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Diversity In Market Research, Attracting the Next Gen

Attracting young, diverse talent to the market research industry is essential to its longevity. But this task has proven difficult to date, and it may be a matter of timing. Engaging younger generations in college could lead to greater interest in careers in insights. But that requires intentionality on the part of research companies.

Engagement is just half of the story, however. America’s youth are increasingly diverse. Gen Z is the first majority-minority generation. As they come of age and enter the workforce, they look to work for organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion. Recent findings show that 68% of Gen Z define diversity and inclusion as racial equality, followed closely by gender equality at 67%, with differently-abled equality rounding out the top three, at 48%. Among Millennials, 69% define diversity and inclusion as racial equality, but fewer define it as gender equality (58%). Differently-abled equality and LGBTQIA equality are tied for third.

Why is this important? If the market research industry hopes to attract younger generations, it must adopt a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Young multicultural adults must see themselves reflected in leadership, so they have something to aspire to. Ultimately, the industry's culture must support diversity and inclusion in principle and practice by creating equitable and inclusive workspaces were people from all backgrounds have a sense of belonging.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Misty Wilson, Director of Marketing at Greenbook, shares perspectives from her journey as a woman of color in market research and what the industry needs to do to attract diverse talent.

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Multi-Hyphenated Creator Economy Disrupts Influencer Marketing 1.0

From Coachella to Taco Bell, creators are monetizing their crafts to bridge the gap between consumers and brands. Powered by social platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch, the influencer market for branded and platform deals is projected to reach $28 billion by 2026. And the models keep changing. Hashtag sponsored posts – influencer marketing 1.0 - represents where we’ve been. Brands are now leveraging the creator economy in new ways, paying them for their insights into what’s trending and developing that content to post to the brands’ platforms instead of the influencers’ news feeds.

Equity partnerships have also increased. Multi-hyphenated creators, many of whom are athletes, entertainers, or personalities, are being approached by brands to become ambassadors for their products in exchange for equity in the companies, e.g., 50 Cent and Vitamin Water and P. Diddy and Ciroc Vodka.

Other creators have expanded even further, like The Kardashians, Rhianna, and LeBron James, who have gone way beyond being Insta-famous or making music or moves on the court to launching media empires that are challenging conventions. The next frontier, the metaverse.

Donnelle Branche, Talent Manager at Digital Brand Architects, joins us on The New Mainstream podcast to discuss the evolution of influencer marketing and how multi-hyphenated creators are changing the game.

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Keeping it 200: How Latinos Navigate the American Experience

Latino immigrants once feared that practicing their native cultures would make them seem "less American" and thus less accepted, so they tried to acculturate to American ways of life quickly. Fortunately, most Latinos have evolved in how they see themselves. They embrace the concept of the "the 200%" (100% Latino and 100% American) and the ability to be ones authentic self without abandoning who they are. Language has been one of the biggest indicators of that. In the past, immigrant parents may have insisted that everyone in the household speak only English and stifle their native tongue.

But today, bicultural bilingual households across the U.S. are thriving, primarily driven by younger generations who refuse to conform or apologize for their lineage. Gen Z is the first multicultural majority generation, and Latinos have the highest rate of interracial marriage.

So how should marketers engage this demographic? Connecting with the new mainstream requires understanding the dynamics they navigate daily, taking into account their cultural lens, contextual environments, and behavior. To do that, they must be invited to the conversations and a part of the decisions being made. By relying on people with these experiences, you can assess the authenticity of your marketing efforts and decrease the chance of missing the mark.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Vanessa Vigil, General Manager, mitú, distills the notion of "the 200%" and why it's important for marketers to dive deeper into multicultural consumer insights.

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Challenging Gender Stereotypes, Showing Greater Empathy

After taking a Behavioral Economics class at Florida State University, Lauren Triplett knew she had found her passion. Marketing bridges the gap between brands and consumers by helping marketers understand why people do what they do and purchase what they purchase. Lauren found this fascinating and spent the next few years building her expertise, including starting her own digital marketing agency and working for less to gain experience.

Fast forward a few years, amid a global pandemic, Lauren landed a job at one of the most beloved brands in the world, Mattel.

