How consumers choose to identify is changing, breaking away from conventions historically used to categorize and hypothesize about who people are and how they live their lives. Yet, traditional constructs aren’t keeping pace with the evolution of identity and leaves no room for the grey areas an increasing number of consumers choose to live in.
Companies en masse stepped up in 2020 decrying racism in America. But have those public declarations resulted in systemic changes in their diversity and inclusion practices, and how are consumers responding to those changes? To answer that question, ThinkNow conducted a nationally representative survey of Americans to understand the impact of companies that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion and how consumers voice their approval or disapproval of those companies with their wallets.
At this point, the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion is a no-brainer. Not only is it a moral obligation, but research suggests maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce improves business outcomes and financial performance. So, essentially, implementing DEI initiatives within your organization is common sense and just makes cents, right? Yet, many firms fail to look at how DEI supports the overall business strategy.
The symbiotic relationship between data and storytelling has emerged as a powerful tool for diversity and inclusion initiatives within companies. Post-2020, organizations are now prioritizing D&I under mounting pressure from employees and other stakeholders demanding representation within the workplace, product and service offerings, and marketing and advertising. Storytelling is the catalyst for change. It creates intentional moments of intimacy that enable people to learn more about one another and appreciate similarities and differences.
Customer expectations are much higher in 2021. Today’s empowered consumers know who they are, expect brands to understand their needs, and use their social currency to influence perception in favor of or against brands. Enlightened brands listen, build intelligence, and use those insights to make products more attractive to buyers. Product Managers play a vital role in bringing new products to market. They work with R&D to develop the product and create strategy and oversee the tactical execution of that strategy.
It’s Pride Month! Every year, in June, LGBTQIA+ communities worldwide celebrate the freedom to be authentically and unapologetically who they are. City streets erupt in festive expressions of Pride as enthusiastic, and often costumed patrons attend parades, concerts, and festivals decorated with brightly colored rainbow flags, streamers, and confetti. But the celebration doesn’t just bring people together for a good party. Instead, it shines a light on an underrepresented community, like other minority groups, who have struggled to be seen, heard, and included for generations.
Miami is quickly becoming the next Silicon Valley. Fueled by the tech explosion permeating South America and corporate America’s waning interest in settling out west, Miami has become a bustling hub for upwardly mobile Hispanics. Tech companies looking to put down roots in the coastal city are either looking to secure tech talent or are scouting locations to set up shop, or both. The result, an empowered Hispanic base with the disposable income to buy what they want and need to support multigenerational households or, in some cases, extended family in their countries of origin.
At the height of the pandemic, focus group facilities were primarily silenced, accelerating the shift from in-person to online qualitative studies. For agencies, this shift happened at a critical time for brands as COVID-19 and racial injustice cases spiked. The need to get a pulse on consumer sentiment was palpable as companies found themselves navigating the pandemic while showing solidarity for social justice issues.
Latino consumers continue to outpace the general market in technology use. This trend is driven primarily by the youth of this demographic. Nearly six in ten Hispanics are Millennials or younger, and Gen Z is the first majority-minority generation. These generations are digital natives and thrive on the mobile experience, which impacts how they interact with e-commerce, social media, and entertainment. More specifically, Hispanics over-index on e-commerce, especially among Hispanic Millennials, many of whom are bilingual, living in multigenerational households. They act as “digital sherpas,” interpreting the purchase experience for Spanish-dominant loved ones.
While Latinos over-index on using certain technologies, such as smartphones and social media, broad adoption of video conferencing apps and other online platforms being used to accommodate the shift from in-person to online qualitative research is not as prevalent. Over the last few months, market researchers have been tasked with helping multicultural consumers understand these tools so they can share their thoughts and opinions in qualitative studies. However, the technology being used to administer online qualitative research is often designed for the moderator’s comfort, not the respondents. For multicultural consumers, especially Hispanics who prefer face-to-face interactions, this presents a challenge.