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Outlook for Multicultural Marketing and Diversity in 2021 – Your Multicultural Marketing News January 2021 Newsletter

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2021
Multicultural Marketing News January 2021

Outlook for Multicultural Marketing and Diversity in 2021


  • The Only Truth Is the Increasing Invalidity of Universal Truth (d expósito & Partners)
  • In 2021 – “Inequality is Unacceptable” (New York Urban League, NYUL)
  • Multiculturalism in 2021: A Silver Lining Type of Year (C+R Research)
  • How COVID-19 Is Resurfacing US History of Racism Against Asian Americans (Ethnic Technologies)
  • Horowitz’ Outlook for 2021: Unpacking “Authenticity” (Horowitz Research)
  • LGBTQ-Inclusive DE&I: Now… More Than Ever? (Community Marketing & Insights)
  • It’s Time To Understand the Nuances of Multicultural Audiences in 2021 (Bold Culture LLC)
  • Finally, Some Good News: LGBTQ Inclusion (Gay Ad Network)
  • Multicultural Communities Are Speaking. Are You Ready To Listen? (AAAZA)
  • POOL of Diverse Talent Is Out There (MediaVillage)
  • The 2021 Multicultural Marketing Growth Imperative: The Collision of Covid, Technology and Census (INFUSION)

    The Only Truth Is the Increasing Invalidity of Universal Truth

    In 2020, we saw much fervor added to conversations about race, ethnicity and equality. We at DEX project this will continue in 2021 given the ongoing, serious social tensions and the renewed commitment for a more ethical and responsible government. Much of what was exposed in 2020 will require years to properly address. The systemic bias, disparities and inequities that have impacted people of color for centuries require long-term vision and action plans. The fact that we all share the same country and planet yet have witnessed people of all backgrounds living in distinct realities further invalidates the ability to leverage universal truths in marketing and advertising. This is further exacerbated by the fact that there can be substantial differences within one single racial/ethnic group, as witnessed this past November, where the majority of Hispanics in South Florida voted differently than those in Central Florida. Likewise, Hispanics in Texas voted differently than those in Nevada and Arizona, but Hispanics determined the winner in each state. If 2020 taught marketers anything, it’s that consumers expect brands to do better than continuing to rely on one-size- or even two-sizes-fits-all approaches, and this weighs heavily on their purchase decision-making. While our shared human experiences have resulted in some commonalities across race and ethnicity, 2020 saw each multicultural group witness unique affronts that underscored the fact that universal truths are becoming less tenable in marketing, even with a “new mainstream” and a rapidly growing number of majority-minority city and state populations. The broader commonalities that do exist fall within a backdrop of deeper life experiences and unique social contexts, both historical and current, and multicultural and other consumers expect brands to go beyond platitudes and checking boxes and play a role in building what will eventually be our new normal. As I said last year, the brands that don’t will be held accountable. By Louis Maldonado, Partner, Managing Director, d expósito & Partners,

    View company profile here.

    In 2021 – “Inequality is Unacceptable”

    The arrival of January 2021 was met with cheers, tears and anticipation of turning the page on some of our city and world’s darkest hours. The riot at the Capitol, police response, and confederate flag display was a testament that America’s racial reckoning has only just begun. In 2020 our city and indeed the word slowed down in an unprecedented way to slow the spread of COVID. While our daily lives were on “NY Pause” we witnessed the 8 minute and 46 second death of George Floyd and a racial reckoning began. 2021 will be marked by the continued responses to both of these epidemics. Corporations will continue to look for ways to make workforce demographics reflect the community. The equity lens of 2020 will be reused and refined while government works to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine distribution is distributed equitable and well. The New York Urban League is uniquely positioned to both hold institutions that have part of racist structure accountable while providing talent and best practices to create more diverse workplaces. As a member of the COVID Equity Task Force and a founder of our Diversity and Inclusion Lab, we will not only highlight injustices but work to eradicate them. At NYUL we believe “Inequality is Unacceptable” and in 2021 our works continues. By Arva Rice, President & CEO, New York Urban League,

    View company profile here.

