Black consumers are group most swayed by brand values and diversity practices, study finds

Numerator rates AT&T top for using diverse talent in ads, with Geico and Progressive making the biggest buys in Black and Hispanic media.

Black consumers are group most swayed by brand values and diversity practices, study finds

CMO Strategy

Numerator rates AT&T top for using diverse talent in ads, with Geico and Progressive making the biggest buys in Black and Hispanic media

LeBron James for AT&T, which rated highly for diversity in ads.

Credit: AT&T

Black and African-American consumers are more likely than others to base purchase decisions on a brand’s values, the values of its corporate parent, or the brand’s commitment to diversity and social justice, according to new research by Numerator.

Overall, Numerator found almost 22% of Black consumers say a brand’s values are important in purchase decisions vs. under 18% for the general population. Black consumers were almost twice as likely as the general population (31% to 16%) to say a brand’s commitment to diversity, equality and social justice is important when choosing a product or service.

Numerator bases the findings on more than 200,000 responses to what it calls MicroSurveys, which are short surveys conducted among its panel of U.S. consumers, some of whom also provide online and offline purchase data.

Hispanic and Asian consumers were also more likely than white consumers to base purchase decisions on brand values or diversity and justice commitment, but Black consumers were the most likely to have their purchase decisions swayed by these factors, according to the Numerator survey.

Where brand values and diversity matter most

All Asian Black/
African American Hispanic/
Latino White/
Caucasian Other
A brand’s values are important when I make a purchase 17.9% 18.3% 21.9% 17.8% 17.1% 21.2%
I’m extremely or very aware of the corporate values behind the products I purchase 28.3% 31.2% 38.1% 37.2% 24.5% 33.4%
A brand’s commitment to diversity, equality & social justice is important to me when choosing a product or service 16.1% 15.8% 31.1% 18.1% 12.9% 18.1%

Brands likely to benefit from values and diversity include Amazon and the several insurance and automotive industry brands, according to separate Numerator data tracking of spending on ads featuring diverse talent or placed in Black or Hispanic media.

The top brands running ads featuring diverse talent included AT&T, Amazon, State Farm, Gilead's Descovy prescription drug, and the NFL for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 30, according to Numerator. Geico and Progressive led all brands for spending in both Black and Hispanic media, with Amazon also in the top five for both. Reese’s and corporate sibling Hershey were among other top spenders on Hispanic media.

The listings don’t consolidate brands with similar corporate parents, and marketers such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever would rank higher in the listings if all their brand spending were consolidated. P&G for example had Gillette, Bounty, Swiffer and Pampers among the top 30 brands for spending on ads with diverse talent. Consolidating the spending for just those four brands would put P&G at the top of the list, ahead of AT&T.

Outside of Hershey, the packaged-goods players and mass retailers didn’t rank high in spending on African-American or Hispanic media. However, executives of P&G, Unilever and Walmart since last summer have all said they plan to step up spending in minority-owned media.

Ad spend featuring diverse talent

Rank Brand Name Ad Spend (MM)
1 AT&T $145
2 Amazon $139
3 State Farm $138
4 Descovy $111
5 NFL $100

Ad spend in African American media

Rank Brand Name Ad Spend (MM)
1 Geico $1,310
2 Progressive $88
3 Amazon $780
4 Comcast $584
5 Toyota $530

Ad spend in Hispanic media

Rank Brand Name Ad Spend (MM)
1 Geico $1,170
2 Progressive $779
3 Reese’s $112
4 Amazon $105
5 Hershey’s $103

All paid media (except social) from January to September 2020.

Source: Kantar

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Jack Neff, editor at large, covers household and personal-care marketers, Walmart and market research. He's based near Cincinnati and has previously written for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bloomberg, and trade publications covering the food, woodworking and graphic design industries and worked in corporate communications for the E.W. Scripps Co.