Since the onset of COVID-19, global communities have been rallying around one another in solidarity, giving marketers a unique window into the cultural nuances reshaping consumer behavior. As brands peer into the looking glass of the next normal, much of the context for their brand strategy will be dictated by these cultural connections and new patterns in consumer behavior. This week, Dr. Jake Beniflah, Executive Director of the Center for Multicultural Science, stops by The New Mainstream podcast to discuss the influence of cultural DNA on brand strategy, recession marketing, and the future of brand loyalty during the pandemic. ·
The past several weeks has been one of the most difficult in American history. At the hands of white police officers, an unarmed black man, George Floyd, joined a growing list of black men and women killed by those sworn to protect and serve our communities. Protests erupted across all 50 states and in over 18 countries, calling for an end to systemic racism and justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, many others who have prematurely lost their lives due to racial injustice. In response, many companies and brands have expressed solidarity for the #BlackLivesMatter movement across social media.
Many factors come into play when choosing a market research vendor. Some of the most common are methodological expertise, pricing, and, most importantly, data quality. However, when a multicultural research need comes up, rarely do corporate researchers vet their vendor’s multicultural expertise. So, should it be a prerequisite for getting the job? Absolutely, and here’s why.
In the wake of global protests denouncing police brutality and racial inequality, many companies have issued statements of solidarity and are actively pledging to work towards building more inclusive workspaces. But often, diversity and inclusion are reduced to hiring and recruiting metrics, and not considered in the broader context of culture, product development, and content creation. This week, we sit down with Ish Verduzco, Diversity Specialist and Strategic Partnerships Lead at Snap Inc, and author of “How Successful People Get Ish Done,” to discuss how diversifying your teams naturally increases engagement of multicultural audiences and has a sizable impact on your bottom line. ·
Multicultural minority groups collectively comprise one-third of the US population. Hispanic and Latino Americans have contributed to this significant demographic shift in the United States. Currently, more than 59 million Hispanics live in the United States. That massive growth is attributed to high rates of immigration and fertility. However, COVID-19 and the associated impact on the global economy and the daily lives of US consumers is still playing itself out. With the speed at which consumer behaviors and environments are changing, companies and brands must be proactive in their preparation for the “new normal.”
So far, 2020 has been one for the record books. A worldwide pandemic and subsequent shelter in place orders are causing sharp spikes in online streaming and mobile search activity as consumers seek ways to stay healthy, entertained, and informed. And in recent weeks, the public outcry against social injustice resounds on the tips of the tongues of protesters, as they hit the streets and take to social media to express their outrage and find community. Taken collectively, these rapid shifts in consumer behavior are fast-tracking digital trends and accelerating the push for digital research methodologies to understand the dynamics driving these behaviors.
Hispanic voter turnout has historically been lower than that of non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans. The reasons for this vary from the relative youth of U.S. Hispanics and inconsistent outreach by political parties to a belief among many Latinos that their votes don’t matter. The COVID-19 crisis, however, may be the catalyst that drives change. Hispanics are being affected by COVID-19 disproportionally, both in terms of infections and loss of income. Upheavals of this magnitude are often followed by increased political activism. The Tea Party movement, for example, was launched by the Great Recession while FDR’s New Deal was born from the Great Depression.
Semiotics -- the study of symbols and their usage in a broader context -- is a major element of effective brand strategy but is often overlooked and underutilized. Marketers tend to analyze consumer behavior at a high level but fail to look at the subconscious forces that influence consumers’ thoughts, feelings, and ultimately purchasing decisions. This week, we speak with Whitney Dunlap-Fowler, semiotics expert, brand strategist and founder of A Touch of Whit Creative, to examine the history of culture, the differences between culture and multiculturalism, and how semiotics can be used by brands to get a more comprehensive narrative of consumer behavior. ·
In early May, we took the temperature of consumers in the U.S. to learn how they view brands that support social causes. In general, corporate engagement in social and environmental causes has a positive impact on consumer perceptions and purchase intent for brands. But, in light of George Floyd’s death and the continued acts of lethal violence against communities of color, we are curious to learn how these dynamics have shifted in the wake of the current racial climate in America. But this research still provides insight into consumer sentiment toward corporate social good overall.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., brands are looking for ways to stay connected to consumers and to understand the impact of the virus on their lives in real-time, especially among multicultural groups who have been hit disproportionately. This week, we sit down with Natasha Pongonis, co-founder of Nativa and CEO of OYE! Business Intelligence, to discuss how social media insights reveal nuances in multicultural conversations, including keywords and geographic sentiments, that brands can use to meet the needs of diverse audiences and stand out with relevant messages during the pandemic.