Hennessy Is an Expert in Marketing to Black Audiences

    Courtesy of Hennessy USA

    The black demographic is extremely influential. Many young black individuals are early adopters of pop culture and new media. These people consume more online content and are more receptive to social media advertising.

    While email advertising is more effective in gaining customers than Facebook or Twitter (approximately 40 times better), social media marketing is still influential, especially to black audiences.

    Marketing specifically to black Americans is a lucrative endeavor. By the end of this year, the demographic’s buying power is projected to reach $1.2 trillion, according to a study by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. At the current rate, that number will reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.

    Despite the markets to be tapped into, few brands have authentically invested in minority audiences. One brand in particular, however, has almost exclusively, and organically, targeted black and latin communities: Möet Hennessy USA.

    Cognac, a twice distilled, French oak-aged brandy, named for the region of France it hails from, is extremely popular in African American culture. Hip hop references dating back to Busta Rhymes’ “Pass the Courvoisier,” as well as Nas’s hefty endorsement of Hennessy USA make it appear that cognac consumption among black Americans is a relatively new phenomenon.

    Surprisingly, cognac’s popularity among the community dates back to World War II, when African American soldiers were traveling around France. After the war, Hennessy, which is headquartered in Cognac, France, began advertising in black publications, specifically Ebony and Jet magazines, using black models.

    With a large demographic of older, black cognac consumers, the spirit relies on pop culture references to target younger drinkers. Musical references, like in 2Pac’s song “Hennessy,” as well as even more recent name-drops, like in Drake’s “One Dance” (“That’s why I need a one dance//Got a Hennessy in my hand”), help keep the brand’s image circulating, without physically targeting black neighborhoods.

    In 2015, Hennessy named Nas, the legendary American hip hop recording artist, as a brand ambassador, in honor of the brand’s 250th anniversary.

    Hennessy has learned over the course of its existence to be transparent and authentic with its audience, by not only using black models, but also employing minorities. In order for other companies to target minority consumers, they need to stop using force and take a tip from Hennessy’s marketing practices.