The Black population in the US is at 47M and growing, with a buying power estimated to surpass $1.98 trillion by 2025. Marketers have immense opportunity to connect with the Black American consumer. Accurate representation of diverse Black backgrounds creates a symbiotic relationship between advertiser and consumer – providing the advertiser with a loyal customer base and the consumer with a brand that genuinely cares.
Over the past few years, there have been a lot of promises but little actual change. Inaccurate representation leads to a lack of resonance and overall disconnection from the brand. Over half (51%) of Black viewers feel that there is insufficient TV content (shows, news, etc.) that features people from their identity group. Eight out of ten seek out diverse-owned media to fulfill their needs for authentic Black stories.
We celebrated Black History Month with a webinar featuring industry experts, including Jessica Garrett Modkins, President at Hip Rock Star Advertising; Danielle Hester, Director of Marketing at B Code (an entity of My Code); Amanda Rhodes, Content Curator at Tubi; and LG Ad Solutions’ Head of Sales Marketing, Monica Longoria. The webinar focused on connecting with Black Americans through media and emphasized why Black voices and Black $$ matter.
Here are three top takeaways from the panel:
1. Consumers are more keyed-in than ever before: Today’s customers, especially Gen Z audiences, are not satisfied with bare-minimum tactics, including arbitrarily placing Black actors in commercials and ticking an inclusivity checkbox. They care about the nuanced differences between Black people as a result of their culture, age, upbringing, sexual orientation, and more. This true on-screen representation can only come to life if those behind the scenes, telling the story, belong to that culture and have lived those experiences. Hiring diverse talent and creating room for people from varying backgrounds to be heard will go a long way with consumers looking for a brand that is not just a product but also an entity that stands for Black representation.
2. Talk to me vs. Talk at me: Having creative and messaging targeted towards the general market and expecting to capture Black American attention can come across as thoughtless. If viewers don’t see themselves in the imagery, they often believe the brand or product isn’t for them and immediately lose interest. When a brand targets specific groups, people belonging to that group start listening. Additionally, presenting a brand in places where the target customer is active, but not showing up for them in a genuine fashion will further alienate Black consumers. Reusing existing content to make it inclusive often takes away from the authentic experience of being Black.
3. Data, data, data: You can never have too much information (privacy-compliant, of course!) on your target audience. With access to both local and worldwide data, it is possible to slice and dice numbers to size up target audiences. Once a brand can place its finger on the pulse of the consumer, it can create collateral that will touch their hearts and minds (while bringing in a higher share of wallet!) If a brand requires sources of information outside of traditional datasets, a partnership with the right agency can help them understand and build a deeper connection with Black audiences. Additionally, talking to the customer is critical. Continuing communication helps identify pain points, trends, and needs – key puzzle pieces while marketing to Black American audiences.
From purely a business standpoint, Black dollars make up a large share of the market and represent a huge opportunity for advertisers. Brands stand to benefit big from inclusivity and authentic representation. However, an understanding of the line separating representation from tokenism is key to developing a brand that fully embraces diversity. Companies that value diversity – not just in their external marketing material but also inwardly in the hiring choices they make – are bound to see success.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or our contact page to learn how we can help to reach Black audiences meaningfully.
To learn more, watch our full webinar on-demand, or contact us at email@example.com.