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Gen Z: Brands Need To Prioritize DEI And Gender Liberation

For someone who has been working in multicultural marketing for almost two decades, the past few years have been transformative. Diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and representation in public and private organizations are works in progress. But the momentum is stronger than it’s ever been. The entrepreneur and somewhat skeptic in me, however, wonders if this is just a phase. Will corporate America move on to the next big thing? There are already murmurs that ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) will be the new focus as DEI demand wanes.

Then I think of Gen Z, the post-millennial cohort which precedes Generation Alpha, born between the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2010s. These forward-thinking digital natives have turned our society’s perspective on identity upside down. As such, I am confident that the principles of diversity and inclusion will remain and evolve in the future, creating a true sense of belonging for everyone.

What Makes Gen Z Views So Different?

Gen Z is the first minority-majority generation (if they are the majority, why do we use “minority”? That’s another blog post ...), so it makes sense that their views on diversity and inclusion will be markedly different from past generations. One example illustrated by a Pew Research study shows that 62% of Gen Zers see increased diversity as good for society.

Their views on diversity extend to the companies they show support for through their purchases. A study conducted by Quantilope reports that of 630 Americans surveyed, nearly 80% of Gen Zers said that it’s important for brands to address diversity and inclusion. And their demands go beyond representation and DEI efforts to what is perhaps the most significant catalyst for sustainable change within organizations: corporate leadership. The same survey shows that more than half (53%) of Gen Zers want to see more diversity in senior leadership.

Advocates For Gender Liberation

Race and ethnicity are not the only factors defining Gen Z’s view of diversity. Their opinions on gender are reshaping societal norms, too. According to Pew Research, Gen Z is by far the most likely to say forms or online profiles should include more than the standard binary options of “man” or “woman.”

This young demographic also embraces concepts like neurodiversity and advocates for greater accessibility for the disabled. In a recent article, Forbes contributor and neurodiversity expert Nancy Doyle writes: “For many Gen-Z people, ethics, equity, diversity and inclusion are their motivation and their calling. Workplaces sticking to rigid definitions, mining identity politics for skills that can be exploited without embracing intersectional diversity are going to gain a bad reputation, losing talent.”

This sentiment is echoed in my agency’s diversity and inclusion study, where 54% of Gen Z indicated that D&I should be inclusive of disabled equality. That’s higher than all other groups, with millennials at 45%, Gen X at 48% and boomers at 39%.

So, will corporate America eventually tire of doing the hard work it takes to create more diverse and inclusive cultures, products and services? It is likely. But will Gen Z allow them to pull back their investments? The data says “not a chance.” Gen Z is bold and vocal, and this generation has only known diversity and will demand it with their dollars and their actions.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.

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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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How to Create and Measure Successful Multicultural Marketing

Corporate spend on multicultural marketing is expected to grow in 2022. Some of that budget is likely motivated by a long overdue cultural reconning with racial injustice, and some of it boils down to simple demographic realities. The 2020 Census revealed that the non-Hispanic White population shrank in real numbers for the first time in U.S. history. Minorities accounted for all the population growth over the past decade. Our consumer economy is becoming ever more reliant on multicultural spend, and those consumers expect to see themselves reflected in the media. (more…)

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Micro Cultural Insights Yield Hyper Engaged Audiences, Higher Conversion Rates

After college, Marissa Nance headed to New York City with just enough cash to cover a month of expenses and more than enough talent to land a job at one of the largest advertising agencies in the world.

Fast forward a few years, this pioneering media expert, fearless marketing executive, and groundbreaking content producer with credits like "Survivor," "Top Chef," and "The Biggest Loser" to her name, launched Native Tongue Communications (NTC), the first and only minority-and-female-certified media agency in the U.S. committed to bringing to life innovative, thought-provoking and culturally relevant ideas that authentically connect brands to diverse and growing populations. (more…)

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America Goes Multicultural, Get Ready For The New Norm

In port cities like Miami and New York, it’s common for people of Latin American or Spanish descent to identify with their countries of origin. However, the term "Hispanic” becomes more prevalent the further inland you go, as immigrant communities assimilate to the American way of life defined by labels.

The label “Hispanic” represents a diverse mix of cultures, traditions, and ideals that define this young consumer group wielding its purchasing power in support of culturally sensitive brands. (more…)

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The Benefits of Mobile Sample on Multicultural Research

A few years ago, the concept of autonomous vehicles captivated consumers. While the technology has progressed tremendously, most self-driving experiences are still limited to driver assistance, partial automation, or conditional automation. Innovation develops over time.

Compare that to the emergence of mobile sample. Ten years ago, it was the most significant innovation in the online sample industry. Mobile sample was discussed in every conference from 2010 to 2016. Despite the buzz, however, mobile sample didn’t immediately catch on. The technology existed, but brands resisted the change in survey methodology. But that started to change in 2017. (more…)

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The Future Isn't Multicultural, Your Consumers Today Are

In 2011, we took to pen and paper to ideate an amalgamation of terms to name our market research company and carve out our industry niche.  A year before, the 2010 Census came out. It was clear that the Hispanic population in the U.S. was growing, and companies and brands needed to take notice of this bourgeoning consumer group. More than half of the growth in the total U.S. population between 2000 and 2010 was due to an increase in the Hispanic population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Hispanic population grew by 43% during that time. By 2010, Hispanics comprised 16% of the total U.S. population. (more…)

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