For many of us, our ideals and attitudes about who we are as individuals are shaped by our heritage and cultural experiences. As consumers, our affinity for certain brands pass through these filters resulting in purchase behaviors that tie back to our beliefs and how we see ourselves. Among multicultural audiences, this presents a unique challenge for marketers. There is no one size fits all solution to gaining buy-in from this diverse group. U.S. Hispanics hail from over 20 countries of origin, and Asian Americans, 40 countries. Understanding the importance of identity to multicultural audiences is essential to mitigating cultural bias in your marketing campaign strategy and delivering culturally relevant advertising.
Multicultural audiences are significantly driving mainstream identity and influencing emerging trends. According to UM’s Annual Cultural Dimension study, two out of five general population consumers indicate being influenced by Latino, Black, and Asian segments when it comes to passion points like music, fashion, hair care, food, sports, and more. As consumer behavior shifts in response to cultural identity and increased exposure to cultural norms via the internet and social media, brands work overtime to cultivate relationships steeped in the remix culture, which is primarily defined by a mindset, not the consumer. This paradigm shift is changing the fabric of what we know today as American culture.
America is often described as a “melting pot” of different nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures. Much to the dismay of Teddy Roosevelt (who in a 1916 speech noted “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism”), Americans have perfected naming each ethnic group within our borders distinctly, and those names have evolved. For example, we dove into the names by which Hispanics prefer to identify. Responses ranged from “Latino/Latina” to country of origin, to the hotly debated yet emerging term “Latinx.” We see a similar pattern among Black Americans, who do not identify with labels such as “African American” despite its use in the U.S. Census, media, and other databases.
From grocery stores to airline flights, America’s debate over wearing face masks is playing out on small and large screens globally. What was once seen as a medical imperative has become politicized. Some see mask mandates as an infringement on their constitutional rights, and others, a patriotic duty. According to our research, however, most Americans have this collective request, “wear a damn mask.” ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey among American adults ages 18 to 64 to get their perspective on COVID-19 and wearing face coverings.
Many of us have heard or perhaps even live by the familiar adage, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” But ignorance is not bliss. A lack of knowledge can be devastating. That’s true in life and advertising. Just like a moth drawn to a flame, brands are attracted to things they don’t fully understand. This “fatal attraction” often results in poor outcomes. A classic example of this is a botched approach to multicultural marketing. Culturally tone-deaf advertisements. Misplaced investments in well-meaning social impact campaigns.
Multicultural consumers are poised to become the majority in the next twenty years. One of the largest demographics in the multicultural ecosystem is U.S. Hispanics, who account for about half the population growth in the country. With slowing immigration, most of that growth is supported by U.S. births. The burgeoning numbers are driving a 1.2 trillion dollar Hispanic/Latino consumer market, making them an attractive target for companies and brands. Traditionally, brands market to U.S. Hispanics with ads translated into Spanish and distributed through Spanish speaking mediums.
From search to content consumption, purchase to advocacy, Hispanic consumers take a unique collective approach to e-commerce. The ethos of this collectivist culture greatly influences brand experience and purchasing behavior. Hispanic consumers conduct searches to assist spouses, friends and family members, both inside and outside their household. Marketers and advertisers need to learn how to better engage the “digital Sherpas” within Hispanic communities. To guide us, Maria Twena, Global Head of Consumer X at 9th Wonder Agency, returns to the New Mainstream podcast to discuss new research conducted by ThinkNow and 9th Wonder Agency on the dynamics of Latinx purchase behavior, including their online shopping habits – from the digital touchpoints they choose to the products they buy and their collective spend – and what it takes to facilitate brand fandom.
Financial literacy among U.S. Hispanics is lower, on average, than the general population. Numerous factors are contributing to the gap, such as youth, language barriers, lower income, and fewer assets. As a consequence, many Hispanics have a limited understanding of personal finance and how to build wealth, especially among Spanish dominant consumers. In this week’s episode of The New Mainstream podcast, we sit down with Francisco Javier Arceo, Founder and CEO of Unidos, to discuss financial literacy in Latino communities and how technology can make personal finance simple and accessible to Hispanic consumers.
According to IBISWorld, automobile insurance is a $300 billion industry in the United States with growth surpassing that of the national economy. Despite the rise of the sharing economy and sentiment shifting to eco friendlier ways of travel, the vast majority of consumers are still purchasing cars and auto insurance to cover them. To better understand how consumers purchase auto insurance, we surveyed a representative sample of 2,485 auto insurance customers and decision makers to uncover expectations of their auto insurance providers and what matters most to them when choosing an insurance provider.
It’s common for many of us to feel as if we have no biases. To make that assumption, however, would be woefully incorrect and naive. The hard truth is that we are human, and our cultural biases make their way into every aspect of our lives, including our work. If you’re doing market research, that’s a bitter pill to swallow. We like to think of ourselves as some of the least biased people in business. We are more aware of consumer behaviors and the psychological implications of marketing messages. Nonetheless, unconscious bias often creeps into our research design. It’s not all doom and gloom, though.