    Multiculturalism in 2021: A silver lining type of year
    We all know that 2020 has been a tough year, but as we move into 2021, we see a brighter light on the horizon, especially for multicultural people and multiculturalism as a whole! Many of the events that occurred in 2020 were tragic, but they have triggered a renewed, more committed interest in understanding and sincerely connecting with multicultural consumers. From individuals and companies being touched and shocked into action by the ugly realities of racial injustices and their ripple effects throughout society and economy to BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) and LGBTQ+ communities further cementing their presence in politics, business, and entertainment, the energy is changing for the better! Our CultureBeat team is excited for what’s to come, and we’re ready to continue helping brands get an authentic, in-depth look at their key multicultural audiences and consumer cohorts through great research and our unique individual perspectives. There’s a reckoning happening, and we expect the momentum to continue to shift – inspiring companies and organizations of all types, across all industries, to truly commit to adding multiculturalism to their business strategies and invest in bringing about real change. By Jorge Martínez-Bonilla, Vice President, CultureBeat & LatinoEyes,

    View company profiles here and here.

    How COVID-19 is resurfacing US history of racism against Asian Americans
    Many people are feeling anxious during these uncertain times as they navigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and experience the tension from physical distancing or isolation for what can seem like an eternity. But people of Asian ancestry face yet another set of challenges posed by racism and xenophobia which has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic amidst rumors and blame placed on China. This pandemic-driven rise in anti-Asian racism is so pronounced, that some have described it as a “secondary contagion” threatening this population. In the past few months, there has been an alarming rise of xenophobic backlash and racial harassment and violence against Asians globally, blaming China and the Chinese for the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Researchers have already begun to document a marked rise in Sinophobic content on both mainstream and fringe social media. But we need to keep in mind that Asian Americans have done nothing wrong, nor do they have anything to do with this virus, yet, hateful people across the country are choosing to blame them for the crisis. As the country’s stakeholders in the public, private, and social sectors look toward recovery, the Asian American community will be a critical engine. The Asian American population is projected to become the largest immigrant group (38 percent of immigrants) in the United States by 2055, so raising awareness of the community and addressing inequities within the group are increasingly urgent. Gaining a greater understanding of Asian Americans—the true picture of their experiences, strengths, and challenges—is vital. By Bryan Lee, Senior Sales Manager, Ethnic Technologies,

    View company profile here.

    Horowitz’ Outlook for 2021: Unpacking “Authenticity”
    2020 was a wake-up call for just about every brand in America and across the globe. At Horowitz, we have been putting our 30 years of experience conducting research among and advocating for Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQIA+, and other communities to work. We are helping brands get up to speed, helping them learn what questions to ask that will lead to more effective marketing, advertising, creative, content creation, and product development that considers multicultural audiences front and center. Invariably we are asked: How can we authentically connect with multicultural consumers? We see this word “authentic” as inherently problematic. It assumes that these groups are monolithic, that there is one way to connect with an entire community. It fails to account for the diversity and various intersectional experiences of these groups that makes them inherently heterogeneous. Marketers know better than to ask this question of the “white community”, yet it is asked all the time of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other groups. Our focus in 2021 will be to help brands across industry verticals unlearn this kind of ethnocentric, essentialist thinking about multicultural audiences, guiding them towards a more sophisticated and nuanced approach that will lead to a more successful multicultural (really, general market) strategy. By Adriana Waterston, SVP, Insights and Strategy, Horowitz Research,

    View company profile here.

