Entertainment Brands Smart-Target African-American Consumers With the Help of Salons and Barbershops

It’s now possible to reach a niche demographic within a demographic thanks to this unique approach to marketing.

The ability to hyper target demographics is critical to the success of most entertainment marketing strategies. Cultural niche marketing is especially important to the entertainment industry because many films, streaming channels, television programs, and records are created to skew towards a target consumer. If studios can’t reach that consumer to build awareness about a project, it may never get the exposure it deserves.

In the past, niche, multi-cultural marketing was commonly bolted on to more total marketing campaigns as an after-thought, but large media companies are beginning to realize the wisdom in building niche campaigns from the ground up to ensure they are received as culturally relevant. Authenticity in African-American marketing is especially important because these consumers have a higher level of community and cultural pride and may not respond if marketing campaigns don’t reflect how they see themselves.

Urban barbershop and salon marketing is a unique approach to entertainment marketing that has become popular with Hollywood and global brands because it taps into black culture in organic, credible ways that meet consumers where they are. Next to church, beauty venues represent one of the places African-American consumers frequent most, and they are also physical sanctuaries where black men and women have historically gone to exchange ideas about what’s happening around the world, in their communities, and on the entertainment scene. Hairstylists and barbers are already making recommendations about movies, television and music as a bi-product of their services, so why shouldn’t entertainment brands join in the conversations and leverage the position of these professionals in the African-American community to promote projects?

According to Nielsen, the path to purchase starts when consumers learn about products through advertising; the recommendations of friends, family, and online communities; and the consumer’s own searching. A tremendous amount of product discovery takes place in beauty salons, which is important because black consumers are likely to spend much more time in salons than general market consumers. Smart marketers will not overlook salon marketing when customizing black outreach plans. After all, Black consumers love all forms of media and spend more time with media on traditional platforms like TV and radio. The key to earning Black consumer spend is reaching Black consumers as they research and discover the products they want and need, and that’s where urban salon marketing comes into play.

Another benefit of salon and barbershop marketing is how granular these venues allow entertainment brands to get with which customers they would like to reach. Some salons cater to a younger demographic, others to more mature women. Meanwhile, barbershops are often styled to bring in certain demographics, too. If you walk into an urban barbershop that’s playing the latest hip hop tracks at top volume and creating cutting edge hair designs for young black men, you can pretty well guess what types of entertainment—and in-store marketing tactics—will go over well there.

Salon and barbershop marketing leverages the outsized influence on culture that exists in salons and barbershops that operate across the top markets. The sheer volume of customers coupled with the unique environment of each salon enables entertainment brands to make specific requests about who they would like to market to, including audiences in specific markets. For instance, if you plan to hold early screenings in top markets like Atlanta or Chicago, giving advance screening passes away in local salons and barbershops will ensure lots of chatter and that people are talking about it and attending the movie openings with a high level of excitement from the start.

There aren’t many marketing outreach strategies that allow entertainment brands to reach African-American consumers with this much personalized engagement, making urban salon and barbershop marketing one of the most reliable tools in their out-of-home arsenal.

photo credit: Neil. Moralee Its All In The Name. via photopin (license)

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