Multicultural Marketing Is No Longer a Buzzword
The US population is currently the most culturally diverse and technologically advanced consumer base in American history. There are around 60 million Hispanics and African Americans in the US, both representing almost 18 percent of the country’s population and spending power. There are nearly 25 million Asian Americans and 3.5 million Muslim Americans. This is just a small list of the hundreds of various cultures and 350 languages that live within the American population, one of the most diverse populations on the planet.
The multi-cultural consumer is critical to the growth plans of all US industries. According to Nielsen, Hispanic buying power will reach $1.8 trillion by 2021 and African American buying power will be around the same. As marketers, our job is to concierge the relationships from brand and consumer. With a realistic view of the population, marketers can no longer treat multicultural marketing as a subset within their marketing programs. We need to understand that the American consumer is the diverse consumer. Diversity is not a subset or category of marketing strategy that we think about from time to time or for certain target initiatives, it needs to be deeply embedded amongst the constant consideration set in marketing strategy on an ongoing basis.
We’ve seen numbers of unfortunate examples of brands taking missteps that offend various cultures and communities. Tone deafness today is managed primarily via social backlash, with brands understanding quickly and harshly when they’ve caused unrest. The checks and balances of social can be unforgiving, but they give immediate insight into feedback and are a reality of the contemporary communications atmosphere. If you get it wrong, you certainly hear it. If you get it right, you will certainly feel it.
Understanding the audience that we’re speaking to with some fluency and tact is incredibly important when creating strong brand relationships. To do so, it’s important to maintain an openness and willingness to learn and connect with various communities. We need to task ourselves with creating some understanding of our audiences and finding resources and specialised partners to help us guide brand decisions in a way that is compassionate, understanding and authentic to the voice and face of the American population.
The fruits of getting multicultural marketing right are very real. Most importantly, these communities need feel heard, understood and spoken to in a voice that they can understand and relate to. It’s so important as communications professionals to integrate a cultural lens into the work that we do and find partners that we can rely on to help teach us what we don’t know. We need to understand, respect and celebrate that every day, we’re speaking to an eclectic and beautifully diverse mix of backgrounds, languages, cultures and beliefs. This is the true fabric of this country and an essential consideration when communicating to it.
Megan Rokosh, communications expert