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Outlook for Multicultural Marketing and Diversity in 2023 – Your Multicultural Marketing News January 2023 Newsletter

Friday, Jan 13, 2023
Multicultural Marketing News January 2023

Outlook for Multicultural Marketing and Diversity in 2023

MMR asked top experts, from among those featured in our Source Book of Multicultural Experts Online, to provide their Outlook for 2023 from a multicultural perspective. Enjoy our 12th annual edition of this newsletter published since 2011. This is the second of 2 special issues. View past issues.

  • Investing in Multiculturalism and Diversity: Still Not Enough (C+R Research)
  • DEI is the Market (Ethnic Technologies)
  • Making Multicultural the Mainstream (C+R Research)
  • Winning Brands Focus on Multicultural Consumers, the Center of American Culture, in 2023 (Collage Group)
  • Understanding What Matters Most to Gen Z (Horowitz)
  • Remember: Multicultural Marketing is General Marketing is Multicultural Marketing (ADMERASIA)
  • LGBTQ Marketing Trends (Gay Ad Network)
  • Brands cannot increase market share without tapping into the growing multicultural audience (AAAZA, Inc.)
  • Outlook for the LGBTQ Market in 2023 (Rivendell Media)
  • Don’t Water Down Your Multicultural Marketing Message (Illumin)
  • Don’t burn one of your most important bridges in 2023 (d expósito & Partners, llc)
  • Multicultural Marketing Agencies: A Clear Advantage for Leading Consumer Brands (fluent360)
Investing in Multiculturalism and Diversity: Still Not Enough
For over three decades, C+R Research has been advocating for companies’ and brands’ to truly commit to investing in understanding and establishing respectful, authentic, and intentional connections with multicultural consumers. And, over time, we have built a wealth of knowledge and understanding of diverse consumers, working to perfect ways of bringing their realities to life through market research. Throughout this time, we have seen brands’ commitment come and go. What do the ones that stay have in common? Two things:
  • they are committed to being customer-centric, and
  • they invest in thoroughly understanding consumers wholistically, including diverse populations.
Adding one extra layer, what separates the ones that excel from the ones that don’t is that they take diversity and multiculturalism seriously and with commitment, because the goal should be to make multicultural marketing a habit. That’s the only way to be successful at it! In the last two years, we have seen an increased and energized interest in diverse populations. More brands are waking up to the reality that in the space of multicultural consumers, they have to do more, more often and more consistently. Importantly, they are realizing that they need to do it more genuinely and less performatively. More brands are starting to invest in genuinely, empathetically, and thoroughly understanding diverse populations. The last two years have driven a rise in consumer research inquiries around Black, Asian and LGBTQ+ populations. But the rise in interest is not matched by the rise in investment: it’s 2023, but investment in multicultural marketing and multicultural consumer research is not enough! We encourage you and your organizations to do more. We challenge you to be a driver of change within your company. Start small if you must. Reach out for help if you don’t know where to start. There’s a lot to catch up to; and if you want your brand to excel, you need to start and make multicultural market research a must and a habit. By Jorge Martínez-Bonilla, Vice President, CultureBeat & LatinoEyes, jorgem@crresearch.com.
View company profiles here and here.
DEI is the Market
Marketing through the lens of DEI should be the standard. Not only does the 2020 Census report that those identifying as “White Alone” decreased by 9 percent since 2010, the Census also showed every other ethnic group growing in that same ten-year period. Ethnic diversity is growing in the United States. When considering other areas of diversity including gender and sexual identity, diversity is so much more than one report can show. Television has started to do a better job of showing this diversity. Shonda Rhimes, recipient of the DGA Diversity Award, calls showing diversity in television shows “normalizing”, “I’m normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks.” Marketing efforts can do the same. More and more prime time television shows have main characters of varying ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religious backgrounds. Shonda Rhimes has been leading the industry in this with her shows including Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy has brought attention to respecting religious diversity in healthcare. An episode showed a Jehovah’s witness patient’s family choosing not to accept blood product because of their religious beliefs. The show also highlights Dr. Miranda Bailey’s career becoming the first female Chief of Surgery for the hospital. Dr. Miranda Bailey not only breaks this barrier as a woman, but also as an African American woman. Grey’s Anatomy has worked to normalize LGBTQ+ couples on television as well with the relationship between two female surgeons Callie Torress and Arizona Robbins. These are just a couple of early examples. Grey’s Anatomy continues to show diversity or normalize an ever-changing society.  Etech provides products that help find diversity in a company’s consumer base to help “normalize” their marketing strategy and maintain cultural competency. By Jessica Wilhoit, Product Design Analyst, Ethnic Technologies, jwilhoit@ethnictechnologies.com.
