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.
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.
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.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital for many industries, including market research. More specifically, qualitative research. In-person focus groups and face-to-face in-depth interviews (IDIs) have been replaced by online research methodologies that enable consumers to share their thoughts and attitudes from the safety of their homes. Essential to the success of online qualitative research, however, is the respondent experience. Selecting virtual platforms that are user-friendly yet effective reduces the friction that can result in respondent frustration and subsequent disengagement.
Linguistic anthropology dives into how people use language to create culture, enact different identities, tell stories, and create relationships. But language is continuously changing. In the U.S., Hispanics are becoming more English dominant. Spanish speakers or descendants of Spanish speakers are encountering a different linguistic experience as language evolves to meet the needs of Hispanics in the present day. The Spanish language has been influenced by the American ethos resulting in a hybrid language, known as Spanglish, which sits at the intersection of language (Spanish and English) and culture.