Ethnic Marketing - African Americans
Cultural norms are intended as general guides – not absolutes of all members of an ethnic group.
It is often said that although the African American culture has its roots in Africa, most African
Americans are unaware that their African roots have played a strong role in shaping contemporary
behaviors and attitudes in African American culture. Due to the understated influence of the African
tradition, the African American community is different from the mainstream culture in many ways.
Following are some of the values found in the African-American community that may impact
? View the world from an "Afro-centric" standpoint; the basis of "Afrocentrism" is
"authenticity" or "being real" (Early, 1995 in Tharp, 2001).
? Value qualities like "telling it like it is," "seeing the good as well as the bad,"
"assertiveness," "speaking up" etc. (Tharp, 2001).
? Give importance to orally transmitted information.
? Like to be represented.
? Are receptive to organizations that "give something back to their community" (Tharp,
? Like to see a positive image of their culture.
Identify marketing strategies: Strategies, based on the backdrop, for developing personal marketing
materials for African Americans:
? Be sensitive about the authenticity of your message. Have facts ready and be able to back them up.
Have African American representatives talk to your target group.
? Encourage your African American audiences to ask questions about your programs. Do not
mistake their assertiveness for aggression. Let them discuss the doubts they may have about your
program. They will tell you whether they like or do not like something. Watch for nonverbal cues as
? Use personal marketing techniques, like making phone calls or having an opinion leader speak
with the community.
? Have African Americans help you design the marketing materials.
? Show respect for African American family values. For example, a large household is a sign of
collectivism. Explain how your program will help the entire household/family.
? Support African American "causes and events" that strengthen the community. Your program
Excerpts from Strengthening Programs to Reach Diverse Audiences, University of Florida, IFAS Extension Office, May 2003. Reprinted with Permission.
should be visible at such events in meaningful ways (Schreiber, 2001). ? Show positive images of the African American community in your advertisement materials. Give
examples of successful African Americans.
? Do not try to come across as the person/organization that is going to "help" or "save" the group.
Establish an equal relationship.
? Recognize the way in which your own ethnicity contributes to the group dynamics.
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