    LGBTQ-Inclusive DE&I: Now… more than ever?
    LGBTQ marketing outreach and HR inclusion was on quite an upward trajectory during the Obama years. We’ve observed a bit of a softening during the Trump admin. That’s all about to change. President Biden will be more diversity-inclusive and LGBTQ-inclusive than any previous President. And the zeitgeist of the country will shift with the new administration, as the conversation shifts from divisiveness to inclusiveness. That’s excellent news for businesses, employees and the providers of diversity marketing services. When it comes to the recovery and how to best emerge from the recession, post-COVID (coming soon!), businesses can leverage what they’ve learned in the past: Diversity marketing works. Consumers are growing accustomed to a more personal approach to communications. Emerging from hard economic times, outreach funds are not likely to be sufficient to be all-things-to-all-people. Nor would that approach yield the best ROI, even if you could afford it. Far better will be to identify best-prospect markets, early adopters, those less hard-hit by the downturn. And research points to the LGBTQ community as a likely good match. We encourage readers to download CMI’s latest report on 17,000 LGBTQ Americans, at no cost: 14th Annual LGBTQ Community Survey You’ll find data and observations about the LGBTQ markets across gender, generation and ethnicity. And please be in touch to discuss a custom LGBTQ market study on your products and services. We’ve been here 28+ years, and we have a lot of “knowledge-base” to share! By Thomas Roth, President, Community Marketing & Insights.

    View company profile here.

    It’s time to understand the nuances of multicultural audiences in 2021
    2020 has expanded a truth that brands and their agencies have known for quite some time but have largely avoided—multicultural consumers are highly impactful to a company’s success and must be represented across all levels; however, their company talent ranks don’t mirror that reality. This knowledge of multicultural impact has historically been met with leader inaction or unsustainable practices. This is because when marketers are addressing inclusion, it is from a one-sided, many times flat approach. Bold Culture’s philosophy is to build inclusion and equity from the inside, out. This means companies must assess their own non-inclusive practices and cultures, interrogate the inclusion practices of the agency/vendor partners, understand the nuances of diverse communities, and work with individuals of a particular community in order to create impactful multicultural campaigns. In 2021 and beyond, a one-size-fits-all, flat approach to multiculturalism will not work. It’s time to understand and take action on cultural nuance. Bold Culture’s insights, consulting and connections services can help.We provide inclusive marketing and workplace audits, sustainable strategic plans, ongoing cross-cultural marketing consulting, connections to diverse talent and more. Darren Martin, founder and CEO, Bold Culture. Learn more about or email me directly at

    View company profile here.

    Finally, Some Good News: LGBTQ Inclusion
    Gay media has been transformed over the past two decades. The convergence of digital and mobile technologies has enabled the once-fragmented LGBTQ community to become a powerful voice for equality and a powerful consumer market for advertisers. Audience targeting networks, gay dating apps and social media collaborations have become the predominate platforms for accessing the LGBTQ consumer market at scale. Mainstream media takes center stage when it comes to influencing broader cultural change in America. This year we saw the highest percentage of LGBTQ characters on TV shows and movies. Hulu and the Hallmark Channel released holiday films featuring LGBTQ couples in the main roles. Corporations are also hopping on the LGBTQ inclusivity bandwagon. Nabisco, Etsy and Starbucks feature same-sex couples in their latest holiday advertising. The HRC 2020 Corporate Equality Index reports the 91% of Fortune 500 companies have sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination policies in place. The future for LGBTQ equality is looking brighter than ever. The Biden-Harris transition team has named several LGBTQ people to key White House posts and has an extensive LGBTQ-inclusive agenda. Brand preference and loyalty is earned over time, through ongoing outreach and consistent messaging across mainstream and gay media platforms. LGBTQ inclusivity should be an integral part of every brand’s marketing mix during the holiday season, during pride month and every other month of the year. By Mark Elderkin, CEO Gay Ad Network. To make your brand more relevant to the LGBTQ consumer market, contact Gay Ad Network,, (954) 485-9910.

    View company profile here.

