Authenticity Matters: Why Market Research Needs Diversity to Connect with Black Consumers

May 15, 2024 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Black Americans, comprising about 14% of the U.S. population, wield significant economic influence, with buying power surpassing $1.5 trillion. Their cultural impact is equally undeniable, shaping everything from music and fashion to cuisine and beyond. Yet, generally, brands fail to invest in the market research needed to truly understand the complexity of this demographic.

Like most multicultural consumers, Black Americans are not a monolith. Within this group are subcultures that extend far beyond skin tones and hair textures to differences in culture, countries of origin, geography and language.

Beyond demographics are psychographics, right? Traumatic events like George Floyd's death deeply affected many Black consumers, prompting shifts in their brand interactions. Despite these challenges, there's a growing interest among brands in understanding and serving Black consumers, particularly Gen Z. Authenticity emerges as a crucial factor, with Black consumers seeking brands that acknowledge them, invest in their communities and empower them.

However, the lack of diversity within the market research industry remains a glaring issue, jeopardizing efforts to engage this consumer group. The failure to build diverse and inclusive teams hinders authentic insights and decision-making processes, leading to tone-deaf marketing campaigns and underwhelming customer experiences. Brands that genuinely understand what Black consumers like and build real connections with them will discover a vast, hidden market just waiting to be explored.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Dawn V. Carr, CEO and Founder of Mahogany Insights, discusses the importance of increasing diversity within the insights industry and how it can lead to more meaningful connections with Black consumers.