Ownership marketing: are more small & medium businesses describing themselves “minority-owned”?

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Produced 2020 | 1 Season | 10 Episodes | Articles


Ownership marketing: are more small & medium businesses describing themselves "minority-owned"?

This past year has been one of constant change for businesses. Hit hard by a global pandemic and a social climate that cries for fairness and equality, many have reimagined and remarketed themselves in very specific ways, especially small and medium-sized business.

If social media is any indication, it seems that more and more owners are linking their race, gender or sexual orientation to their businesses in the hopes of celebrating their ventures, shining a light on minorities and garnering support. So, the question remains: are there really more small and medium businesses describing themselves as “black-owned”, “woman-owned”, and more? 

To try and answer this question, we analyzed data from our social media monitoring and insights platform, Sprinklr, from January 1st 2020 until now. The numbers show a definite increase in the mention of ownership terms over time that seems to correspond with the rise of the Black Lives Matter Protests. 

In fact, the terms are averaging a little over 30K mentions a week, which is roughly 4 times higher than they did before the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter movement. Prior these 2020 events, the race or sexual orientation of the ownership of a business was still being used, but it never averaged more than 10K mentions a week – usually between 7 to 8K. 

However, during the protests, ownership of businesses swept over social media with video and photo posts that peaked at over 690,000 mentions in the first week of June. The preferred platform was Twitter with 82.5% of all mentions and the prevalence of hashtags centered on promoting “minority-owned” businesses. 

A quick overview shows that the most popular and most viral posts were those containing threads, “signal boosters” and calls to action with hashtags like #blacklivesmatter, #blackownedbusiness and #blackowned. 

In line with these numbers, it’s interesting to point out that of the 20 most popular hashtags during this period, 15 of them directly referenced black-owned businesses. This has undoubtably helped them grow their following and gain notoriety, but on the other hand, it also meant that other minorities weren’t getting the same visibility out of this trend. 

And the same happens when looking at the new volume trend. The most recent peaks in mentions belong are centered around woman-owned businesses with only the latest spike featuring a mix of “woman-owned” and “asian-owned”. This shows that while “minorities” are being highlighted more and more, some still have a long way to go in order to break into the mainstream. 

Regardless, US, UK and Canada stand out as the countries that recorded the more mentions with men and women participating almost equally in the conversation. And even if the use of the terms dropped heavily by the end of June, this remained an important topic of conversation throughout the summer of 2020. 

In addition, the data does indicate that there were – and still are – consistent spikes over specific periods throughout the year as people promote or talk about them. For example, prior to the George Floyd protests, the data shows a peak for terms like “woman-owned”, which was largely due to Woman’s History month (March 2020). 

It’s safe to say that when it comes to identifying the ownership of businesses, race, gender and sexual orientation have become important and play a role in how consumers feel towards brands and businesses in general. Certainly, they have now become more visible and talked about than before.

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