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South Florida Caribbean News: More evidence emerges about value of African-American market

NEW JERSEY – Veteran journalist and communications strategist Andria Hall, wants Caribbean tourism stakeholders to take another serious look at the African American market.

Responding to a recent study on the purchasing power of affluent African Americans, Hall, who regularly travels throughout the Caribbean conducting workshops, crisis communications training and delivering keynote addresses, said smart communications ought to be employed by Caribbean nations and the private sector to court individuals of prominence and influence in this market segment.

“If you want a fulfilling and beneficial relationship it requires an active courtship and a long term commitment – one that focuses on mutual appreciation and respect,” said Hall, the president of the New Jersey-based public presentation firm SpeakEasy M.E.D.I.A., Inc.

UPTOWN Magazine, a luxury lifestyle company targeting the growing affluent African American market, and Diversity Affluence, a marketing research and consulting company specializing in affluent ethnic markets, reports that Affluent African Americans (AAAs) are an educated, sizable and often untapped opportunity for luxury brands.

Results of their survey show:

· Purchasing Power of AAAs in the US (individual income of US $100K) is estimated at US $29.8 billion.

· AAAs conduct extensive research on luxury items prior to purchase.

· Decisions influencing purchase include tailored advertising, personalized service and event marketing at the retail level.

· AAAs are aspirational and focused on trading up to more luxurious brands.

· Fashion is an expected luxury and is equally important to both men and women.

· Men’s fashion spending was focused on career wear, casual wear and shoes; while women spent on purses and shoes.

The research on the behaviors, attitudes, opinions and spending patterns of affluent African Americans, aims to arm marketers with data and insight to help them more effectively target this growing audience.

“This study proves that the African American market can, if seriously targeted, deliver substantially more revenues to destinations, resorts and communities. The Caribbean region is a natural fit for the vacation and travel preferences of this market segment,” said Hall, who recently launched her third book: The Walk to Wealth: Seven Guiding Principles to Prosperity (SpeakEasy MEDIA Publishing).

“African Americans,” Hall continued, “define prosperity and wealth in ways that go beyond the traditional dollars and cents. Many translate wealth to mean viable time away from the homestead and time spent in places like the Caribbean where they can experience the natural resources that are intangible and more valuable than the money spent to get there. In other words, many will pay for peace of mind.”

“What was once considered luxury has now become necessity,” said Andrea Hoffman, CEO of Diversity Affluence.

African American Andria Hall, whose father was a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and marched alongside the late civil rights leader, congratulated the Barbados government for its vision to invite Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his family to the island after the US November presidential elections regardless of the outcome.

“This is a cost effective way to promote a brand, while delivering an authentic experience and warm hospitality,” said Hall, who has no doubt that the Obamas would spread the Barbados gospel were they to visit the island.

Agreeing with a recent column in the New York Amsterdam News, a historic Black newspaper, Hall continued, “The Barbados invitation represents the kind of public relations offensive that the Caribbean should mount, both during buoyant and challenging economic times. Recognizing this market niche imbues confidence in the African American base and will earn loyalty in both the short and long term.”

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