Our Work

The California Endowment and The Open Society Foundations

Helping BMOC go from Surviving to Thriving

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In 2015, MEE completed its national, community-based participatory audience research with young males of color in nine U.S. cities, “Heard, Not Judged – Insights into the Talents, Realities and Needs of Young Men of Color.” We got 18 to 24 year-old males of African and Hispanic descent to open up about their lives — the everyday challenges they face, their use of technology, who matters to them (and who doesn’t) and the need for access to jobs, education, mentoring and health care. The research was co-funded by The California Endowment and The Open Society Foundations.

Focus groups were held in Philadelphia, Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York City (Bronx), Baltimore, Atlanta, New Orleans and Detroit. All participants were in the lowest 20% in income of the U.S. population, with average annual household incomes of less than $40,000.

MEE’s audience research validated that a brand-driven, private-sector approach could help BMOC succeed by developing their “opportunity-finding” skills and giving them ongoing, daily access to a digital platform and associated offline resources will connect BMOC to a diverse range of community touch-points and services mobilized to challenge their minds and support them in evolving from surviving to thriving.

The research process allowed MEE to test the brand architecture (i.e., key features, functional and emotional benefits) of a branded, digital platform and to determine if and how it resonates with BMOC. It also enabled MEE to determine the platform’s “meaningful difference” and support the development of a marketing plan designed to attract and retain African American and Latino BMOC subscribers.