Tag Archives: marketing

“Paying to Take Care Of Self”

Black women play a critical and influential role in driving consumer spending.

In many instances, Black women are the Chief Executive Officer of their household, with the responsibility for managing financial risks, planning, and record keeping.  Her children and family are the core of daily life, though she sometimes feels tired, frustrated and overwhelmed.

She is confident, strong and accomplished.  As the CEO and “money manager,” Black women have much to juggle between family, career and life’s daily demands.  These demands leave her limited time and resources.  This makes it challenging for Black women to have personal celebratory indulgent moments. Perhaps it is a workplace requirement, but Black women have figured out how to turn grooming into affordable indulgences — little luxuries.  These “little luxuries” are not selfish indulgences; instead they are moments of relaxation that make her feel good. 

Chief among these “little luxuries” are hair and nails.

According to the market research specialists at Mintel, Black women spend approximately $500 billion, (yes, BILLION!!) on hair care annually. To put that figure into perspective, that’s about 5 times larger than the gross domestic product of Puerto Rico. In fact, Black women spend more money on hair care than any other group.

These indulgences are not just about making herself beautiful.

She, perhaps more importantly, is paying someone to perform a service — an empowering indulgent reward whose end product is making her look and feel better. 

She pays someone to “do her hair.”

She pays someone to “do her nails.”  

When you see her, you recognize that she “paid to take care of self.”  I love that term.  My friend and colleague, Carol Sagers coined it.  “Getting your hair or nails done in a salon or spa is a luxury;  doing them yourself is grooming.”

Sagers is a dynamic leader with a track record of creating innovative marketing strategies that grow brands and businesses.

In my professional career, I have consistently made having a conversation with Black women integral to every strategy targeting the Black Consumer Market.  It is a guiding principle, one that all markets should pay attention to.

Links to some of my other blog posts about Black women and what motivates their consumer behavior are listed below.

Miss Recessionsita


African-American Women Offer Unparalleled Opportunities for Brands


The Role of Lipstick in a Depressed Economy


The Black Mom and The Barber Shop





This is Me. I am Black. And I am Proud.

Young stylish black man in sepia

A recent report shows that Blacks want companies to recognize their unique culture.
The overwhelming majority of those surveyed, 87%, feel ethnic recognition is important compared to 59% of the general population.
Seventy-three percent of African-American adults 18-54 years old stated that cultural/ethnic heritage is a critical part of their cultural identity.

Click below to read more —


The African-American Woman Offers Unparalleled Opportunities for Brands

IMG_4004Check out this link from Nielsen to gain insight as to why a conversation with “her” is essential…and makes very good business sense






The Intimacy Between McDonald’s and the African-American Community


There is an intimacy that exists between the African-American Community and McDonald’s that is quite remarkable and noteworthy.

It is a relationship that, from a pure marketing perspective, is unprecedented and compelling.

While food is always central to the conversation, this conversation also includes community, heritage, cultural pride, accessibility, acceptance and optimism.

It isn’t captured in a commercial, though there were times when McDonald’s nailed the “essence of the special relationship” in that format.

It is an unspoken “nod” that says,

“We’re a part of your family…your community – we’ve always been in your community – and like any good friend, we’re always here for you”.

Yes, there is a special intimacy that this brand has with African-Americans (and Latinos) that is bigger than the products it sells.

Authentic is always “in”…especially in times of crisis.


From the Rodney King riots in 1992 to the upheaval and unrest in Ferguson today, McDonald’s proves that it does more than sell good food.




“In the wasted landscape of South Central LA, everything had been destroyed. Everything except for five buildings. In the post-apocalyptic aftermath, surrounded by smoldering ruins and debris, there were five buildings which had been untouched. Not a broken window. Not a slash of spray paint.  All flooded in their usual operable fluoro lights.

These five buildings all had one thing in common. They were all McDonalds.”

‘When the smoke cleared after the mobs burned through South Central Los Angeles in April, hundreds of businesses, many of them black owned, had been destroyed. Yet not a single McDonald’s restaurant had been torched.’

Click here to read Chuck Ebeling’s full blog post, Rodney King Death Today Reminds of a Positive Lesson From LA Riots




“…McDonald’s, typically framed with large windows, also serves as an ideal safe zone amid heavy-handed police crackdowns, said Mitchell.

“It’s a fairly comfortable place, it’s a place they’re familiar with, lots of people go there and, in a different way, it’s a place that’s easily surveyed,” he said. “It’s a safe place, it’s so much in the public eye.”

It’s a little hard to tell whether we should be glad that McDonald’s is serving a useful public cause, or utterly depressed that traditional meeting places like libraries and local sandwich shops have been replaced by a corporate behemoths like McDonald’s and Starbucks.

(Click here to read the full HuffPost article, “How One McDonald’s Became The Epicenter Of The Ferguson Conflict“)


In full disclosure, I am a McDonald’s supplier.

I have worked for McDonald’s local Co-Ops specializing in the areas of African-American and Ethnic Marketing.  The experience has afforded me the opportunity to view the brand up close and personal for thirty uninterrupted years. At the core of what differentiates McDonald’s is the Owner/Operator – men and women who do more than sell food. In many instances, they are active and visible participants in the communities where they do business.  They act as parents, advisers, counselors and active supporters of their communities.