Al Anderson has spent the last 45 years as a pioneer and maverick in the practice of marketing and communications with a special emphasis on the African American consumer. He is a real – on the ground, grunt work – trail-blazer.
A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Al attended Atkins High School, under the close watchful eyes of his father who was the only Black high school principal in this southern city. He tried out for the basketball team but was cut from the squad by the coach. Al taught himself how to play the trombone and played in all of the bands at this his high school – from marching to symphonic band. Graduating from Morehouse College, Al set his sights on a career in the business world and never regretted it for one moment.
A noted lecturer and industry counselor, Al Anderson is chairman of Anderson Communications, Inc. (ACI) which he founded in Atlanta in l97l. Anderson Communications remains the second oldest African American-owned marketing services firm in the country. Now in its 38th year, ACI is known to be one of the best go-to sources for any major corporation marketing their products and services to African-Americans. The company specializes in developing strategically based integrated “Go to Market” ™ programs for its clients. Al is truly an authority in the many disciplines of marketing; he knows what to do and he does not mind giving advice that one might not want to hear – but needs to hear.
Through ACI, Anderson has serviced many clients from the corporate and institutional fields. The company has two divisions, one that develops and executes integrated marketing services, including healthcare, sports, promotional, local and trade marketing programs, product sampling programs, Church based marketing, and public/community relations for clients like: The Kroger Company, Lawry’s, Pillsbury, P&G, Quaker Oats, Kraft Foods, Mc Neil, Dr. Pepper, Johnson & Johnson and many others. ACI uses a strategic approach to its client services with a heavy emphasis on “grass roots dynamics.” The other division of the firm produces branded media content. It has five distinct media brands that target different demographic segments utilizing a cross-media platform model.
Al Anderson is perhaps one of the best known experts on African American marketing and is known as “Dean of Black Consumer Marketing.” He has consulted with hundreds of businesses – both Black and white; however, his heart is dedicated to working with minority-owned businesses, giving his time and attention toward providing the kind of advice that can make a difference in success or failure of a start-up company or an organization struggling to survive. He has spent many years of services as a member, former board member, and treasurer of the Atlanta Business League where he is active on numerous committees that plan programs to help Black business owners increase their bottom lines.
Al serves as president of the American Medical Team for Africa (AMTA), a non-profit organization with a membership comprised of American doctors, medical students, and volunteers who dedicate their time to help African countries with their medical needs. They have worked in more than a dozen African countries. In recognition of his work in Africa, he was awarded an honorary doctor of medicine degree.
In addition to his business activities, Anderson is an ordained minister, and an accredited spiritual and family counselor at Hillside Chapel & Truth Center. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Clark Atlanta University and holds an honorary doctor of medicine degree from a university in Tanzania. He is also a member of Atlanta’s consular core serving as the honorary consul for The United Republic of Tanzania. A little known fact about Al is that he is an avid collector of African and African American art with an extensive collection of Makonde art and originals by African American artists.
Though he has many achievements, his greatest pride is his family, his wife Jeanette, his children Albert III and April and his four grandchildren.
The Reverend Dr. Al Anderson is yet another history maker in the Atlanta community and in the world-wide community of communications. Going to market with Al is a trip around the world – and he is still doing it and enjoying every minute of it.