Have you ever visited a business with a friend, whether it was a restaurant, bar or retail store, and you felt it was necessary to let the connection established with that business be known? Maybe you knew the owner, maybe you built a strong relationship with the owner, maybe they sponsored an event that you attended. Regardless of how and why you stress this connection it is important to realize how fundamental these bonds are to building thriving communities.
In our increasingly digital culture, social media platforms have occupied center stage in appealing to consumers, especially millennials. Furthermore, polling data demonstrates that African American use social media outlets like YouTube and Facebook at rates which greatly exceed that of their white counterparts. According to the analytics firm NewMediaMetrics “blacks are more socially networked and are greater users of mobile videos and texting on small and large mobile devices.” The opportunities for connecting with consumers are abundant in this domain.
Closely connected with this heavy usage of social media is an activist community that imparts new cultural values and agendas which often influence developments in the business marketplace. The recent actions launched against major retailers coinciding with Black Friday sales offers a perfect example of this phenomenon. In addition to drawing awareness to grave injustices in the black community this campaign highlighted just how indispensable black spending power is to the economic status quo. In this respect, it cannot be counted coincidental that black-owned businesses were seen as viable alternatives.
Spendefy and its appeal to #SpendDifferent is a largely a response to this mix of societal crisis and commercial interests. While black-owned businesses haven’t been prominently featured as advocates on behalf of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to name the most popular movement, it is obvious that in the near future businesses will be expected to stake a position on these matters. Likewise, the commercial benefits of increasing the circulation of the black dollar, which currently stands at 0-1 times, can easily translate into the political power currently desired by those on the front-lines of these social justice movements.
However one chooses to solidify the bond between consumers and businesses, one thing is clear: the traditional routes of billboards and television are inadequate if not accompanied by a thoroughgoing campaign infused with a social mission and aware of the power of social media as a medium to overturn conventions.