As Associate Marketing Manager of the Barbie Global Brand at Mattel, Inc., Lauren’s team is responsible for the strategy behind the Barbie family segment, including Barbie, her sisters, pets, and the Netflix series. And they have harsh critics – Generation Alpha.

This young consumer group, powered by the pocketbooks of their Millennial moms and dads, represents a treasure trove of revenue for the brand. Like their predecessors, Gen Z, these "mini millennials" also challenge the brand to address societal stereotypes, particularly around gender identity. Mattel has released inclusive product lines like Barbie Fashionista featuring dolls of varying body shapes, abilities, hairstyles, and gender-neutral dolls.

“The more multifaceted we can make characters, the more kids will be interested and build empathy naturally because they see people that look different on the shows and products they like,” says Lauren. The intention is to take inclusivity from being a checkmark in a box to a storyline featuring loveable characters kids will be interested in regardless of background.

Tune in to the latest episode of The New Mainstream podcast as Lauren Triplett, Associate Marketing Manager, Barbie Global Brand at Mattel, Inc. and founder of BiteSized Consulting discuss the evolution of gendered toys and how inclusivity leads to greater empathy.

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Easy Solves, The Wrong Approach To D&I

People want easy solves. It’s not uncommon for companies and brands to retain the services of an expert in multicultural marketing or diversity and inclusion to be told what to do rather than coming to the table with what they want to do. You have to set the intention. While you may not know how to get there, doing the soul searching needed to uncover the vulnerabilities within your organization is a step in the right direction toward developing a more inclusive culture that impacts how you work, how you hire, and how you market.

Ironically, marketers turn to market research to give them insight into specific audiences. But the challenge within the research industry is its lack of diversity, and it can have a real impact on results. When there is a lack of representation when developing sample frames, for example, the questionnaires lack objectivity. And when you only pull in researchers of color when you want to run a multicultural campaign, your general market campaigns lack that perspective.

Researchers of color are first and foremost researchers and should be considered team members, not just leads on special projects or multicultural checkpoints. The industry needs more people of color to fill the vacancies on these teams. Essential to attracting diverse talent is an inclusive recruiting strategy.

Awareness of market research careers should be raised on the campuses of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and jobs posted on inclusive job boards like Mimconnect. When candidates are hired, they must see themselves growing at the company. If there isn’t representation at the top in key leadership positions, it sends the wrong message.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Whitney Dunlap Fowler, founder, A Touch of Whit and Insights In Color and Shazia Ginai, CEO, Neuro-Insight and board chair, Colour of Research (CORe), share their experiences in the market research industry, and how intentionality is key to driving diversity.

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Serving Up Authenticity in Food and CPG

Food in America is multicultural. It’s a fusion of various tastes, ingredients, and cooking styles from around the world that culminate into a rich flavor profile of cultural diversity. But at its core, it’s American food, representing the swiftly changing demographics in the U.S. as it trends toward a majority-minority nation.

Brands in the food and CPG space are tasked with understanding the consumers driving these trends and showing up authentically, in-person and online. It's becoming increasingly important for brands to take intentional actions like staffing stores and restaurants to mirror the communities they’re serving. Birria lovers craving authenticity, for example, may give a restaurant a side-eye if no one in the kitchen serving up these tasty tacos is Latino. To them, insiders serve as translators, a bridge between the brand and the consumer communicating the needs and desires of the community.

But authenticity often gets misinterpreted in food. Dishes made generations before will naturally evolve based on what is available now and life experiences. Yet authenticity does drive purchases in CPG and food, from ingredients to labeling, especially among Hispanics and African Americans.

Luis Cachua, Director of Multicultural Strategy and Brand Partnerships at Food Beast, stops by The New Mainstream podcast to discuss the importance of authenticity in the food and CPG space and the love of birria tacos!

Listen to the The New Mainstream podcast.

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Closing the Digital Divide for Latinx Consumers

When the pandemic shut down schools and sent students into virtual learning environments, the disparity in access to reliable technology was apparent. Families in underserved and under-resourced communities found themselves at a disadvantage, having limited access to devices and internet services within households, putting students who are already at risk in jeopardy of falling further behind. If education is supposed to be the great equalizer that levels the playing field, then the digital divide tipped the scales. (more…)

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