Since 1970, Essence Magazine has evolved into a publication with a monthly readership of 7.5 million. What is perhaps more impressive about this publication is that it is read by 70% of black women in America every year. Among other accomplishments the Essence brand has spawned the popular website Essence.com, hosts the hugely successful annual Essence music festival in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the magazine became part of the Time Inc. family of publications in 2005. With an illustrious heritage as a pillar of the black community, Essence now focuses on their very exciting future as they look beyond the US and into the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. Knowing their audience and involving readers wherever possible has been a key success factor thus far. Research Director Carmen Bryant and the team at Essence use their Vision Critical® Community Panel of almost 10,000 'Essence Insiders' to shift the way people perceive consumer feedback internally and put readers at the center of the picture.