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Marketing to Bicultural Latinx Consumers

Consumption has changed since the pandemic, as consumers consider their lifestyles more deeply. Companies and brands are following suit, studying how their actions, systems, and beliefs impact the consumer dynamic and striving to be more inclusive in their marketing and advertising. However, not all consumers feel seen.

Latinx consumers in the U.S. are not a homogenous group. Marketers are accustomed to segmenting these groups by factors like country of origin but often overlook the biculturalism that exists among niche groups, like Latinx consumers of Asian descent who immigrated from Latin America to the States in the past few decades.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Silvia Li Sam, founder of Slam Media Lab (Slam), talks about her experience as a Peruvian Chinese American and how marketers must leverage research to understand the complexities of the Latinx consumer market.

About Silvia Li Sam:

Silvia Li Sam is a Peruvian Chinese American founder, published writer, and expert on content marketing, web design, and SEO.

Li Sam was one of the youngest CEOs to start a multi-million dollar agency during the Great Resignation of 2021. Her award-winning agency, Slam Media Lab (Slam), focuses on SEO, Webflow, content marketing, and brand strategy for founder-led and mission-driven companies.

Before starting Slam, Li Sam was the first hire for digital & SEO at the XQ, the nation’s leading organization rethinking America’s high schools started by Laurene Powell Jobs. She scaled XQ’s marketing efforts from 0 to over 650,000 members in 3 years, and skyrocketed their SEO from 0 to 2MM searches. Li Sam has led multi-million dollar advertising and branding campaigns, managed and executed partnerships with all social media platforms, and led two successful TV shows (Graduate Together & XQ Super School Live) on the four major networks. The shows have reached over 2B people.

Li Sam is known for starting one of the largest startup publications in the world in three months, growing it from 0 to 250,000 readers with no budget.

Her work has been nominated for Webby and Peabody awards. Li Sam’s marketing strategies have been featured on Forbes, The Huffington Post, NBC, and more.

She is a Board Member at Wild Awake, a nonprofit that provides immersive outdoor learning experiences for youth and adults that bring us closer to the earth. She also serves as a tech and marketing advisor to two tech-focused nonprofits: Peer Health Exchange and LTX Connect.

Li Sam holds a B.S. in Business & Marketing with a minor in design from the University of Southern California.

She lives in the East Bay with her partner and her labradoodle and frequently bounces between San Francisco, Lima, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and New York.

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Viewers Looking Forward to World Cup Despite Controversy

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to run from November 20th till December 18th. The tournament was moved from its usual June/July slot because of the intense summer heat in host-country Qatar. The temperature, however, is not the only heat surrounding the tournament. Human rights abuses by the firms building the stadiums and infrastructure to host the event have gotten as much, if not more, coverage than the qualifying matches that lead up to the tournament. Qatar's laws against homosexuality are also creating tension at a time when World Soccer is trying to become more inclusive.

These controversies, however, do not appear to have diminished fans' interest in the quadrennial event, especially here in the U.S., with athletes returning to the tournament after failing to qualify in 2018. This, along with an overall increase in interest in soccer in the U.S., will likely result in strong viewership. To gauge interest in the tournament and measure how the controversies might affect viewers' opinions of sponsors, we conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,550 respondents. We found that 44% of U.S. adults are either somewhat or very likely to view at least some matches. This is an improvement over the last time the U.S. qualified for the tournament, when 37% of respondents in our 2014 survey said they would be watching.

Download the report here.

As usual, Hispanics are the most likely to say they will tune in. Mexico's national team, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and (technically not Hispanic) Brazil, will be playing in the tournament. Those teams, along with Team USA, are expected to draw Hispanic viewers who would like to see the FIFA World Cup Trophy return to the Americas.

Millennials primarily drive interest in the tournament.

Forty percent of Millennials are soccer fans. They are twice as likely to be a soccer fan than Gen X and 25% more likely than Gen Z. Major league soccer matches in Atlanta, Seattle and Cincinnati regularly draw larger crowds than baseball games. Millennials are also the age group most likely to watch the World Cup.

Streaming Edges out Regular T.V.

When asked how they plan to watch, streaming edges out broadcast television by 52% to 48%. This holds true across racial groups, except for Hispanics who are slightly more likely to view on T.V. (56% vs 54%).

The only group to report a higher likelihood to watch games on regular T.V. over streaming are Baby Boomers at 69% vs. 34%. The rise in streaming's popularity is evident across all types of content. Sports, however, has been a holdout in that the major networks are generally viewed as the best place to view live events. However, the fact that the World Cup audience skews younger is bolstering streaming over broadcast. Fox Sports and Telemundo and their respective streams have the U.S. broadcast rights for the U.S. Likely viewers, however, are not yet aware of that since 52% of respondents said they would watch on ESPN vs. 35% on FOX and 21% on Telemundo.

