Where’s The Bling?

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Mar 29, 2006
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By David Morse, President & CEO, New American Dimensions, LLC

(www.newamericandimensions.com)


A new report released by Packaged Facts called The U.S. Urban Youth Market estimates that urban youth consumers number nearly 24 million people with a spending power of about $500 billion. The report also estimates that the spending power of urban youth consumers will grow to $644 billion by 2010.


However, the report stresses that “urban” is a mindset, not a geographic place. Its definition of “Urban Youth” is 15 to 29-year olds who chose hip-hop music as a favorite music type in the Simmons National Consumer Survey of adults and teens.


Hip-hop began in the early 1970’s as an underground movement, largely embraced by African Americans, but it has since grown to a mainstream consumer phenomenon. Today, one in three hip-hop consumers lives in small cities and towns outside the top 100 metropolitan areas.


Some highlights from the study:


  • The popularity of hip-hop declines with age. Among 15 to 17-year olds, about half are hip-hop fans. The percentage drops to a little over a third for those in the 25 to 29-year age range.



  • Females are a strong force in the Urban Youth population, making up nearly six in ten urban consumers.



  • Hip-hop consumers are disproportionately black, though a majority are Non-Hispanic white. Though two out of three African Americans in the 15 to 29-year age group was classified as a hip-hop consumer, whites make up about 55 percent of the hip-hop population.



  • Hip-hoppers are much more likely to say that they live for the moment, are motivated by money, value non-conformity, and that they see themselves as influencers.



  • As consumers, they use more personal care products, prefer SUV’s and foreign cars, like to snack, try out new drinks and eat at fast food restaurants. They are more likely to see themselves as spenders and have a positive attitude about advertising.

Moderator’s Comment: Should brands and retailers looking to connect with teens and young adults attach themselves to a hip-hop persona? Is there any
down side?


As consumers, hip-hoppers are a marketer’s dream. They have spawned an entire economy going well beyond music that includes products as wide ranging as
clothing, footwear, jewelry, soft drinks, cell phones, autos and credit cards.


They pay attention to ads, appreciate them, remember them, and respond to them. And, if a brand is real lucky, it might get mentioned in the lyrics of a
rapper.


To quote brandchannel.com, “Formerly perceived as a niche strategy, some of today’s successful brands realize that the term ‘urban marketing’ now expands
across the entire youth demographic.”

David Morse – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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10 Comments on "Where’s The Bling?"


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Bernice Hurst
Guest
13 years 4 months ago

This feels like a dilemma to me although I don’t suppose anyone else will see it that way. I completely take the point about the opportunities to market, and cross-market, to hip hop fans in every aspect of their lives and I also see that not doing so could be a missed opportunity BUT… wouldn’t it be better to encourage people in the relevant age group to think for themselves rather than continuing to encourage their dependence on the views and endorsements of celebrities or others with shared experience?

Edward Herrera
Guest
Edward Herrera
13 years 4 months ago

Media is so fragmented, you can market in segments and only your specified consumer would understand. If you think thru your strategy and with demographic panel [information], you will know if it is right for your business. Be genuine, be sincere, and be careful.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
13 years 4 months ago

Boy, I would love to see this study and its participants.

First, Hip-Hop isn’t Rap, and Rap isn’t Hip-Hop! Many get the
two confused.

Secondly, these consumers are mostly affluent, white and live in
the suburbs, and upscale city areas.

Marketers are already advertisng and understanding this
culture, if I may say. And yes, the dollars available in this
Hip-Hop Culture to spend are any marketers dream. Hmmmm

Eva A. May
Guest
Eva A. May
13 years 4 months ago

If young urban consumers are a key niche for a marketer, hip-hop affiliation can definitely be considered. And hip-hop is certainly the passion of the decade for many urban youth. But what about Hurban (Hispanic urban) youth? What about affiliating with reggaeton? In reality, it’s easy to be a me-too marketer and ride along on the fad of the year. But why not create a meaningful UNIQUE identity for a product and use communications tactics that really engage urban youth to market it? Make the product the hero, not the music. Maybe music is one of the communication vehicles, and maybe you need a few spokespeople/musicians as endorsers of the product. But a good marketer can go way past the simple affiliation strategy, and end up with much more memorable and impactful results.

Gwen Kelly
Guest
Gwen Kelly
13 years 4 months ago

This is a great discussion today for many of the comments thus far posted reflect concerns I have on the topic of hip-hop/urban marketing. Putting the social responsibility/lifestyle discussion aside because I believe it to be a more complicated and lengthy discussion for this space, how different is the hip-hop “brand” of marketing from what has always been done throughout the years? Anybody out there remember the “Pepsi Generation”? How did Rolling Stone magazine build its brand? But more seriously, the adage “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” was played out in varying standards back in the day. Today, hip-hop is playing out that same adage in our faces…very up-close and personal.

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
Guest
Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
13 years 4 months ago

Only if they are ready to do so authentically. Trying to be something you’re not will only backfire. Adding “bling” as window dressing is transparent and laughable. Hip-hop culture requires intimate knowledge and only marketers immersed in the culture will succeed in reaping the rewards.

Mark Lilien
Guest
13 years 4 months ago

Best thing about this segment: it’s easy to find media that reaches them (radio stations, web sites, TV programs). Any marketer that wants customers ages 10 to 24 needs to reach this group. I’ve seen plenty of rural white kids, not just urban black kids, joining this movement, and it’s not going away soon.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
13 years 4 months ago
Should companies market to this group? Is there money there? Of course they will market to this group. Now what should they market? How should they market? Is it socially responsible? Is it economically feasible? Those are more difficult questions. There are many difficult social responsibility issues which each company will resolve for itself. The marketplace challenge of successfully marketing to this group is formidable. The group doesn’t really view mainstream marketing. New forms of marketing will need to be created. While the lifestyle is urban, not all the members of the group live in urban areas. So how will they be reached? This is an example of what will be a growing trend: dispersed target markets who are members of more than one target market and want products customized for their particular needs. Yes there is money here. Yes companies will market to the group. Should they? How can they do so effectively and profitably? Identifying the potential target market is the easy part.
Ryan Mathews
Guest
13 years 4 months ago

Bernice is right of course, but co-opting young people via celebrity is one of the oldest principles of modern marketing. Hip Hop is amazingly popular, but volatile. Between the violence; the advocacy of drug use and drinking; “pimping” as a lifestyle and general misogyny so common to so much of the music, it’s easy to make big mistakes when it comes to endorsements.

Joe Welnack
Guest
Joe Welnack
13 years 4 months ago

I do not see this demographic as a customer base I would encourage to visit my store. The foul language and disrespect of female buyers is a big turn off! I am an urban grocer; any day these folks stay out of my store is a good day.

That said, I would cater to this market if I were in clothing & shoes….. I don’t approve of the language or life style; they are a fact in business.

Most of my customers are church going and working class folks that don’t “cotton” to the hip-hop life style.

On a positive note, however, I do have customers who come into the store attired like hip hoppers do; they have been reasonably well behaved. They are good spenders.

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