GM reaches out to minorities to drive sales

DETROIT: General Motors is stepping up its PR efforts aimed at African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics.

DETROIT: General Motors is stepping up its PR efforts aimed at African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics.

The new PR initiatives are part of GM's plan to increase overall marketing efforts to these groups. This year, the automaker has tripled total marketing spending aimed at these groups with the goal of increasing its market share among each by 2%.

GM has traditionally captured larger market shares in rural and midsize markets. The new marketing efforts are designed to increase GM's market share in the 25 largest urban markets in the US.

PR's role in this push involves media relations efforts to reach minority publications and broadcast outlets that wouldn't normally have dedicated auto writers. GM is also working more closely with minority journalist organizations, chambers of commerce, and other groups.

PR is also pulling together various outreach efforts into major events that merit coverage, said Andrea Clark, general director of diversity and growth marketing communications.

During this year's Los Angeles Auto Show, GM worked with the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to auction work by a Mexican artist, and then donate the proceeds to a Hispanic scholarship fund. A special GM vehicle preview was held the next day for Hispanic media, followed by a press conference at which the Hispanic chamber named GM Corporation of the Year. A luncheon with Gary Cowger, president of GM North America, was also held for Hispanic journalists.

GM's communications department has been increasing staff in the diversity area for the past several years, said Steve Harris, VP of communications.

GM is working with five small PR agencies around the country that specialize in various minority markets. Specialized agencies can better find media opportunities than would one large agency, Clark explained.

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