How Valuing Black Consumers Pays Off

A study says that African Americans have distinct brand loyalty that may be a boon for black ad agencies.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

(The Root) — American corporations have long crushed on black consumers, who spend multibillions annually on goods and services. The results of a new poll may entice companies to take their corporate lust deeper.

The study, conducted by New York marketing-analytics firm NewMediaMetrics, shows that African Americans are more brand-loyal than whites and are eager to share their satisfaction with family and friends, as well as to urge others to buy or use their selections. Today’s black consumers dote upon UPS, Tide detergent, Oreo cookies, Ragu sauce, Bounty towels, Betty Crocker food products, Wal-Mart and the Gap, to name a few brands. The survey also revealed that African Americans have stronger emotional ties than whites to specific Japanese and German luxury cars, Google, the iPhone, Nike sports apparel and Microsoft.

Plus, when it comes to advertising awareness and use of new social media, blacks are also leaders and respond more actively to broadcast and cable networks. In addition, NewMediaMetrics found that blacks are more socially networked and are greater users of mobile videos and texting on small and large mobile devices. Black consumers also use services such as Netflix, Hulu, Twitter and YouTube more than whites do.

The money that African Americans spend on goods and services is vital to keeping mainstream producers and providers profitable — and that makes blacks, to coin a phrase, swing buyers. They are coveted individuals whose brand loyalty has been earned by companies who have treated them respectfully. Their allegiances could shift, however, if other companies proffer the same quality of products and services.

There are hundreds of billions of dollars up for grabs. According to “The 2012 Multicultural Economy,” a report published by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, black spending this year will be slightly more than $1 trillion. Hence, there is a huge incentive for corporations as well as mainstream and black advertisers to enhance their understanding of and tap into African-American purchasing power.

That’s where NewMediaMetrics, which is not black owned or operated, and its first African-American 360 Brand and Cross-Platform Analysis project comes in. The six-year-old firm has sold corporations general-market data and findings derived from its quantitative approach, which assesses buyers’ “emotional attachment” to goods and services. Marketers use this knowledge to predict consumer purchasing and media-viewing behavior. NMM customers include major packaged-good manufacturers and Internet and wireless companies.