Jamaican speakers make mark at USA festivalSunday, July 25, 2021
Shanna Kaye Wright Vaughn, Jamaican youth leader, was selected as one of several speakers at the most recent staging of Voxburner's Youth Marketing Strategy (YMS) ONLINE USA festival.
The virtual event, which was held from July 13-15, included speakers from major international companies across several industries, such as: Amazon, Lyft, Spotify, and others, presenting on different aspects of youth marketing.
Wright Vaughn, who represented JN Bank, where she holds the position of youth banking officer, engaged viewers via conversations with specially invited guests on day three of the event. It was a deep dive session hosted under the theme, 'Innovation and Future Thinking.'
The Cohort 3, YouthLead Ambassador utilised the expertise of the Jamaican professionals to explore a discussion around what the brand culture of Jamaica is, how it has contributed to the world and how international brands can tap into the Jamaican culture.
The discussion included Debbie Bissoon, popular media practitioner, host and producer; Duane McIntosh, lecturer of consumer behaviour and marketing strategy at The University of the West Indies, Mona; and Carlyle Grant, owner of Digital Danes, a creative digital marketing agency.
McIntosh, who spoke about the fascination with and the psychological impact of the Jamaican brand on the world, informed that the brand is a spin-off from our culture.
“The Jamaican brand is a strong one internationally. One thing which makes it stand out so boldly is our music. We are a country of three million people, and we have the artiste and song of the century. The music gives us deserved credence on the world's platform. Additionally, the culture has transcended into other brands such as Clarks and Beatz headphones, which has had products made which embraces Jamaica,” he pointed out.
In response to why it is important for people to acknowledge the contribution of Jamaica to world culture, Debbie Bissoon said Jamaica continues to be a “cultural stimulator.”
“I believe that anything in the black culture that requires authentication, you look to two places: Africa and Jamaica, because we represent this fearlessly. Our culture is that kind of intangible energy which you can't really touch; but it will move people, things, and products, and it gets people talking. And, therefore, it only makes sense that you attribute those stimuli to the place where it comes from, and that is Jamaica,” she opined.
“Brands all over the world want to be paired with something which can move people. There are so many commercials overseas that utilises aspects of the Jamaican culture. In recent times, we have seen Shaggy's It Wasn't Me being pulled on again for a Cheetos commercial. Our culture keeps renewing itself,” Bissoon continued.
Wright Vaughn said she learned about YMS in 2017 from Kristofferson Nunes, owner of UCA Limited, who attended that year and spoke highly of the event.
“In 2018, I decided to attend the event, through sponsorship from JN Bank, and it was a great experience. I connected with Richard Jackson, general manager of Voxburner, and his team, and I also brought them some Jamaican tokens. We have kept in touch since,” Wright Vaughn pointed out.
In explaining how she became a part of the YMS 2021 speakers, the certified digital marketing professional said that she has been connected to the content shared by YMS, and received an e-mail from them, outlining that they were looking for speakers.
“I thought to myself that I could probably do this, but I didn't sign up right away. Another day, I was randomly going through my inbox, and I found the e-mail again. I decided to submit the required information, however, I did not expect to be called or selected. My submission spoke to how Jamaica and the Caribbean have impacted brands and marketing around the world. Naturally, I referenced Usain Bolt, Bob Marley, reggae music and so on, and how they have contributed to the world,” she informed.
She added that she was contacted by Olivia Newman, head of content at Voxburner, who told her that they were interested in having her on board as a speaker and invited her to submit a photo and other information.
“The experience was amazing, because it literally ties into one of my personal goals which was to share with an international audience, so that in itself was very thrilling for me,” she affirmed.
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