What black owned businesses can do to gain support from the community without resulting in emotional blackmail.
How many times have we heard ‘Black people don’t support each other’, or the age old comment ‘we are crabs in a barrel’. Of course, you will get people who are envious and disenchanted by the success of their peers, but overall the black community are staunch supporters of their own people and loudly cheer on those of us who are running businesses with our community’s interests at heart.
Lately there have been posts on social media about black owned businesses not doing well, and the underlying narrative is that the main cause of their failure is because black people particularly, have not been regular or willing customers. But any business knows that in order to survive there must be a demand for the product or service and a strategy around Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising to ensure you reach your target audience. How many of us were aware that these businesses existed before seeing a campaign to save it?
As a community we generally do not support out of guilt or false obligation. It would be impossible for many businesses in the diaspora to survive without regular custom from a diverse clientele, but the initial support and promotion of any enterprise will undoubtedly come from friends and family proudly spreading the word, these are the people who should also be your first group of loyal customers as long as you continue to provide a high level of service.
When we put the blame in the hands of the community we are not encouraging their custom. Instead of soliciting support out of pride and loyalty, we are bullying our people into parting with their money because of a false sense of sympathy. Ironically in most of the cases I’ve seen the businesses in question could’ve taken some simple steps to help themselves to gain attention and garner continuous support from black people, and those who love our culture, far and wide.
Employing a Black owned Digital Marketing company should be at the top of that list. A short consultation could leave you with the tools needed to move forward proactively with an aim to raise your profile and improve your public relations within the black community.
For a small investment you should ideally learn how to utilise social media targeting black consumers, build a list of current and potential clientele and put a few strategies in place which will help to save the business before it’s too late. Also supporting your fellow black owned publications, online and offline, by purchasing advertising slots is a great way to improve your visibility. Some of these ad slots can be negotiated to include a small article or feature in the publication and mentions across their social media channels. Depending on the publication’s following, one post or retweet on twitter could reach in excess of 20k – 100k people.
That one simple method does two things. Being that the recent campaigns have been for retail based companies, It give the business owners the knowledge needed to build customers online and it also shows that the support you are expecting from the community has been reciprocated by employing a black owned business to help you strategise. You can’t make a video bemoaning your main customer base or shouting ‘black people don’t support each other’ if you as a business owner has not displayed that same support for your peers.
Hopefully we will see an end to the complaints and more focus on building a team of highly trained black owned businesses which all help each other stay afloat.
What are your thoughts on how best to support black-owned businesses? Comment bellow
CONNECT WITH Tyrell Miles-Brown
Tyrell Miles-Brown is one half of Merité Media, a new digital marketing & publishing company based in the UK. After graduating with a Law degree in 2016, Tyrell came back to London to help with the family business. Mother Marianne Miles had created a brand as a PR Consultant with Merité PR and together they are focused on expanding the company by providing digital marketing & PR services in the UK & Caribbean as well as creating online platforms dedicated to celebrating Caribbean Culture, Fashion and shaping future black billionaires worldwide. Check out the Merité Media for further developments and launch dates for each platform.