Featured image for “How to appeal to a black audience in the UK”
26th October 2021

With only 1 in 5 brands reaching out to ethnic minorities in the UK it is no surprise ethnic minorities feel unrepresented. Over 3% of the UK population is Black, this is the fastest-growing community with the percentage of the population from a Black African background doubling from 0.9% in 2001 to 1.8% in 2011.

How to reach a black audience – Our top 5 tips 

Understand 

Understand the needs of Black people how this differs from other ethnicities. There is no point in trying to reach a Black community if your products do not suit their needs as they will not purchase. If you are unable to produce products for the black community then you should proactively look to educate your brand on ethnic communities so you can be inclusive with products in the future. Whilst you look to expand your products supporting the community will show that your brand is making positive steps towards change. Consumers need to be able to see themselves using a product before they buy it, this is what creates the sale. Seeing an image that they can imagine themselves in secures the need for purchase

Represent 

Represent the Black community through your marketing communications. The visuals in your marketing materials should be representative of all audiences as people are more likely to buy if they feel represented as they can identify with your brand. People use brands and products to express their self-image and therefore become emotionally attached to your brand. Before a consumer can develop that emotional connection, they need to be able to see themselves using a product before they buy. Seeing an image that is representative secures the need for purchase.

Marketer’s state accurate representation is the top reason behind increasing their usage of content that features racially diverse models (68 %) finds DE&I in Marketing: A Global Report by Shutterstock.

Your brand values are extremely important! A company that hires a multicultural team does better financially because a multicultural team offers differing opinions, due to their different cultural upbrings and life experiences. These differing life experiences are visible in your marketing materials and products. This allows your brand to appeal to a wider audience more effectively.

“Some of those businesses have more posts about black people than black people working for them. People are realising that.”- Sherri Williams, an assistant professor of race and media at the American University in Washington. 

69% of ethnic minorities feel UK media has little or no relevance to them. So, it is important to represent them, if you are unable to source the correct material investing in a photoshoot or illustrations that are representative will be beneficial in the long run. Representation goes much further than one piece of marketing material, brands should look to be diverse company-wide, from interns to board members; models, creatives and designers, and everything else in between.

Inclusivity 

Celebrate the differences between cultures and be inclusive. If you’re trying to grow your research, ensure you’re able to cater for everyone. If your brand is providing samples, they must be suitable for all; consider skin colour, hair texture, religious beliefs, etc. For example, M&S recently launched a range of nude clothing in a wide variety of shades for everybody. A brand needs to be authentically diverse in the product range before trying to reach this audience. This is more dismissive than not catering in the first place as it shows little consideration was put in place when thinking of an ethnic group.

“As we know, there are a lot of brands who love capitalising on black culture, black music, black aesthetic, but are dead silent when it comes to talking about black issues and black struggles in our community,”- Jackie Aina, social media influencer who advocates for people of colour in the beauty industry.  

Adopting diversity and inclusivity across your brand is beneficial but also the right thing to do! 

Sponsorships 

Sponsorships show communities you support them and allows them to get to know your brand past your product. By showing your support to communities through sponsoring events, donating to charities, and making a difference in a community your consumers will begin to trust your brand. A strong bond between brand and customer promotes brand awareness as consumers will share trusted companies with their loved ones. 

“Nearly two-thirds (63%) of surveyed global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs, and will avoid companies that don’t” according to new Accenture research shared with Marketing Dive.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement showed a lot of support at the height of the movement in 2020. However, many brands have not continued their support past this time, so we question the intent behind their support. 

Brands who are showing continual support to BLM:

Nike & Jordan – Michael Jordan and the Jordan brand have pledged to donate £79 million over the next 10 years to organisations engaged in the fight for racial equality.

ASOS– The online clothing brand has pledged to make changes in the structure of the company setting up a team to ensure a diversity and inclusion plan. They have also committed to creating clear goals for equal opportunities in recruitment.

Sainsbury’s – The Supermarket donated £10 million to set up the Museum of London. Ex-chief executive Lord Sainsburys of Preston Candover also ordered a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan to be removed from outside the museum’s Docklands branch. This caused a right-wing boycott that trended across Twitter from both sides, those who were boycotting and those who praised Sainsbury’s for their action.

Embrace 

Authentically embrace all ethnicities. To successfully reach black communities in the UK your brand must understand cultural behaviours. Embracing ethnic minorities will help your business grow globally. Ethnic holidays are important to recognise as it is a good opportunity to learn about the cultures celebrated by minorities. The holidays are always a good time to hold face-to-face activations to reach communities in the UK.

We have been celebrating BHM across our socials. Last year we had the pleasure of working with MLK and The Voice to inform the public about the MLK/FBI Documentary. We looked to engage the public with conversations on the topic. GottaBe! Ethnic is here to help you with your multicultural marketing, if you would like to discuss this further contact us today to speak to one of the team. We can reach ethnic communities across the UK with our pool of 4,500 brand ambassadors.

Photo by Monstera from Pexels