Inclusivity, a Necessity

The combined population of the African-American, Latino and Asian communities in the U.S. today is about 130 million or nearly half the entire population. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that by the middle of this year, kids who are nonwhite will collectively outnumber white children and that the U.S. will become minority white in 2045. But should all this really matter to marketers?

There’s an ongoing debate among marketers about the state of multicultural marketing. Some say that multicultural marketing is dead because of the many different minority populations. Others argue that it’s more important than ever. In some aspects, both sides are correct.

Early Adopters

National restaurant chain Denny’s already started targeting young multicultural diners with its “See You at Denny’s” ad campaign. Its Chief Brand Officer, John Dillon, said that as a family brand, they felt it important to “speak to the cultural nuances” of different  audiences as well as to share what Denny’s stood for.

Consider Procter & Gamble. One of the reasons the consumer product giant has not only survived but thrived over its 182-year history is because of its adaptability and flexibility. Last year, they reported more than $68 billion in revenue. In speaking last fall to the Association of National Advertisers’ Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, revealed that the company set new highs in its market share of African American and Hispanic audiences.

Looking Ahead

What will need to change is the realization and acknowledgement that these audiences are different and that communications will have to be tailored for each. A recent study by Adobe revealed a huge failure of today’s brands in reaching minorities. Only 10% of Latinos and 26% of African-Americans believe they’re being represented in today’s ads, compared to three out of four whites.

To market to the changing demographic, one size will no longer fit all. Marketers will need to recognize that a blanket approach won’t work for everything. It may still work for brands everyone needs and desires but can differ after that.

A study by Kantar Consulting found that 62% of Hispanic young consumers are becoming more interested in speaking Spanish. 57% of all Hispanics surveyed also felt that the Spanish language is more important today than it was five years ago. 92% said it was important to them that they retain their culture.

The results of the Kantar study reveal an important thing for marketers. To reach this growing market, marketers need to seriously consider Hispanic talent, not just in ads but also for guidance on themes and emotions that will help make the connection with that community.

Other considerations for marketers looking to serve communities of color include joining multicultural marketing and public relations groups. Many offer tailored courses that can deliver invaluable insights and perspectives.

Check out and learn more about cross-cultural and poly-cultural marketing, as they are becoming more important, too. Consider forming different customer advisory committees of different ethnic groups that can provide deep insight and advice for marketing efforts. Minority communities having a sense of voice and ownership could also add credibility to a brand seeking to expand its audience.

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