Our publisher speaks out about UPTOWN magazine
BY JOAN VERDON
(Reprinted from NorthJersey.com)
Retailers and marketers need to do a better job of reaching out to a fast-growing demographicâ€”affluent African-Americansâ€”researchers say.
The numbers of affluent African-Americansâ€”defined as individuals with incomes over $75,000 and households with incomes over $150,000â€”have grown dramatically in North Jersey, according to U.S. census figures.
In Bergen County, African-American households with incomes over $200,000 increased 105 percent between 1999 and 2007. For the state of New Jersey, that demographic group increased by 67 percent over the same period.
“This affluent group is definitely under the radar,” said Andrea Hoffman, CEO of Hamburg-based Diversity Affluence, a marketing and research firm that specializes in marketing to affluent ethnic groups.
“They’ve been out there, in executive positions, and they are power brokers and leaders and philanthropists,” she said, but they have been overshadowed by more “one-dimensional” portrayals of affluent blacks, such as hip-hop stars and celebrities.
Diversity Affluence recently conducted a survey of affluent African-Americans to discover which brands do a good job of reaching their demographic. Department store retailer Nordstrom and luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz received high marks, but most companies fell short, Hoffman said.
“What we deduced is that, at the end of the day, a lot of these brands are not doing a great job reaching out, and therefore, there is a huge opportunity out there to market to this group,” Hoffman said.
Diversity Affluence estimates that affluent African-Americans control over $87 billion in purchasing power. The company places them in a larger demographic group it has dubbed “Royaltons”â€”affluent ethnics, including blacks, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans.
Hoffman said the “Royaltons” name, which her company has trademarked, grew out of a brainstorming session to give marketers a name to describe affluent ethnic consumers. “We thought royalty is a small group of affluent, influential people, so we said why don’t we take something from that. It’s derived from the term ‘royalty,’ ” Hoffman said.
Greg McBoat, chief economist for Diversity Affluence, said there are 3.6 million Royaltonsâ€”affluent blacks, Asians and Hispanicsâ€”in the United States, with annual income of $526 billion and purchasing power of $282 billion per year.
Jocelyn Taylor, publisher of UPTOWN magazine, a national publication whose target audience is African-American professionals, prefers the term “Triple A’s”â€”Affluent African-Americans. Since its launch five years ago, UPTOWN has grown from a small, Harlem-based publication into a national magazine with five regional editions and a circulation base of 200,000. Taylor, who grew up in West Orange and now lives in South Orange, said UPTOWN offers its advertisers a comprehensive package of opportunities to reach Triple A’s, from advertising pages to social networking and Web sites to event sponsorships.
Taylor has editorialized in UPTOWN about the need for luxury brands, particularly in the fashion and jewelry industries, to do more to reach affluent blacks.