Qatar Controversy

Awarding the World Cup to Qatar has been controversial. Accusations of bribery being the reason the tournament was awarded and the fact that the country could not host the tournament in the summer because of excessive heat are concerning but their poor human rights record has garnered the most attention. Building the soccer stadiums in a country with summer highs of 108/109 °F and weak worker protections has caused the death of 6,500 foreign workers. Additionally, homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by up to three years in prison and death under sharia law for Muslims. This has led some brands who normally sponsor the tournament to pull out of this year's event. Others have issued statements condemning the human rights abuses but have stopped short of pulling their sponsorship.

Fans, however, generally support brands that sponsor the World Cup. Fifty percent say that sponsorship positively impacts their impression of the brand while only 7% say sponsorship would negatively impact their opinion. Negative opinion towards sponsorship is in the single digits across all demos except for Gen Z. 22% of Gen Z say that sponsoring the World Cup this year would diminish their perception of a brand.

Conclusion

While controversy surrounds the 2022 Qatar World Cup, viewership in the U.S. is likely to remain strong and the potential for backlash against sponsoring brands will remain low. The fact that it will be played in the fourth quarter makes it difficult for brands to stay away since it's when most Holiday ad spending takes place. However, brands that choose to sponsor World Cup events this year should also demonstrate their support of the LGBTQ+ community and workers' rights to make it clear where they stand.

In a time when U.S. viewership of international sporting events like the Olympics is declining, more attention will be placed on the expanding World Cup audience. Americans will be tuning in, or more precisely, logging on. Brands that care about staying relevant need to be there with them.

Download the report here.

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The Model Minority Myth is Hurting Asian Americans’ Mental Health

ThinkNow recently fielded a comprehensive quantitative study that compared attitudes and behaviors related to health and wellness among minority groups. After reviewing the survey results, I assumed I would write a blog about mental health issues impacting Black or Hispanic Americans. While there were certainly findings that I could have written about among those groups, the results that really struck me were specific to Asian Americans. The Asian American narrative usually revolves around the model minority myth promoting positive stories about education and financial success. However, mental health in the Asian community does not get as much press. The findings were eye-opening.

Statistically, Asian Americans are doing well collectively when it comes to educational and financial attainment. However, our data shows they lag other ethnic groups in seeking mental health services when needed.

Cultural Barriers

Seeking help for oneself runs contrary to the collectivist ideal in Asian culture of placing the needs of others and society before one’s own. This is true in both East and South Asian cultures. The belief is so ingrained that some segments of the Asian American community, especially the foreign-born, don’t have the language to discuss mental health issues. They, instead, think of mental ailments as a physical condition without considering possible psychosocial origins. The concept of mental health was developed in the U.S. and Europe and mainly used western cultural concepts in diagnosis and treatment. The lack of connection to mental health awareness shows up in the data where most Asian Americans surveyed stated not perceiving mental health as a significant contributor to overall health and well-being.

Even when they recognize they might need help with mental health issues, Asian Americans are less likely to feel comfortable seeking that help.

The Dark Side of The Model Majority Myth

Suicide is the leading cause of death among Asian American young adults ages 15-24. Asian youth can become overwhelmed by the expectations to succeed. Although the model majority myth may have its origins in Asian immigrants’ desire to succeed in the U.S., it is perpetuated in mainstream culture by teachers, business leaders, comedians, and the media. Asian students may perceive struggling with school pressures as letting both their parents and society down. Without good examples of what self-care looks like, fewer than 20% of Asian Americans know what to do to keep themselves mentally healthy.

Culturally Appropriate Support

Since fewer Asian Americans currently seek mental healthcare compared to other groups, they are less likely to see other people like them in places that could help them, such as student health centers or clinics. This inadvertently confirms their belief that they don’t belong there. Recognizing this disparity is the first step toward creating inviting spaces for Asian Americans to seek mental health services. Language is not as much of an issue for Asian youth but is a real barrier for older, foreign-born groups. Having in-language material and resources available can be lifesaving.

Training healthcare providers to recognize the additional barriers their Asian American patients may be experiencing can also help increase the uptake of services in this demographic group. Healthcare workers must be culturally competent, understanding the nuances impacting their Asian American patients’ decisions.

How We Can All Help

The model minority myth requires society at large to perpetuate it. Reflecting on our beliefs about what a scientist, artist or carpenter looks like can help open more doors for Asian Americans struggling to conform to certain ideals. Also, asking Asian Americans “where they’re from” is still far too common. What seems like an innocent question to get to know one better actually “others” that person for it makes assumptions about what an American should look like.

Finally, normalizing mental healthcare as something everyone in society can benefit from is vital. By sharing our own challenges, we can inspire Americans of all ethnic backgrounds to accept mental healthcare as an integral part of a well-rounded healthcare routine.

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Culture and Multicultural Identity: Names Matter

Keeping pace with culture can be challenging for brands. Consumer dynamics are evolving and becoming increasingly fluid, particularly around identity. Several factors influence how consumers see themselves and shape their attitudes, behaviors, preferences, and biases, including their heritage and culture. Through this lens, consumers make purchase decisions and establish brand affinities, requiring companies to develop a better understanding of the complexity of identity.

Multicultural consumers are often motivated by a desire to represent their culture in how they identify their race and ethnicity. In 2020, ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey among Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans ages 18 to 64 to understand how they prefer to identify themselves among peers and in marketing and media. This year, we conducted a follow-up study in which we found that the needle hadn’t moved much, with a few exceptions.

