It may be an understatement to say that Tiandra Robinson has a passion for marketing. She set her mind on pursuing a career in marketing and advertising when she was in middle school, then put herself on track to achieve that goal by earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Western Kentucky University and a master’s in marketing communications from Webster University in St. Louis. And when she couldn’t find a job in her field after graduating, she struck out on her own.
Her passion and skill at public relations led to work in the entertainment industry, working with musicians and comedians both in Kentucky and around the country. As T. Marie Management began growing, so did the customer base and Robinson’s client list soon included models, actors and fashion designers. In 2014, she changed the name of the company to T. Marie Consulting to better reflect the marketing, branding and public relations services she offers to all types of clients.
The Louisville resident is just as passionate about giving back to her community as she is about her company and focuses her work on small and Black-owned business.
“I didn’t start out making that my audience,” Robinson said, “but that demographic is who I was led to and that’s who I’m passionate about helping. What I do with these Black-owned businesses is invaluable. I’m helping them establish marketing practices imperative to their success. Black-owned businesses don’t usually have marketing budgets so I provide strategies for them to implement, something that is cost-efficient and effective for those business owners.”
- IT’S FREE | Sign up for The Lane Report email business newsletter. Receive breaking Kentucky business news and updates daily. Click here to sign up
Noting that “Black people are more drawn to advertising where the person looks like them,” Robinson has found that the best marketing strategy for her clients is generally through word of mouth and social media.
To market and showcase Black-owned businesses in the Louisville area, Robinson launched 502 Black Business Week in 2018. The event is held each June and scheduled to coincide with Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that freed African Americans from slavery. In fact, Robinson said, the inspiration for creating 502 Black Business Week came as a result of her looking for a way to celebrate Juneteenth.
The goal of 502 Black Business Week is to increase exposure for as many Black-owned businesses as possible. During the week, participating businesses offer special deals, promotions and discounts to increase traffic and revenue. The event features online businesses as well as brick-and-mortar locations. This year, 70 businesses participated.
“The response to 502 this year was amazing,” said Robinson. “Next year I plan to do all Kentucky area codes!” ■