View company profile here.
Making Multicultural the Mainstream
As 2023 begins, some analysts are more optimistic than others about predicting whether the economy is headed into a recession. In preparation for a potential recession, some brands are buckling up. However, even with this potential change on the horizon, we’re encouraged to see an increase in culturally relevant marketing for the Hispanic, Black/African American, LGBTQIA+, and AAPI segments, which I hope will continue moving forward. During the ANA Multicultural and Diversity conference in 2022, many industry thought leaders shared examples of how multicultural consumers look for brands that embrace and celebrate their vibrant cultures. These consumers are more willing to stick with brands they feel represent them or connect with them meaningfully. So, brands can create generations of loyal consumers by actively seeking out Multicultural consumers. While it is tempting to think about cutting multicultural budgets in times of recession, this is a good reminder that multicultural marketing is the biggest growth opportunity for most brands. The 2020 Census results confirmed the growth of multicultural populations and the influence multicultural consumers have on mainstream culture. Their ability to tell if brands are making authentic connections can impact your sales. There are over 140 million multicultural consumers in the US alone, with an impressive spending power of $3.2 trillion. With such massive spending power, brands can’t, and shouldn’t, ignore multicultural consumers, even as advertising budgets tighten. Multicultural consumers are mainstream consumers who appreciate brands that speak to them. By Ana Villodres, Senior Qualitative Director, C+R Research, anav@crresearch.com.
View company profiles here and here.
Winning Brands Focus on Multicultural Consumers, the Center of American Culture, in 2023
Diverse consumers have redefined the mainstream, placing them at the center of American culture. These consumers – across race, ethnicity and generations – have already spoken up and affirmed that they desire to see more of themselves and their culture in brand activations, from advertising, to social, to political efforts. As marketers in 2023, it’s vital our corporate leadership see Cultural Fluency expertise as an imperative to persevere in a potentially difficult year ahead. Given the uncertainty of the economy, brands already have to compete harder for limited resources. Those that put in the work to study and understand consumers from a cultural standpoint will firmly be a step ahead – leveraging essential tools for driving positive outcomes in 2023, but also enabling them to leap-frog others when the economy improves. At Collage Group, we have our finger on the pulse of consumer culture, offering brands the cultural intelligence needed to develop the capabilities predictive of growth. We invest millions in understanding the linkage between consumer and category behavior and the impact on ad and brand resonance through research, data science and cultural expertise. Our 2023 Cultural Intelligence Platform includes more than a decade of syndicated research, with new weekly research. We offer millions and millions of dollars of value when compared to paying for individual custom studies or agency work. Simply put, the brands that succeed in 2023 will be those that are able to connect with Diverse America, the new mainstream.​ Collage Group assists in this endeavor, helping brands’ performance by measuring and comparing vs competitors, and diagnosing what wins across diverse consumers. We’ll empower brands to build personas that help marketers reach the audience they need to grow, and we’ll guide them in connecting efficiently and effectively across cultures in order to generate high cultural resonance. By David Wellisch, CEO and Co-Founder, Collage Group, david_wellisch@collagegroup.com.
View company profile here.
Understanding What Matters Most to Gen Z
“As brands, advertisers, and marketers look for new ways to engage with Gen Z consumers, it’s important to understand what matters most to this diverse generation. First, Gen Z’s perceptions of identity are pushing the conversation when it comes to shifting cultural norms and societal expectations. Many Gen Zers are oriented towards the idea of fluidity rather than rigidity when it comes to gender roles, gender identity, and sexuality, which has important implications on how brands need to speak to this audience. Further, in our recent study, FOCUS Generation Next 2022, we identified gun violence, our environmental future, racism/discrimination, access to affordable housing, and women’s rights as the top concerns Gen Zers have. They expect brands to be engaged in these critical socio-political conversations and are more likely to trust and want to support those brands whose corporate ethos/values are aligned with their own. As we enter 2023, now is a good time to assess what your brand stands for, and whether those values are aligned with today’s diverse Gen Z audiences.” By Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer and Insights & Strategy Lead, Horowitz Research,
View company profile here.
