It shouldn’t have to take a black model recreating luxury ad campaigns to get a message across—or does it?
In marketing, it’s all about having unique insight to craft messages that capture the heart and soul of a particular consumer.
While demographics shift and change, there is one group that the marketing gurus seem to be missing: upscale black women. We are an incredibly powerful force, carrying influence in dynamics that continue to impact the world. If companies want to tap into this power (and—hello—make more money), they need to wake up and start paying attention to younger, more affluent, and tech-savvy black women, as well as the luxury brands they purchase.
It’s called having “brand intelligence”; high-concept thinking that helps brands explode for a new level of consumers.
A Nielsen report, Increasingly Affluent, Educated and Diverse: African American Consumers, looks at how black Americans buy things. Upscale black women are at the heart of this circle; our insight, intellect, and influence has made us the “quiet storm.” Incorporating more ads to target this demographic will open the doors of enticement and encourage more interaction from this consumer base—and here’s why:
1. Black Women Are Some of Society’s Main Trendsetters Today
The current impact of icons, such as Oprah, Beyoncé, and Michelle Obama, have changed the public perception, showing that black women are a force to be reckoned with. We are more educated than ever before and have incomes that are continuing to rise. Our opinions combined with buying power of standard and luxury products are a state of empowerment.
If you are swayed by stats, here are a few to prove the claims. According to an article from MDG Advertising:
“As more and more African American women have become the heads of their households, they have become extremely empowered with their spending and saving decisions. They are mindful of their money, yet appreciate luxury and are willing to spend for the products they think are worth it.”
This blog article also states that the shopping habits of African American women reveal:
- 79% must trust a brand to purchase their products.
- 63% are more likely to buy a luxury vehicle in the next year than the general market.
- 40% are more inclined to purchase movie tickets online than the general market.
- African American women are twice as likely to shop at Neiman Marcus than the general population.
2. Black Women Now Have Increased Financial Abilities to Discern Which Brands Are Most Worthy of Their Customer “Loyalty”
The Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia has projected black buying power to reach $1.2 trillion, and by the year 2020, it will increase to $1.4 trillion. That number represents a 275% growth from 1990. This is a tipping point. With increased income, our choices and loyalties will connect with those that acknowledge our position in life.
3. Black Women Have High Social Media Influence and Presence
Connecting with affluent black women is not like splitting atoms. Brands can meet us where we are. For instance, black women gather online during top shows by Shonda Rhimes, or for episodes of Power and Empire. It’s happy hour without the booze. During the show, retweeting each other’s comments about what we like, don’t like, and where to shop, is a thing we do. Many black women don’t purchase what white women buy, rather they buy what other black women buy, share, and praise.
The Nielsen report indicates that black Americans are more connected online in both social media and mobile advertising. Big data demonstrates that black Americans earning $100,000 annually shop online more than white Americans with similar incomes. The brands that we can connect with most in social media influence our decisions and make us 44% more likely to give them our money. So, what’s the hold up?
Hearing the ‘voice’ of this certain kind of black woman has been part of the challenge that many companies grapple with. Developing a relationship in a way that speaks to us, where we already are, can take away half of the work for brands. This requires recognizing the power of the force of upscale black women as part of the progressive movement forward. Taking the lead on this is one of the smartest marketing moves that companies can make.
Maryann Reid is the Digital Managing Editor of Black Enterprise magazine and author published by St. Martins Press. Her work has been featured in Glamour, USA Today, Newsweek, CNN.com, and more. Follow her on Twitter @realalphanista.