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Defining Culture: Why The Epicenter Of Influence Lies With Black Celebrities

By Gary J. Nix

  • 50% of Black consumers trust Black celebrities, athletes & influencers for brand advice
  • Authenticity is key to reaching the $1.6T in buying power from Black consumers

At the epicenter of influence a recent study by Morning Consult revealed that Black consumers are more likely to heed brand advice from Black celebrities, than the public as a whole. While that may not be all too surprising, when analyzing this study’s data, we can learn more about all of the factors that make up true influence. Especially when you consider that 50% of Black consumers trust Black celebrities, athletes & influencers for brand advice.

Why This Matters: The key to such a positive impact on businesses can be found in the trust between; 1) community and brand; and 2) community and endorser. This can be gleaned from a deeper dive into the Morning Consult study that reveals Black adults are more than twice as likely as all adults to seek out minority-owned businesses on a weekly basis (22% vs. 10%) and 48% of black consumers said they would be more likely to shop at a black-owned business, compared to 18% of all adults. In other words: proximity, comfort and trust found within the Black community means a lot to a brand’s bottom line.

We have seen a recent uptick in interest regarding reaching the $1.6 trillion dollars of Black spending power in the United States, with authenticity being key. Furthermore, brands are in search of ways to leverage the influence of that spending because of the cultural collateral the Black community holds in this country. For example, Nike’s (NKE -11.96%) Dream Crazy ad featuring Colin Kaepernick resulted in a brand value increase of $6 billion and a 31% increase in sales.

Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, and Michael Jordan are all names we recognize not only for their own accomplishments but also for their endorsements of the brands we know and love. The celebrity rub has proven to increase sales for decades. Yet and still, the social space and its mimicry of social connectivity have given brands even greater opportunities to cash in on this phenomenon, especially in the Black community.

Situational Awareness: Brands not only need to find ways to lean into the spend and influence of the Black consumer, they also need to understand where or if their product(s) fit in the psyche of this market. Prioritizing authenticity over ingenuity is the best place to start.

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