As of today, the combination of Black, Asian, and Hispanic/Latin X Americans represents 40% of the U.S. population. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, the U.S. will be a multicultural majority nation by 2044. It’s incredible to think that in only a few decades, these cultures will comprise of 50% or more of the population in the United States (Nielsen 2018).
With these numbers in mind, let’s go on a quick journey of what can happen when a brand takes a stand and represents a Black woman-owned business.
I first heard about Beatrice Dixon during my religious tune-in to the Side Hustle Pro podcast on Spotify. The CEO, business disruptor, and founder of The Honey Pot Co., Beatrice was featured in January of last year on episode 127, where she shared her journey as a healer, user of nutraceuticals & herbs, and how she struggled with current-state feminine hygiene products. These problems led to her create the first-ever complete line of plant-based and sustainable feminine hygiene products.
Beatrice also shared her journey as a Black woman entrepreneur, which is drastically different from her white counterparts. Most black-owned businesses don’t get a lot of support from venture capital. Only 0.02% of black women get that type of support. She was able to secure a family member as her initial investor, helping her showcase her products as a vendor at the Bronner Brothers hair show in Atlanta, Georgia.
When I learned of her feature in this year’s series of Target’s “Founders We Believe In,” I was ecstatic to learn that her work and reputation had rapidly grown, reaching a substantial platform. As part of Target’s celebration of Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and its popular “Founders We Believe In” series, Target created multiple made-for-television ads. Target distributed these ads across digital and social channels for various black-owned brands, including some that supported Beatrice’s business.
During her television spot, Beatrice spoke about how difficult it was for her to start her company. She expressed gratitude for Target, as they helped her overcome major obstacles while helping to pave the way for her brand’s placement into other mass retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. She also talked about why it was so important that her company to succeed. “The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well is so the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea, and she can have a better opportunity.” Beatrice’s word rang true.
A recent DiversityInc article reiterates Black spending power in the US. I shared this data in my Negotiation Your Salary Like a Boss blog post; however, it is worth repeating. Black consumers make up $1.3 trillion in annual buying power. Black consumers discover products mainly on mobile devices and are more likely to consume media and purchase products targeted to them. In the same article, Cheryl Grace, Nielsen’s SVP of strategic community alliances and consumer engagement, shared a poignant point-of-view and advice for brands looking to connect with multicultural consumers. From Cheryl Grace:
“…brands are looking for ways to grow market share, and sometimes they look for growth opportunities outside of the United States with expanding markets or emerging markets. oftentimes they haven’t yet really capitalized fully on engaging and connecting with multicultural consumers here in the United States, so they’re literally leaving thousands and millions of dollars on the table without understanding how they can better connect with those consumers to use those insights to connect better and improve their market share. ”
Unlike some of the brands that we know (and dare I say, love) that are leaving our hard-earned coins on the table, Target is not one of those brands. Target has double-downed on its position of representation for multicultural businesses, business owners, and consumers, but not without some backlash.
As a response to the Target advertising and Beatrice Dixon’s feature, many critics took their racist views and reactions to Trustpilot. For those that may not know, Trustpilot is a consumer review platform, similar to Yelp, that allows visitors to grade a company between one and five stars. Customers reviews can positively or negatively impact a business’s rating and, ultimately, the business’s perception of potential customers. Net net, small businesses, and most e-commerce brands heavily rely on this service to drive awareness and consideration.
One reviewer said: “Why specify Black?” while another wrote, “I would have considered buying from this company if it hadn’t been for the racist commercial.”
These types of comments flooded her review pages and Target’s inbox. However, the haters and detractors were no competition for Dixon’s vibrant fan base, Target’s stance, Black women on Twitter (aka #BlackTwitter), or anyone sharing Issa Rae’s “I’m rooting for everybody Black” sentiments. According to Beatrice, there wasn’t a pressing need for conflict management. As a result, not only did Honey Pot’s sales increase by 50%, but her Trustpilot presence also took an influential turn. Within hours, her supportive reviews went from 2.5 stars to almost 4.9 stars.” It has been a beautiful experience,” Beatrice remarked.
While I am excited to continue to watch Honey Pot’s success, there’s room for more businesses to benefit from both inclusion and representation. To all brands and marketers out there, how are you advocating for growth? Are you pushing the boundaries of representation and connection, or are you leaving millions of consumer dollars on the table?
If you’re interested in centering your marketing and need a strategic partner on your side to understand and connect with multicultural consumers, you’re in the right place. Let’s talk.
Additional Sources: www.essence.com/feature/honey-pot-founder-beatrice-dixon-responds-racist-backlash-target-commercial-black-history-month/; https://www.bet.com/style/living/2020/03/honey-pot-co-founder-beatrice-dixon-wants-you-to-win.html; https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/podcast/2018/the-database-meeting-todays-multicultural-consumers/