Can you think of a brand that has done something in marketing in the last few years, not just with influencers, but marketing overall, and they’ve immediately had to put out the fires of a PR crisis because their campaign was culturally insensitive? 

I mean, how can you not think of a few. From L’Oreal to Amazon to Disney … some of the biggest brands, and certainly even small businesses, have either been disingenuous supporting efforts like Black Lives Matter or Pride, or gone to far worse extremes like some brands being accused of stealing ideas or designs from minority creators or businesses. 

The problem in these circumstances is the lack of diversity and inclusivity at the decision-making level means white people are making decisions about non-white cultural themes. Not smart. 

While the solution is certainly to drive more diversity and inclusivity at all levels of brands and the agencies that serve them, that won’t happen overnight. There has to be an interim solution to help brands and agencies better understand the communities they’re trying to serve. 

Now there is. 

And it underlines a major theme in our thesis and discussion of influence marketing. 

Joshua DuBois is the CEO of Gauge, a research and insights platform of sorts, that allows agencies and brands to tap into cultural and community leaders to better understand the communities and cultures they represent. Need a focus group of thoughtful African-American thought leaders to gut check your latest ad campaign? You can find that on Gauge.

While that is astonishing and much needed, what’s more interesting to me, however, is the treatment of influence in Gauge’s approach. It’s not an app where you can filter and search for influencers … those with big online social media followings. It’s an app where you can find people who actually influence communities. 

Civic leaders, journalists, academicians, activists … these are the “influencers” DuBois has collected in Gauge.

He joined me to talk more about the platform and the concept of influence versus influencers last week. He should know the difference, for sure. DuBois served as the executive director of the White House’s Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the Obama Administration. He also authored the best-selling book of President Obama’s devotionals.

More impressively to me, however, DuBois has been recognized by The Root and Ebony magazine as one of the most influential African-American leaders in the country. Needless to say, it is an honor to have him here.

We also tended to my own personal journey of understanding the African-American experience which I think you should hear. My journey has unlocked a lot of growth for me. I hope it can for you, too. 

I want to share something our friends at Storyblok have to make you smarter. It’s a new report called the State of Content Management and is a very useful survey of 515 businesses in the U.S. and Europe – companies just like yours – and how they are approaching content distribution through their digital channels in 2022. 

Think about it: You have to provide content for your website. Maybe a mobile app. Then there’s ecommerce platforms. Voice-activated speakers … Managing content is more complex today than ever. Get insights and ideas on how companies like yours are tackling the content challenge with The State of Content Management Report from Storyblok. Just go to for your free report. 

Storyblok is a new partner of the Marketing Podcast Network.

The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.


The Influencer Marketing Show is being held in North America for the first time. It’s a one day event in New York City, just off Broadway at the New World Stages on West 50th. It will be Wednesday, April 27, 2022. I will be chairing one of the stages as well as moderating a panel featuring Pete Kennedy, president and founder of Tagger, and Jenny Heinrich, who leads influencer marketing strategy for Ketchum, one of the Omnicomm companies. 

Go see the full speaker and topic lineup and get your ticket at When you check out, use the code FALLS and get a 15 percent discount, just for listening to Winfluence. 

Join me at IMS 2022 in New York!
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