Tuesday, September 06, 2005

OPEN MINDENESS

Call it coincedence or purposeful synchronicity, but this crossed my e-mail desk shortly after I wrote the last blog entry....hmmmm..perhaps a message here, have a look and re-read my last entry and let me know your thoughts?

For 8/30/05

From Iconoculture's Research Analysts

It's grocery-getting day, and we're on a D.C. pantry restock mission. Coupons in tow, gay mecca / hip urban Whole Foods is the first retailer we hit. Four subway stops later we're alongside other persnickety shoppers scouting condo-piggybacked grocer Harris Teeter. Back through the tunnel, and the finish line looms as we check out local melting-pot, everyman Giant.

Six hours? A gallon of sweat? Ho-hum. We've got bargain-bought goodies! Not so with some African-American shoppers. They follow the advice of our Mature mom: "Don't go where you're not wanted." For many black shoppers, shopping is best done inside the comfort zone. Indeed, a Burrell Communications co-authored study found 56% of black consumers have felt store associates and security guards eyeing them (CommunityNewsDC 7.14.05). No denying shoddy service plays a role. But there's more. As Burrell's co-CEO notes, "Race consciousness is high on the screen of African-Americans."

For retailers, that's bad news - but with a potentially lucrative silver lining. Make blacks feel comfortable and they might spend some of their nearly $1 trillion in annual spending power in-store (USAToday.com 8.15.05). How? Staff training is a plus. Still, they're not perusing the wares if a welcome mat isn't rolled out first. Follow the path laid down by late Ebony publisher John Johnson: Use ads with positive black portrayals. And as radio host Tom Joyner says, target African-Americans unashamedly. Find out what they read, buy, like, and wear, and where they eat, vacation, pray, and live. Connect to blacks by expanding the comfort zone to their reading and listening media - and they might just expand their personal comfort zones to include your store. And throw in a 25-cent coupon for us, while you're at it.

1 comment:

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