Authenticity. That was the crux of the message that Keynote Kerel Cooper, President of Advertising, Group Black, delivered during his keynote — Diversified Teams, Tactics & Audiences: Why the Future of Media Looks Like Group Black — at AdMonsters Ops on June 7, 2022.
But there was another key point underlying his overall message, and that was a call for the media industry to address the challenging fragmentation of digital media with diversification and innovation — in approaches to both revenue and growth strategies, as well as building the teams who will tackle the daunting shifts ahead.
Diverse voices will lead to diverse audiences and staffing.
Crafting Authentic User Experiences
Black-owned media companies are at the forefront of culture, news, politics, and entertainment — all taking a multi-channel approach to reach audiences, including print, podcasting, TV, video, animation, and more. And there is a lot of attention on Black-owned media today, with many agencies and media companies promising to commit ad dollars, especially after the heightened racial unrest this country experienced after the homicide of George Floyd.
Diversifying ad dollars isn’t just good for society, it’s good for business.
But how did we get here — at this place where all eyes are on Black-owned media? It all started with just one publication.
Cooper walked us through the origin of Black Media, even educating us on the first black media moguls, Samuel Cornish and John Russworm. These two free men founded the first black publication, The Freedom Journal, on March 16, 1827.
“Too long have others spoken for us,” Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm, the editors and proprietors, noted. “Too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentations in things which concern us dearly….”
The founding fathers of Black media couldn’t have worded it better.
To truly reach Black audiences and customize Black user experiences, it’s vital to work alongside Black-owned media companies, or at least work with a partner with a diverse team, to help amplify ad offerings amongst audiences of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. When crafting authentic user experiences, it’s important to reach those audiences through a lens of shared experience.
Scale and Influence Pushes Black Media Forward
Currently, there are over 400 Black-owned media companies, which illustrates the variety available for marketers to target one of the most influential and untapped audiences. Businesses often overlook this community thinking that the spending potential isn’t there, but they’re missing out on a $300 billion opportunity.
“In 2019, consumer expenditures by Black households totaled approximately $835 billion, and combined spending by all Black households has increased 5% annually over the past two decades,” according to Forbes.
On the media side of this equation, media buying needs to evolve to meet the billions of dollars in committed diversified ad spend. Today’s ad tech was set up to serve mass media, but that doesn’t account for the specificity involved in targeting Black audiences served by Black media or reaching those audiences with diversified ad creative that speaks directly to that consumer.
The challenge is, due to the lack of historical investment, a lot of companies are not set up to effectively take in those dollars — there’s $25B in spend but only $1B in inventory.
Black-owned media needs the tech, the media expertise, and the scale.
Group Black is the gateway to making buying and transacting black-owned media easy. With a forward mindset that they refer to as the “Inclusion age,” they are building a company that reflects their aspirations of how they envision the world.
Group Black strives to be the largest ecosystem of state-of-the-art Black-owned media brands, plugging them into brand dollars. The company connects the dots in several ways:
- By scaling the investment of media dollars to Black-owned media platforms and diverse content creators
- Connecting and investing in smaller black-owned media companies by providing resources, access to strategic partners, and “technologies at the forefront of innovation.”
- They are providing smaller companies with the industry expertise needed to address the business knowledge gap.
Group Black is about being Black-owned but not only Black targeted. And they’re getting there by thinking outside of the box.
Group Black’s Diversified Ad Offering
Media – advertisers can choose from various properties and ad units, including standard display ads, video, and audio.
Content Creators – Group Black has a creator community of over 1100 creators. They work with several communities to assist with connecting creators to brands that work best with their audiences.
IRL Experiences – Group Black partners with its member companies to collaborate on producing top-notch exclusive opportunities and events for brands.
With the end of third-party cookies approaching amongst other industry shifts like changing consumer consumption habits, being creative and taking a more diverse approach is key. Now, more than ever, it’s time for pubs to think about how they will diversify their revenue offerings and brands to think about how they will diversify their ad dollars during such a time of upheaval in the ad tech industry.
Pubs should seek to create programs that are compelling, integrated across platforms and that can scale.
As Cooper said: “This is not about incrementally, this is about transformation.”