Advertisers and marketers who fail to understand the segmented nuances of the black consumer sector are speaking to a homogenous nobody. They are likely wasting their money too by creating mismatched messaging and buying ill-placed advertising space. They are targeting what they assume to be ‘the black market’.
This much and more was evident when Lebo Motshegoa, managing director of black consumer insight agency Foshizi, presented his company’s research on the black consumer audience. Motshegoa was among a range of media sector specialists at the second annual RadioWorks 2011 conference held in Cape Town on September 1.
Motshegoa has previously worked as a copywriter for a radio station. Among his conference audience were radio industry professionals working in advertising, marketing and programming.
“Black people drive big cars because they want to feel empowered,” was one of his quips that drove home tips on prevalent consumer thinking.
Motshegoa then unpacked the diversity within the black consumer market. Foshizi’s researchers worked with “insight generators” to compile their data. Interesting findings in the youth market revealed a lingo that incorporates a range of brands.
This presented a quick marketing opportunity particularly on radio as street lingo evolved rapidly, urged Motshegoa.
“Radio allows you to use your brands when it is part of popular lingo in the township. Your brand is relevant. It shows that you know things,” said Motshegoa.
Foshizi also found that radio stations are the most trusted media among black consumers. The information they trusted the most though was from their friends via text messages and social networking websites.
“They are connected with their friends and those are the people that they believe first. Then comes the radio,” said Motshegoa.
Music was a platform for telling particularly the black youth market about brands.
“They are listening to the music for brands before they listen to adverts. We spoke to an agency in Los Angeles to do research on this. We then spoke directly to guys over here and they told us the brands that they recognised immediately. These brands were all associated to the music they listen to,” said Motshegoa.
“In the United States, this has created business. Media companies pay musicians to mention something positive about the brand. Nobody is doing this in South Africa. Our musicians mention brands but because it’s not a business they can do so negatively as well.”
Companies who wanted to choose celebrities to sell their brands also needed to consider the story associated with a well-known face because that would affect their campaign effectiveness.
“Young black consumers are saying that fame alone is no longer enough. Don’t simply attach your brand to a celebrity. These consumers want rags to riches inspiration,” said Motshegoa.
Technology has also affected the manner in which radio is consumed. Motshegoa explained that taxi drivers used to have ownership of what messages reached consumers who took this public transport. Everyone in the same taxi would listen to the same radio station.
“Having radio on your cell phone means that you don’t have to listen to what the taxi driver is playing. You can put on your head phones and listen to the radio,” said Motshegoa.
RadioWorks 2011 was organised in Cape Town and Johannesburg by the Radio Advertising Bureau.