DETROIT, August 17—Under the terms of a settlement with the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push coalition, Japanese automaker Toyota recently agreed to spend $700 million a year with minority owned suppliers, up from the $400 million a year it spends currently. American car companies Ford and General Motors have both pledged to purchase 5 to 10 percent of goods and services to minority suppliers. So it’s not surprising that Detroit is home to a healthy number of minority-owned public relations firms.
Now John Bailey & Associates, founded five years ago by former Casey Communications and Shandwick International executive John Bailey, is entering the fray, spinning off a new firm headed by account supervisor Shaun Wilson and focused on the minority business and urban affairs market. Shaun Wilson & Associates will be a joint venture between Bailey and Wilson, with Wilson holding the majority position so the firm can qualify as a minority owned business itself.
Shaun Wilson & Associates will provide strategic public relations counsel and implementation for minority businesses and major corporations looking to reach minority markets. Wilson will be president, and Bailey will serve as senior counsel, which continuing in his current role as president and CEO of John Bailey & Associates, which recorded billings of $2.1 million in 2000.
According to Wilson, “The challenges confronting minority-owned businesses and major corporations looking to strengthen their relationships with minority customers require a public relations partner with a unique combination of mainstream experience and minority and urban issues expertise. The depth and breadth of John Bailey’s 30 years as a strategic counselor in the Detroit market, combined with my own experience and passion for the Detroit community creates a team that can meet the needs of these growing markets.”
Minority owned businesses recognize the need for improved public relations and other business support.
“We’ve been hearing from the automakers that our companies need to grow,” says Carolyn Wright-Thomas, administrative director of the National Association of Black Automotive Supplies. “We need as much help as we can in bridging the financial and communication gaps in order to remain relevant players in the industry.”
Bailey says he recognizes the growth potential for the joint venture, but that he also relishes the opportunity to help jump-start the entrepreneurial plans of one of his own employees.
“We are always thinking outside the box to see how we can grow our firm, our capabilities and our people,” he says. “This joint venture with Shaun is an outgrowth of this philosophy. Shaun has developed an exceptional knowledge of minority business issues through relentless networking and passion for the City of Detroit. This joint venture is a win/win situation for both companies and our clients while furthering the goals of minority and majority owned enterprises in this region and beyond.”
Other minority-owned communications companies in Detroit include Nedd Worldwide Public Relations and Margo E. Williams Associates in Detroit and Don Coleman Advertising of Southfield.