    Multicultural communities are speaking. Are you ready to listen?
    While 2020 and COVID-19 have brought challenges to light that we could have never expected, it has also created conversations that have been long awaited. Multicultural communities are seeking a platform to be heard and brands need to be there to listen. By developing strategies together and learning from one another, communities and brands can offer solutions to meet the needs of consumers ultimately leading to stronger engagement and meaningful relationships. One size doesn’t fit all with multicultural marketing. Diverse communities are culturally and linguistically unique and marketing strategies need to recognize their differences. Consumers, now more than ever, are holding brands accountable and demanding transparency. Help them feel empowered not overlooked. Representation is critical to show that there are products tailored to their needs by companies that care. Take the time to understand multicultural communities, what they want and how you can deliver. According to the Selig Center’s Multicultural Economy Report, the combined buying power of African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans is estimated to be $2.4 trillion, while the nation’s Hispanics command $1.5 trillion in spending power—larger than the GDP of Australia. Start the conversation and you will see the rewards. By Jay Kim, President of AAAZA,

    View company profile here.

    POOL of Diverse Talent Is Out There
    The need to hear from thought leaders advancing diversity in advertising, media and marketing has never been more crucial. It was the impetus behind the launch of the new podcast THE POOL on MediaVillage’s channel. It is no secret that the collective worlds of advertising, marketing and media have suffered for decades with a glaring lack of diversity. When challenged on why as an industry they are performing so poorly, regarding diversity, the powers that be often blame the available talent pool. In short, they do not believe the talent is there. THE POOL is a direct challenge to that flawed notion that the available diverse talent pool is either shallow or non-existent. MediaVillage founder Jack Myers launched and brought me on board as its Executive Director to further advance diversity from advocacy to activism in media, marketing, and advertising. In addition to The Pool, stay tuned for information on the 4th annual Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors in the spring. For “The Case for Education & Diversity as Tools for Business Growth in Marketing & Media,” download the white paper here. For more information, visit; follow on @AdvDiversity and @MediaVillageCom. By Philip McKenzie, Executive Director of and Host of THE POOL, is a cultural anthropologist and brand strategist who has been writing the On Influence and Influencers column for MediaVillage since 2017.

    View company profile here.

