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Black Consumers ‘Significantly’ More Brand Loyal Than Whites

Posted in Articles, Features by dionrabouin on September 3, 2012

By Dion Rabouin

(Written for BLAC Detroit Magazine)

One stereotype—deserved or not—about the black community has been that black folks are a little too worried about what name brands we wear. A new survey has found that whether or not we’re hyper conscious about brand names, we are significantly more loyal to specific brands and have a higher emotional attachment to products and certain media than our white counterparts.

NewMediaMetrics, a marketing company, quantified the level of emotional attachment to brands and media and found that “African-Americans were more attached to most brands than Caucasians.”

I spoke with the company’s co-founder Gary Reisman about the study. He said that marketers talk a lot about the black community, but do a lot less when it comes to action.

“There’s been a lot of ‘Well, we really should market to this segment,’ but there hasn’t been a lot of research that shows marketing dollars in the African American community,” he said.

The company wanted to study the emotional attachment of African Americans because the black demographic was what Reisman called an “underserviced market.”

“The Association of National Advertisers has a convention every year on the multicultural marketplace and there’s an awful lot of talk about Hispanics and not that much about African Americans,” he said. “On top of that, we’ve noticed that the data that supports marketing to African Americans and Hispanics is really lacking.”

The survey can be viewed as a wakeup call to advertisers who are largely ignoring the black community with targeted advertising campaigns, but can also be seen as a wakeup call to the black community.

Many of the brands that black folks are so loyal to – I won’t name any names – do little to no advertising in black media outlets or in the black community. Despite that fact, these brands have gained a greater level and a higher intensity of brand loyalty from African-American consumers than they get from the white audiences they actually target their brands to.

Reisman said that NewMediaMetrics has been able to determine what makes people emotionally attached to products and brands and what drives their buying habits, but has to keep that part of the business between himself and the companies with which he works. He did say that having that information gives their marketing a leg up on the competition.

“I just think that it’s critically important to understand that what’s most important in this whole conversation is that emotional attachment is predictive of someone’s behavior,” Reisman said. “It’s a way to follow the money and get as much return on your investment as possible, by understanding the why behind the buy and getting beyond just the numbers to the actual [reason].”

The 10 brands that blacks are most emotionally attached to are shown in the table below. The survey sought the level of emotional attachment that respondents had to the brand. Low numbers like 1s and 2s represent the lowest level of emotional attachment while 9s and 10s represent the highest level.

The New Media Metrics study was based on British psychologist John Bowlby’s attachment theory and the bonding process from 1937. The study looked into secure and insecure relationships between a mother and her child and developed a quantifiable measurement for it. The emotional attachment to products is measured in a similar way, on an 11-point scale.

Rank Brand 9/10s to:
1 Lexus 64%
2 Google Search 62%
3 Mercedes Benz 61%
4 Google 60%
5 iPod 59%
6 iPhone 59%
7 Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, etc.) 59%
8 Always 58%
9 Nike 57%
10 Microsoft Windows 57%

According to the survey, African-American adults are attached, on average, to 60 broadcast and cable networks at a level of 24 percent compared to Caucasian adults, whose average attachment levels are at 17 percent. This measurement is significant because stronger attachment translates into 40 percent more viewership and intensity of viewing.

The 10 brands that whites are most emotionally attached to are below. Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of overlap, but the only luxury car white consumers are attached to is Cadillac.

Rank Brand 9/10s to:
1 iPhone 59%
2 Disney Parks 58%
3 Google Search 55%
4 iPod 54%
5 iPad 59%
6 Google 53%
7 Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, etc.) 53%
8 Apple 52%
9 Cadillac 50%
10 Microsoft Windows 50%
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