authentically marketing their products and services toward people of color if they aren’t already. For me, this means any challenges that we face in our marketing efforts aren’t unique.


Great marketing is always authentic and genuine. The consumer decides and the challenge is always how to authentically speak to the needs of your consumer, no matter what you sell or provide. Sneakers or software, skincare or shave kits, streaming or delivery service. The challenge is the same.



How does Walker & Company stay updated with the ever-changing market?


One of the ways we stay updated in an ever-changing market is we work relentlessly to stay connected to our consumers -- their needs, challenges, opportunities, etc. In addition, it helps that we are our consumer. For me, as a Black man working on a brand that makes products for Black men, I don’t have to go very far to find out what’s happening in the lives of our community. I can ask my family, my friends, my neighbors, and I can look in the mirror. This means we are never too far from what’s actually happening in the market.


What marketing tips do you have for small Black-owned businesses?


Always be clear on who your consumers or customers are and what your business offers them.

The consumer decides. We’ve all seen a big push in the last year for people to support Black-owned businesses more and more, but consumers have a lot of options out there and the best thing you can do is be absolutely clear on who you want to speak to and what separates your business/services from the competition.


What can we look forward to from Walker and Company?


In a word: “more”. I’m really excited about the next 9-12 months for Walker and Company. We are continuing to build, develop, and grow to match the needs of our community and consumers. This means more access to our products, more solutions, and more opportunities to serve. We are grateful every day to develop solutions to the grooming problems that they are facing. I wish I could share more, but I’m sworn to secrecy.



2 Comments


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Rick Sanchez
Rick Sanchez
Dec 27, 2023

Bay Tech Media stands as a leading digital marketing agency, specializing in comprehensive strategies for businesses. Our expertise spans SEO, social media, content creation, and analytics. We focus on driving results by maximizing online visibility, engaging audiences, and optimizing conversions. Our tailored approach ensures businesses harness the power of digital platforms effectively, achieving their marketing goals efficiently in the ever-evolving digital landscape

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