US Insights

For African Americans, Brand Authenticity Rules - and is Rewarded

Rob Callender

Associate Head of Polycultural & Inclusivity Insights

Brands 02.28.2018 / 08:00


Many black Americans feel support for their needs remains unaddressed.

Many marketers covet the African-American segment for its discernment and cultural influence. According to Kantar Consulting's research (login required), it's easy to see why.

Black Americans often demand a higher standard of products and services compared to the mass-market mainstream, and they’re often happy to spend more to get a superior experience. Some 21% of African Americans would rather own a product that is the best of its kind, compared with only 15% of non-Hispanic whites.

But many brands don’t even realize they may have a problem connecting with this audience. African Americans tell us they often encounter discrimination at the hands of brands while shopping and at work. Add in bad experiences during the job search, and it’s clear that many brands have a blind spot that may be costing them considerable goodwill among African Americans.

Discrimination Graphic

Four in five African Americans (79%) are frustrated by brands that treat them as an afterthought (compared with 59% of rest of population). Meanwhile, 92% of this segment wants to support diverse, inclusive brands and 90% believe brands that make sincere efforts to invest in and be part of their communities deserve their loyalty.

African Frustration

But superficially courting this segment isn’t enough. Their experiences suggest businesses may not particularly value their patronage or their needs—a particularly galling fact because African Americans understand what supportive brands can mean to neglected or marginalized groups. If brands can support LGBTQ, immigrant, and women’s causes, why aren’t African Americans getting equal representation? 

An overwhelming 94% of African Americans agree with the statement “I appreciate it when companies make it clear what values they stand for”—the highest agreement rate of any consumer group. Unfortunately, many black Americans feel support for their unique needs remains unaddressed. When it comes to their issues, they’re looking for brands that walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Source: Kantar Consulting

Editor's Notes

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