February is here, and for 28 days, thousands of corporations across the country will rally their African-American marketing initiatives around Black History Month. Companies will promote their diversity efforts, increase their ad spend among “urban” media, host Black History Month-themed special events, and donate millions of dollars to well-deserving nonprofit and community organizations.
I applaud these companies for speaking to African-American consumers at a time of the year when it is important to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of blacks to this country. Yet I also encourage them to go beyond the month of February and make marketing to African-American consumers an integral part of their year-long communications efforts. As a McDonald’s campaign so directly and profoundly states, African-Americans are “365 Days Black.” Companies that understand this sense of cultural pride and make an ongoing, long-term investment in multicultural outreach can break through the brand clutter and begin to connect more deeply with ethnic audiences.
African-American consumers look for campaigns that speak directly to their culture. They are highly sensitive to messages and images that resonate in a culturally sensitive and authentic way. More importantly, they recognize if they are considered a valued consumer segment. Consistency proves that. One-shot deals demonstrate the opposite. (PR Week)