8 Keys to Multicultural Marketing in 2019

By Leslie Wood, Chief Research Officer, NCS

Recently, I was invited by Jake Beniflah, Executive Director of the Center for Multicultural Science,  to sit on a panel discussion about multicultural marketing. This topic has always been of high interest and importance to me. It was a great opportunity to gather new insights and share some of what we’ve learned over the years.

One of the most important parts of the discussion was: multicultural is finally mainstream. Today, culture and ethnicity aren’t afterthoughts – they are some of the most important factors in advertising success.

That notion rings true when considering the current landscape, even beyond advertising. In 2019, ethnicity is a top-of-mind concern. Pretty much everyone now is sensitive to stereotypes and misrepresentations. And that is likely to grow given population trends. The U.S. Census forecasts that by 2044, the U.S. will have a multicultural majority with 50 percent or more representing either Hispanic or African-American backgrounds. During the discussion, largely centered around this new report, a few key conversations rose to the top.

  • Most Americans are descended from immigrants.

    It doesn’t matter if you were born in the U.S. or not. If you were born here, you ask yourself which generation – first, second or third? That’s the gist of the multicultural research from Jake Beniflah, executive director of the Center for Multicultural Science. Most Hispanics born in the U.S. tend to be younger. A 2016 Pew report found nearly half of U.S.-born Hispanics were under 18.

  • Who’s watching TV among all Hispanics.

    Age differences become clear when you look at the TV audience. Six of the top 10 TV networks are Spanish language. When you get to first generation it’s three of the top ten, second generation, it’s one or two of the top 10 on TV. The IPG report found more than half of first generation Hispanics say they speak Spanish or more Spanish than English at home whereas the opposite is true for the second and third generation.

  • Multicultural is mainstream.

    It’s diverse. But there are language and cultural issues.The IPG report found that 45 percent of the general population agrees with the notion that “advertising is made for me if it reflects my cultural values.”

  • Where you go for something in Spanish is going to be culturally driven.

    Another speaker on the panel noted that if you are Hispanic you watch soccer in Spanish but most of your TV in English. People are truly bilingual. Many view advertising as being made for them if it’s in Spanish.

Based on thousands of studies of real CPG campaigns, the NCS team has also learned a lot about how ethnicity can impact advertising response. We offer you these items to consider when creating a multicultural marketing campaign.

  • It’s important to understand how ethnicity impacts advertising success.

    The less assimilated you are, the more responsive you are to advertising. For such consumers, advertising becomes a beacon for how to be more American and how to be more like the dominant culture. There’s a much stronger sales response to advertising among households of recently emigrated consumers.

  • Look at what people buy.

    You can sometimes tell if a household is Cuban, Brazilian, Mexican, African-American or another culture based on the food, beauty or other household products they buy. As you can imagine, cuisine can be connected to a specific culture. By understanding a household’s culture and ethnicity you can become better at delivering the right advertising.

  • When a brand has a strong cultural connection, the value of the culture being featured in the ad is tremendous.

    It doesn’t bristle the general population. Look at Bustelo in coffee or Corona in beer. When there is a Hispanic flavor to the ad, they get such a stronger response to the advertising. That’s true even among non-Hispanics.

  • Resonance.

    Can you target or find Hispanics in other media or do you have to go to Spanish-language media? We actually think you don’t. Especially if you are seeking to reach younger consumers. For example, if you run ads only on Spanish-language media, you are more likely to reach an older immigrant consumer.

If you would like to learn more about how the R&D team at NCS can help you consider culture in your next advertising campaign, reach out. We would love to hear from you.  

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