Remember: Multicultural Marketing is General Marketing is Multicultural Marketing
The ebb and flow of industry’s interest in Asian America is, frankly, ebbing. 2023 may prove to be a bumpy ride. Lunar New Year campaigns don’t have the spirit of two years ago. Diwali still struggles to evolve past the influencer zone. And when you google “shows that feature Asian Americans,” the majority are no longer in production. The landslide of invitations to discuss Asian America during the Stop AAPI Hate movement have come to a grinding halt. This seeming disconnect is a conundrum considering the growth of the Asian American market. According to Advertising Week’s Asian American Retail Report, buying power is projected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2024. According to Pew, the population will increase to an estimate of 36 million by 2060. As an agency, we cannot solely place blame on brands and Hollywood. Agency hesitancy to engage Asian America takes a portion of responsibility as well. It is easier for some to make a quick and easy buck now than to invest in the future. We at ADMERASIA are doing things differently. ADMERASIA has seen an explosion of opportunity and the ceiling is still not in sight. Why? Because ADMERASIA understands that, to build connections, you need to redefine “multicultural marketing” and the attitudes
surrounding it. Asian American talent is General Market talent. Asian American business is General Market business. A Certified 100% minority-owned agency can bring any brand to the masses. And the Asian American market is America’s market. Agencies need to fight the good fight and have faith that lulls do not reflect the truth of the market. They must be active, not reactive, and work toward not next week’s fleeting trends but the future of America itself. By XiaoHwa Sydney Ng, Cultural Content Director, ADMERASIA, xiaohwan@admerasia.com.
View company profile here.
Brands cannot increase market share without tapping into the growing multicultural audience
The future for multicultural outreach is promising, yet it is still not a focus for many marketers. Multicultural and inclusive segments have numbers equal to the populations of countries around the world. Now more than ever, brands have been discussing how they can be more inclusive within their organizations as well as how to best reach diverse audiences. Despite this trend, budgets are often still an afterthought when it comes to supporting diverse segments. Ethnic marketing and advertising specialists are left with small budgets and expected to show big returns. With all the population growth coming from diverse segments, brands cannot expect to increase their market share without tapping into the growing influence of multicultural audiences. Surveys by Iterable and AIMM showed that 75% of consumers state they are more likely to support a brand when their ethnicity is represented and 50% of consumers age 13-49 have quit a “culturally illiterate” brand. It is critical for brands to work with multicultural marking specialists from the beginning stages to incorporate solid brand strategies and cultural intelligence. Consumers expect more and are looking for deeper connections with the brands they choose to engage with. When marketers collaborate with industry thought leaders and influencers for insightful messaging, they gain loyal customers. Test and learn and be open to investing for the long-term. You will see the rewards. By Jay Kim, President, AAAZA, jay.kim@aaaaza.com.
View company profile here.
LGBTQ Marketing Trends
From the perspective of Gay Ad Network, one major trend in LGBTQ digital marketing is the increasing use of targeted advertising to reach LGBTQ audiences. This includes the use of specialized advertising networks that span LGBTQ mobile apps and websites as well as the use of data and analytics to better understand and reach specific LGBTQ consumers segments. Another trend is the growing emphasis on inclusivity and diversity within the LGBTQ community. This has led to a greater focus on representing the full spectrum of LGBTQ identities and experiences, and on creating marketing campaigns and messaging that is inclusive and welcoming to all members of the LGBTQ community. Finally, the rise of social media is changing the media landscape. TikTok and Instagram for example provide numerous options for businesses and organizations to connect with LGBTQ consumers, and for LGBTQ individuals to find and engage with brands that cater to their needs. Aligning with the right influencers can create broad awareness and goodwill. The result is a shift in advertising budgets away from branded content sponsorships and search marketing into social media and influencer marketing. Overall, the future of LGBTQ digital marketing is full of opportunities and growth, and Gay Ad Network is well-positioned to help businesses and organizations navigate this dynamic and evolving market. By Mark Elderkin, CEO, Gay Ad Network, sales@gayadnetwork.com.
View company profile here.
