While the industry has made improvements in DE&I, diverse audiences are still highly underrepresented. Given the diversity of its own customer base and its massive reach, scale, and influence. Walmart is uniquely positioned to help right-size this imbalance. Therefore, Walmart created Black & Unlimited create a sustainable platform celebrating Black identities while unlocking limitless potential. To bring this to life, Walmart needed a media partner with the credibility and capacity to cultivate talent and a track record in producing inspiring content.
Recognizing the systematic challenges within the creator economy—where support for Black creators significantly differs from their White counterparts—Walmart’s ambition was to promote inclusivity by fostering diversity in front of and behind the camera. This incubator experience committed to empowering and enriching Black talent, therefore creating a more equitable landscape for content creation where diverse voices and perspectives are celebrated and supported, running across multiple platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube for each respective creator.
To address this cause, Walmart partnered with Issa Rae’s media production company, HOORAE. With their digital origins and emphasis on expanding the influence of many creators, Walmart was confident in HOORAE’s ability to meaningfully support creators across a variety of storytelling opportunities. Together, they launched the Black & Unlimited Digital Development (BUDD) Program.
Music is also a passion point of this audience, so Walmart expanded their partnership to support Black music artists by leveraging Raedio, HOORAE’s music property. They produced custom tracks for BUDD creators to integrate into their videos, which were available for public use.
Most importantly, this wasn’t a one-off initiative. By integrating BUDD creators into major projects, such as videos for Walmart’s Holiday campaign, Walmart continues to drive positive impact to support more equitability in the marketplace.
Walmart needed to close the gap in resources and training. To help elevate their content, Walmart & HOORAE created BUDD Courses. They worked with leading influencers and content producers to create master classes on everything from editing tips, camera setup, and honing their voice.
The joined forces needed to assemble a cohort. Walmart & HOORAE selected a creator talent group that best embodied Black & Unlimited, equipping them with the resources to elevate their craft and bring Black storytelling to another level. The creators were selected with a skew toward 18-34 (Walmart’s core demo). BUDD participants received equipment, monthly stipends & mentorship from seasoned industry vets. Through brand challenges, the BUDD creators put their new skills to work and showcased the multifaceted elements of Black creativity. Additionally, the program had paid social & paid YT buys targeted to this audience to amplify the content further beyond just organic posting.
Walmart’s Black & Unlimited program exceeded expectations. By bringing the right partners together and providing support and education to BUDD creators, this initiative produced 300+ pieces of content, generated nearly half a billion impressions and tripled social sentiment in just two months. It also leveraged BET to produce docu-style content on the program overall and spotlights on each of the creators.
Most importantly, this resulted in the increased growth and visibility of Black creators. Throughout the program, these talented individuals saw a collective 30% increase in followers and 135% increase in engagement.
The Walmart and HOORAE partnership served as a tangible testament to the transformative power of collaboration. By joining forces, these brands were able to raise the bar for the communities they served, leaving a lasting impact on both the creators involved and the audience they reached. The success of this partnership showcased the potential when brands unite with a shared vision, fostering growth, empowerment, and positive change in the communities they impact.