Download the report here.

Naming Preferences: Hispanics

In 2020, we found that the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino/Latina” were preferred by the majority of U.S. Latinos across different scenarios, in particular, when they or others (i.e., media, companies) referred to this population as a whole. That consensus holds in 2022, with the majority of Hispanics preferring the term “Hispanic” when used in most contexts, followed by “Latino(a).”

There was a noticeable shift in sentiment when respondents were asked about naming preferences “when describing yourself in a professional setting (job, interview, etc.).” In 2020, 36% preferred Hispanic and 26% preferred Latino(a). In 2022, 43% of Hispanics preferred “Hispanic” (increase), and 20% preferred “Latino(a),” a six-point decrease.

Interestingly, there is a five-point decrease in the use of the term “Latino(a)” when respondents were asked naming preferences “to use when describing or naming all people of Spanish or Latin American heritage in the U.S.,” from 30% to 25%.

Consistent with data reported in 2020, the term “Latinx” continues to exist in the margins. However, 3 out of 5 Hispanic adults have heard of the term, but it has yet to achieve broad adoption except among younger generations.

Naming Preferences: African Americans

Among African Americans, we saw naming preferences become more nuanced. In 2020, 49% of African Americans preferred media, companies, and brands to refer to them as “African American,” and 33% said “Black,” accounting for 82% of respondents. This year, only 37% of African Americans prefer that companies, brands, and the media use the term “African American,” followed by “Black” (23%) and “Black American” (22%). While the total percentage of respondents is the same here, we saw an additional preference emerge not accounted for in 2020. While commonly used, the term “people of color” is not preferred in most cases.

Naming Preferences: Asian Americans

Among Asian Americans in 2020, when asked about naming preferences “for the media/companies/brands to use when describing/naming,” 8% of respondents stated “My Country of Origin + American.” But in 2022, 14% held that preference. Very few Asian Americans prefer to solely be called “American.”

Multicultural Identity

Across the three cohorts, the term “American” was among the least favored naming preferences indicating a desire among multicultural consumers to connect with their heritage. The onus is on media, companies, and brands to research to uncover cultural drivers underpinning multicultural identity and how these factors affect consumption habits.

Download the report here.

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Web3, The Next Frontier of Digital Currency Favored By Millennials and the Affluent

Mobile apps like Apple Pay have made online and offline purchases more convenient for consumers, liberating them from having to pull out their wallets, credit cards, and wads of dollar bills and loose change. But the innovations of Web 2.0 are in the rearview, as consumers explore Web 3.0 where digital currency is just a fraction of what the virtual experience has to offer.

For enthusiasts, Web 3.0, or Web3, is a way of democratizing the internet, shifting power away from the behemoths dominating search, sales, and social and giving it back to consumers. The blockchain has made bitcoin, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other forms of cryptocurrency ubiquitous among devotees, and the metaverse has become a virtual utopia for consumers and brands.

In our second look at cryptocurrency, ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey of adults ages 18 to 64 to understand their familiarity, usage, and interest in cryptocurrency and other Web3 technologies.

Download the report here.

Here’s a sneak peek at what we found:

Cryptocurrency Most Popular With Asians and White Men

Most adults have heard of cryptocurrency. Those most likely to be familiar are Non-Hispanic White men, Millennials, and individuals, in general, living in higher income households.

Of all cohorts, Asian Americans are more likely to use or own cryptocurrency, and Hispanics are more likely to own a cryptocurrency wallet.

Women lag men in usage of these forms of digital currency.

Non-fungible tokens are used most by individuals with a total household income of $80,000 and above.

Bitcoin is by far the most utilized form of cryptocurrency, followed by Ethereum.

Nearly everyone who uses a cryptocurrency wallet has the online/app version, as opposed to the thumb drive, likely to mitigate the risks associated with losing it.

Privacy and Ease of Use Concerns

But not everyone is sold on Web3. The technology is still evolving, and privacy concerns linger. And there’s a certain level of disbelief surrounding the metaverse. Are these concerns enough to slow the rate of adoption?

Download the ThinkNow Web 3.0 Cryptocurrency report today.

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Multicultural Marketing, A Strategy Not A Tactic

2020 was a year of highs and lows. For marketers who have always maintained a commitment to diversity and inclusion, the calls for social justice strengthened their resolve. For many others, however, the momentum of acknowledging the problem gave way to frantic, reactive statements that quickly fizzled out or failed. A year later, companies realized their approach to diversity and inclusion couldn’t be summed up in a social media post. (more…)

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Coming Into Focus: 2021 Year In Review

This time last year, America was fresh off the high of a change in executive leadership. Americans started rolling up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccinations, and the nation was undergoing a racial awakening generations in the making. Then a week into the new year, democracy was breached, and the ensuing fallout would test the ideals of what it means to be American. In our 2021 ThinkNow year-end report we examine the economic highs and lows of the past twelve months, and how consumers, in their resilience, have weathered the storms by tapping into their power and wielding it to demand a fair and just society for all. (more…)

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