As Black Heritage Month draws to a close, Nissan North America is continuing with its year-round efforts to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as other initiatives with a focus on Black consumers.
Nissan has supported HBCUs through its marketing dating back to 2015, including partnerships with the Heisman Trophy Trust, the NCAA, BET and iHeart/The Black Effect podcast.
The support manifests itself in different forms, including The Nissan Heisman House Tour, which added visits to HBCU campuses the past two seasons. The automaker also sponsors seven HBCU athletic programs.
The automaker also created he Electric Beats initiative, a program to help empower the next generation of Black music creators.
Through partnerships with minority organizations and scholarship programs, Nissan aims to place minority youth into the automotive business, says Chandra Vasser, vice president and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Nissan Americas, and president, Nissan Foundation
“At Nissan, our guiding light as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion is better conversations lead to better actions,” Vasser tells Marketing Daily. “And so we truly believe that DEI is not just a conversation, but you have to take the conversation, have those conversations, be transparent, be vulnerable.”
What Nissan learns from those conversations informs actions that show the automaker is committed to DEI in all aspects of its business, she says.
“It can't be something that you focus on just in the month of February, because let's face it, Black people don't just buy cars in the month of February,” Vasser says.
Nissan no longer breaks out its multicultural marketing efforts. Instead it is part of every effort, says Allyson Witherspoon, vice president and chief marketing officer, Nissan U.S.
“We've really been able to break down the silos with that process and have the multicultural team fully integrated,” Witherspoon tells Marketing Daily “And at the same time we've been accelerating our efforts in the multicultural space, not just from a marketing standpoint, but also the different type of partners that we work with. We've been able to unlock a lot of opportunities that way.”
Both Nissan and the automaker’s luxury brand, Infiniti Motor. Co. have also collaborated with HBCU Tennessee State University to empower minority students interested in covering the automobile industry from a media and communications perspective.
Dubbed “The Driving Force,” the Black Automotive Media Group's 10-week program combines virtual training, mentoring sessions and in-person product experiences.
In November, Nissan hosted a summit with 50 HBCU students from around the country for mentoring and leadership talks, Witherspoon says.
"It's also a way to tap into those universities for future talent at the company,” Witherspoon says. “You don't aspire to something that you don't see. And when you can see these types of roles and these types of careers, then it opens up a world of possibilities.”
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