Can Thrivals Lead the Black Consumer Advertising Evolution?

Trying to Move Beyond Basic Demographics

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Carol Watson Carol Watson
Is the ad targeting a Fly Girl really engaging and reaching your target? Which medium is a must to reach Devouts and which brands resonate with this segment? Just a few of the questions that Starcom Media Group hopes to begin to uncover for marketers starting with the just-released study Beyond Demographics.

One of the highlights of the ANA Conference was the Beyond Demographics presentation by Nat Irvin, founder of Future Focus 2020, who wrote The Arrival of the Thrivals, and Esther Franklin, exec VP-director of cultural identities, SMG Multicultural at Starcom Media Group. The session, which was unfortunately scheduled at the end of the conference after most attendees had departed for flights, presented the most innovative information of the conference for marketers, agencies and media companies targeting African-American consumers.

Beyond Demographics explores the role of identity in connecting with African Americans and the 12 unique consumer segments that comprise the market. Uncovering the medium your target cannot live without and linking the data to syndicated industry research can have a significant impact on media planning and buying and can also have applications in the creative process.

Thrivals, for example, are not only the most dynamic archetype out of the twelve presented but may possibly have the largest impact on general market advertising as they appear to be driven by urban influencers and trendsetters. These are the same consumers who have long been established to drive mass-market popular culture. According to the research, "Thrivals are driven by imagination, self-determination, leadership and legacy allowing them to see themselves as forces capable of shaping the future rather than being shaped by the forces of the future." They actively participate in global economics and politics and are a strong influence on social change. Thriver individuals are typically competitive, critical, savvy and educated and have an outlook that is international and multicultural.

Starcom's intent is to share this new knowledge with the advertising and media marketplace, with the goal of revolutionizing the way our industry views/values the African American community. The opportunity to add this knowledge to the account planning process to sell through more engaging creative and hopefully make the case for more sizable advertising budgets can be significant for participating marketers and their agencies. For media properties the vision is to uncover deeper insights into the strengths of their media property and explore branded content development concepts that will resonate with brands in partnership with one of the largest media investment agencies.

Uncovering research that will support the investment in dollars targeting the African American market is a move towards Thrival thinking. It will be interesting to see who steps up first to get in front of this opportunity.
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