Since Marissa Nance left Omnicom, where she spent nearly three decades of her career, to start her own agency in 2019, she’s been helping drive equity for women and people of color in novel ways.
Native Tongue Communications is one of the first and only female- and minority-certified media agencies. CEO Nance takes the unique approach of helping brands think about how they reach people of color from the very start of their marketing plans.
Among accomplishments in 2022 was a $1 million investment in Black female entrepreneurs through the annual Essence Magazine and Pine-Sol “Build Your Legacy” program that Native Tongue Communications helped set up in 2020. The agency also created Clorox-owned Burt’s Bees’ first campaign specifically targeted to microcultures, which drove year-over-year product sales growth, and launched The Armstrong Project—named in honor of the first Black “Peanuts” character, Franklin Armstrong—with Peanuts Worldwide, which established $100,000 in endowments at two Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“I tell people every day, empathy is the secret sauce and that’s where success comes from,” Nance said. “People dismiss marketing and advertising; they don’t realize it’s a resource. Marketing helps people grow, helps communities grow. It touches everyone, and for me to be able to take it and bring it to the communities that it’s been missing and dismissing all these years is an honor, but it is truly the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.”