    The 2021 Multicultural Marketing Growth Imperative: The Collision of Covid, Technology and Census
    The threat of Covid, social distancing and ‘cancel culture’ has prompted reflection, deleting what’s unnecessary, and changing the status quo from consumers shifting values, lifestyle and priorities to companies permanently going to flexible work schedules, more equitable D&I practices, and re-focusing on key growth areas, led by Multicultural and Digital marketing. My prediction for 2021 is that companies finally do Multicultural marketing right, and allocate the commensurate fair share of budget, resources and attention to this business imperative. The marketplace has evolved. Wake up and follow the money. Ad revenues will resurge in 2021 with booming streaming TV, digital, social, E-commerce and ‘essential’ services like grocery stores, DIY and telecom. Covid underscored Multiculturals’ power with double-digit growth in Spanish broadcast and African-American platforms, while overall linear TV further erodes, which should convert to tangible Multicultural ad dollar increases, especially with the upcoming 2020 census release. Yet projected Multicultural ad spend is $30Billion, still a 5% morsel of total ad spend – while Multiculturals represent 42% of the population. They are the majority in the <35 age group, states like CA, NY, Texas and Florida, driving clients’ business growth in the top 10 categories, and account for 100% of all growth in pop, new HHs and jobs. Data is my lifeblood, so I’m baffled why Multicultural marketing is still ignored by half of Fortune 500 companies, who must live in a bubble, under a rock, or ready to retire. The good news: some major companies reinstated their center of MCM expertise, leadership and accountability after the debacle of the ‘Total Market approach’, that works with cross-functional teams to be effective across the P’s. Yet many companies still fall into the trap of considering MCM after marking GM strategies and budgets, which leads to internal budget and territorial battles, and diminishes total market returns. Others still apply marginalized MCM strategies to metrics, marketing and creative with cookie cutter research, segmentation, media and digital buys, assuming Multiculturals are effectively reached with GM efforts and purchase triggers and consumer truths resonate equally. Brown casting is not a multicultural strategy, Spanish is not a Hispanic Marketing strategy, and ‘Spanglish’ is clever no more. 77% of Multiculturals choose brands that properly portray and understand them. Cultural identity is stronger than ever and more vital in marcomm. Here are my top 10 trends for companies to put at the forefront: 1. The Digital transformation has been accelerated. Multiculturals, already higher Mobile, Internet, gaming and tech users, will only increase use of CTVs, E-Sports, OTT streaming, Virtual events, Digital media, wallets, DIY, and E-commerce. This means reassessing channels, formats and the buyer’s journey, with more focus on OTT, CTV, relevant Digital and Social efforts, websites, buyflows, Shopstreaming, and Virtual experiences. 2. Multiculturals remain resiliently optimistic even though disproportionately impacted by Covid, but will be increasingly discerning in their purchases. The lower-income will cut non-essentials, moderate-income will weigh value more carefully, while affluents constrain spend due to a sense of guilt. This means adjusting value propositions and promotions, and revalidating target needs and segmentation. 3. All consumers will redefine success to what Multiculturals know: the priority is taking care of family needs, desires, growth and development. This means re-filtering how to meaningfully bring your brand position to life across platforms, and more ‘personal’ marketing. 4. The social justice movement impacted already woke Multiculturals, and equality is the #1 value. They will favor companies who stand for something, share their values, and work to earn their trust. This requires brands to realign themes, have more human, customer-centric marketing, and make social impact and community engagement a priority. 5. Brand trust and being ‘real’ will have even stronger value, and Multiculturals will backlash against the ‘fake’, social frivolity, or brands who do token, blended and stereotypical MCM efforts. This means a truly authentic brand voice, more cultural relevance, empathetic service, leveraging trusted ethnic influencers, and trust-building initiatives. 6. They will seek higher quality, life-enhancing products/services. Covid taught us to slow down and ‘less is more’ so the fewer things bought will matter more. This means screening brand content with both cultural and empathy filters. 7. There is a heightened need for intimacy, connections and shared experiences, already highest among Hispanics, whether with must-see TV, Houseparty app, or video chats. This means more shared brand experiences, and relevant intimate video marketing, email, DM and social. 8. There is a renewed ‘Be local’ focus resulting from the ‘zoomed in’ life approach of focusing on what truly matters and virtually sharing what’s happening. The ‘local’ goes beyond bodegas or farm-to-table and spans culture, geography, community, family, and passion-points, which means brands need to have higher engagement levels across these multiple pillars. 9. The real and virtual worlds blending will speed up, with adaptive AI experiences and virtual events matching the value of in-person events, which will cause a reversal of urbanization as you can do it from anywhere. As an agency, this has become BAU. All our campaigns are virtual productions, and we recently produced a virtual livestream concert, and got awards for the Best use of AR/IMR Tech. 10. Home is the new ‘command central’ for all work, play, dining and activities for larger MCM families, all seeking quick answers, engagement, and brands that help solve problems and make their lives easier and better. This means SEO featured snippets and educational content are key, and the brands that will win enable home solutions, connectivity, entertainment and learning, reduce stress or time, and offer meaningful personalized experiences, and soft toilet paper and stylish masks. As marketers, we must always evolve to align with customers’ demographics, habits and needs for business growth. We need a smarter, nimbler playbook to succeed in the ever-more diverse, digital and Covid-altered reality. If you’re not doing effective multicultural marketing, you’re not doing effective marketing. By Liz Castells-Heard, CEO & Chief Strategy Officer, INFUSION, 213-688-7217, 213-305-4129,

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    Next Issues:

    February 2021 Newsletter

    Issue 1 Topic: Black History Month
                                Asian Lunar New Year – Year of the Ox begins Feb 12

    Deadline for reservations: Jan 15th

    Issue 2 Topic: Post Game Multicultural Commentary on Super Bowl TV Spots

    Deadline for reservations: Feb 1st

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