Humans, in general, use metaphors to assign meaning to various aspects of our lives. By creating images in our minds, we make sense of the world around us and form associations that guide our behavior. Those associations can be aspirational, pushing us to pursue a certain status, or protective, warning us to steer clear of perceived danger. Understanding those associations is essential for marketers to activate consumer groups and deliver engaging content that meets them where they are. To do this, marketers can look to metaphoric research to analyze deep metaphors shaping the human psyche.
U.S. consumers adjusted their expectations last year as COVID-19, social injustice, and contentious presidential and senatorial races sent the country into a tailspin. Given the unprecedented disruption, the findings of our sixth annual ThinkNow Pulse™ Report, a national survey examining consumer sentiment across key demographics in the U.S., are especially relevant as marketers scramble to get a pulse on the post-pandemic consumer. Fielded in December 2020, Americans report worsened personal finances and a perception of a weakening economy, and the outlook for 2021 didn’t fare much better.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, we began the year full of ambition and resolve because 2020 represented more than a flip of the calendar. In pun worthy comparison, 2020 or “20/20” was supposed to be the year of great vision and clarity. We energized our sales teams with it and redirected our strategic plans. But now, just a month away from year-end, we realize that the clarity we sought didn’t elude us. We clashed with it violently in the streets and on the front lines. The past few months have been some of the most polarizing in recent history. A global pandemic decimated the economy, and the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd sparked a worldwide outcry for social justice.
At 13% of the U.S. population, Black Americans are key drivers of mainstream cultural trends. From music to sports, fashion, and the latest Tik Tok dances, the influence of Black American culture is evident in almost every facet of daily American life. But unlike other multicultural groups, African Americans are often still treated as a monolith by marketers. Faulty sampling methods and inadequate segmentation give marketers an inaccurate view of the Black American experience. And while social justice movements have pushed the needle of change forward for D&I initiatives, the complexities and nuances of Black American subculture are still widely misunderstood.
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.
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.
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.
Forty percent of American consumers are ethnically diverse, yet only five percent of advertising dollars are allocated to environments that are contextually relevant to these audiences.As racial injustice protests accelerate conversations about inclusion marketing, brands must contend with the fact that fielding multicultural data is no longer optional. It is now necessary to create equity with these communities, extending far beyond sales to corporate social responsibility. This week, Latoya Chrisitian, Marketing Partner at GroupM, joins us to discuss multicultural marketing strategy and how to use multicultural data to quantify opportunities and create culturally relevant content on the right platforms.
Despite thousands of shuttered stores across the country earlier this year and varying degrees of re-openings as restrictions ease, the beauty industry has proven resilient. While sales have declined, they have not bottomed out like many other industries. However, the loss of in-person experiences has fundamentally changed the dynamic of how beauty brands engage consumers. In our ThinkNow Cosmetics & Beauty Report™, we surveyed a representative sample of cosmetic/beauty buyers to gauge sentiment in the category and how COVID-19 has impacted purchase behavior. Through our research, we’ve found that the decrease in sales has not depressed consumers’ love of beauty products, but it has changed how they buy them.