Saturday, February 24, 2007

Essay 1762

[From Target Market News. It’s somewhat odd for Burrell Communications Group to present a study on Black History Month advertising, as the company is responsible for much of the corny and contrived BHM messaging that appears every February.]


Burrell study sheds light on consumers’ attitudes toward Black History Month

Burrell Communications Group, a leading multicultural marketing communications agency released findings from a recent Black History Month study that reveals current perceptions, connections and the impact of Black History Month within the African-American community. The study was conducted in response to the limited market research available about the February observance, and it benchmarks African-American consumer attitudes across generational age segments.

“It was important to understand how African-American consumers view the importance of Black History Month and the opportunity it presents to connect with these consumers on a deeper, more profound level during the month long observance and beyond,” explains Burrell Communications Co-CEO McGhee Williams-Osse. Research concluded that acknowledging and celebrating Black History Month is vital to both younger and older generations.

At least 79% of each group agreed that it was very important for future generations to understand the historical struggles of African-Americans. Additionally, the majority of African-American’s interest in Black History Month have either remained the same or increased over decades, specifically, within the 18-24 age groups.

Most importantly, the study reveals new insights into the younger African-American consumer market. Considering that much of the Black History Month marketing centers on the legacy, story and the historical struggles of African-Americans, there is an emotional disconnect with younger age demographics. Although the message of honoring and acknowledging the past remains significant to younger audiences, it does not resound as strongly as with their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

Younger generations have a different perspective on their challenges as compared with those experienced during The Civil Rights Movement. In dealing with racism and oppression, they believe issues are now more covert and subtle. As a result, they have a stronger focus on financial empowerment, battling crime and educational advancement. They want Black History Month to represent and highlight the accomplishments of modern day African-Americans and current issues facing this new generation.

Up to 63% of respondents agree that companies’ participation in Black History Month enhances their image, 65% are more likely to buy products from companies that salute African-American achievements, and up to 57% would recommend the company’s services or products to someone they know, a good source of not traditional or word of mouth promotion.

Consumers are also looking for companies to sponsor more events and activities celebrating Black History Month. In addition to the extending of Black History recognitions beyond February, respondents are also looking for a year-round commitment to showcasing African-American achievement.

Burrell campaigns such as McDonald’s 365Black and Verizon’s History in The Making featuring New Age spoken word poet J. Ivey reflects the responsiveness to current consumer perspectives. In a saturation of Black History messaging, McDonald’s advertising was the most recalled by study participants.

“For decades Burrell has advocated that Black History is a major part of U.S. history and that its observance should not be just compacted into one month. The study validates our stance and provides a better perspective on how African Americans of all ages would like to see their history celebrated,” explains Williams-Osse.

The study underscores that Black History Month initiatives are an effective way for brands to connect and build loyalty with African-American consumers.

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