Recently, many public figures learned the importance of customizing messages for specific target groups. Business people and celebrities do this with ads and in songs and movies. Politicians do this to broaden the reach of their campaigns, as they begin to notice that majority rules, but minorities carry weight. Thus, winning the favor of niche groups plays an important role in winning over support from their communities.
Hillary Clinton recently used this to drive her campaign. Two of her agency choices so far focus on specific groups. Droga5 helps Hillary Clinton reach female and feminist voters, while Burrell Communications provides the key to the African American community.
After Hillary Clinton hired Droga5 last week to boost her presidential campaign, the agency quickly began working on female-focused ads. This partnership comes as no surprise, since the Clintons and Droga5 worked on similar projects in the past.
For example, in March 2015, Droga5 created the “Not There” ads for the Clinton Foundation. The campaign made its point by removing females from advertising, magazine covers, and billboards. They did this to show that women still do not enjoy equal representation in media. Edgy ads like these not only help to highlight women’s issues, but they present Hillary Clinton as the vehicle of progress towards equality.
Hiring Burrell Communications also shows Hillary Clinton’s ability to recognize the importance of support from communities outside of her own. Obama used a similar tactic, when he used LGBT support to gain votes and win over the state of California.
Burrell Communications calls itself “an agency that specializes in the African-American market”. The agency is known for not just its African American focus, but also because it is owned by African American females with decades of experience in the industry – McGhee Williams Osse and Faye Ferguson.
Not surprisingly, Clinton tasked Burrell Communications with reaching out to black voters in key states. She wants the support of the same group which backed Obama and helped him win two elections. Black females between the ages of 18 to 29 made up the majority of voters in 2012, and no doubt represent one of Clinton’s key target groups.
But, politicians aren’t the only ones who want to gain the support of this group. Companies also invest millions of dollars into attracting the buying support of African Americans. This group currently makes up roughly 13% of the U.S. population, and nearly half of them are under 30 years old. This forces marketers to think on the differences between younger and older African Americans and how to reach them.
Yahoo Advertising, Mindshare and Added Value all teamed up to do a study on these key points. Their research found that African American Baby Boomers felt a stronger connection to their racial identity than younger counterparts. Boomers also showed a greater preference for ads that feature more diversity.
For younger African Americans, ethnic identity bears more importance in forms of expression. They show a greater likelihood for using social media to express ethnic identity via the content they share. Thus, social media remains the best way to reach them.
Finally, the study discouraged the use of negative stereotypes and recommended the use of positive values. They state that, “it’s easy to offend, but connecting successfully takes a deeper understanding of what AA are about”.
As African Americans, LGBT and other groups climb higher up the social ladder of equality, companies and public figures continue to vie for their support. Hillary Clinton’s move remains the most effective one to date. She knows that while any PR expert can speculate about how best to connect with specific groups, no one knows the answer better than members of the group, themselves.