event marketing, 2019 pride awards, niche magazine event

Niche Magazine Event Marketing: Spotlight on the 2019 Pride Awards

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Event marketing is an important (sometimes the most important) part of a niche magazine’s revenue stream. And like so many aspects of communications, events must feed directly into the organization’s broader business goals and mission, while also offering a unique and engaging experience for the key audience.

Longtime SPARK Publications client and Pride Magazine publisher Dee Dixon knows how to throw a gala. In many ways, the annual Pride Awards gala was her sandbox—a live event where she got to show off her creativity and engage her readers face-to-face in fun and exciting ways. But Dee is first and foremost a smart business woman, and she tailors the fun to serve her magazine’s mission: to be a voice for Charlotte’s African-American community.

Among the top relocation destinations and population centers for African-Americans in the US, Charlotte (also known as the Queen City) “prides” itself as the crown jewel of the New South. The area’s growing diversity and diversity in leadership are undeniable. But recent history has shown that Charlotte may not yet be the shining gem it aspires to be. Demonstrations in 2016 following Keith Lamont Scott’s shooting by a police officer was the most publicly displayed evidence. A research study released in 2014 by Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley, and the National Bureau of Economic Research was the most damning. It ranked Charlotte dead last in upward mobility among the nation’s fifty largest metro areas.

The Pride Awards is a living embodiment of the print publication. Each year it focuses on a different theme—arts, education, entrepreneurship, and community service, to name a few—and celebrates the African-American leaders and organizations making a difference in those arenas.

Pride Awards logos through the years designed by SPARK Publications

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In recent years, Dee transformed the event from an evening black-tie gala to an afternoon luncheon, a move that coincides with a more serious tone and down-to-business programming. The 2019 event theme was “Is This America? Dismantling a Culture of Unconscious Bias.” Attended by a broad cross-section of the community, it served as the voice of the African-American community telling the rest of the community how to wake up and step up.

The nonprofit award and financial donation went to Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, a collaborative group of court officials who work to mitigate the impact of implicit bias and institutional racism on children and families of color in the justice system. Highlights from the event included the “Wake Up Room,” a networking space that shared unconscious-bias stats relative to healthcare, housing, criminal justice, science, education, and corporate America. The works of local artist John Robert “Trey” Miles III were also on display in this innovative space. The Charlotte Ballet’s dance to Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video received a standing ovation, while national speaker Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. empowered and energized attendees about the timely subject of implicit bias. Finally, the printed program sent attendees home with information about the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge.

SPARK Publications serves as Pride Magazine’s creative department, handling layout, design and production for the bimonthly publications. The firm also designs a new event logo each year to fit the theme for the Pride Awards. To talk about how we can help your niche magazine with event marketing collateral and more, contact us.

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