Outlook for the LGBTQ Market in 2023
I’m often asked about trends in the LGBTQ market and when I look back, they really have not changed all that much in the last few years. Survey after survey shows consistently that the LGBTQ consumer is looking for companies to market to them directly, the consumer also wants to be seen
in and/or identify with advertisements that speak to them and wants to see community involvement. I think it must be the same for what others write here for other minority markets. As I am a huge proponent of local LGBTQ media, I always feel that companies can accomplish a lot by just showing up in local media- helping both themselves and the community at the same time. I’ve said it before, but it is worth saying again as I hear it so often. When a company advertises and shows up in national LGBTQ media people understand they are reaching out to “US”, when those same ads appear in local media consumers say they are speaking to “ME”. I really think this is universal as I often say the same to myself when reading my mainstream town paper/magazine. For 2023, the excuse of Covid and not showing up is certainly over. I feel the LGBTQ community and consumer is going to start to notice those
companies that never came back or simply forget them completely. Think about it- advertising is all about reminding people about the brand, product or service and repetition matters. On the other hand- showing up again- even saying “We’re Back” can stimulate all those wonderful warm inclusive feelings all over again. I think 2023 will be a banner year for the LGBTQ market and media. I don’t see how companies targeting any minority market can think “community” and not show up in the community media of any minority market for which they are trying to connect with. One thing that is certain in the LGBTQ market- being visible is important and it is noticed, and I really think companies understand that. By Todd Evans, President and CEO, Rivendell Media, todd@rivendellmedia.com.
View company profile here.
Don’t water down your multicultural marketing message
North American demographics are changing: In the US, multicultural segments (all ethnic segments except White Non-Hispanics), currently make up 40% of the U.S. population and are expected to increase while the White Non-Hispanic population continues a downward trend.
It’s tempting for marketers to simply cast a wider net with their marketing efforts through inclusive marketing but that can backfire in the long term. They risk alienating sub-segments of their audience and watering down their message when they try to talk to everyone at once. So how does one do multicultural advertising the right way? There are several best practices but meeting the audience where they are (through journey advertising) and examining cultural context (beyond language) should be top of mind. First and foremost, any current marketing strategy will include a focus on the consumer journey and meeting your audience where they are, with the right creatives. Take this point: 50% of Spanish-dominant and 24% of English-dominant Hispanics declared themselves “much more loyal toward companies that show appreciation for [their] culture”, meaning that organizations that take the time to cater to specific audiences could see a higher return on their marketing investments. Meeting your audience where they are doesn’t mean placing posters in specific neighborhoods; multicultural consumer journeys are different than general market consumer journeys. With such campaigns, it is so necessary to break out of traditional programmatic media buys.. This affords you the chance to ask yourself questions about specific aspects of your campaign. How do recent events specifically affect your audience? Does your business fulfill the same needs for this particular subset as it does for others? What are the emotional triggers and channels that separate this audience?. Do these questions seem obvious… Sure! But it’s important to go through this process whenever you initiate a campaign targeting a specific multicultural audience. Marketers can take back control of how they message multicultural audiences in a nuanced way with journey marketing. Language is also important. Simply translating an existing campaign to another language can fall short. Without the context of what’s appropriate to talk about within a culture, a translated campaign could end up as a brand disaster. Although it’s a complex topic, now is always the best time to get started on a multicultural marketing campaign. If you can relate to these audiences on a more personal level, customer loyalty is not far behind. By Mark Cluett, Director of Digital Marketing, illumin, mark.cluett@acuityads.com.
View company profile here.
Don’t burn one of your most important bridges in 2023
Last year, many advertisers made commitments to include diverse-owned and targeted media in their multicultural marketing investments. They’ve done the same with diverse-owned production companies to ensure the people behind-the-camera reflect the audience for whom the content is being produced. But I repeatedly asked myself, “what about the independent, MWBE multicultural specialist agency that’s the bridge between production and media? Why are we so often left out of diverse supplier goals?” One answer could speak to another 2022 trend, where many clients continued pushing their mainstream agencies to become more diverse so they can do inclusive work. This is certainly the right thing to do, but a faulty assumption – or perhaps misguided intention – is that inclusive mainstream advertising campaigns are effective at connecting with multicultural audiences. Studies from both Nielsen and AIMM prove that, despite greater diversity across advertising and programming, multicultural audiences feel more invisible than ever. These studies also show that the lack of cultural relevance directly impacts engagement levels, brand trust and brand growth. Brands still need the deep insight, expertise and creative thinking that only multicultural specialist agencies can offer. Our people have been dedicated students of the communities we represent. We have mastered the craft of creating strategies and content that connect with and motivate these growth consumers. What’s more, we are a vital part of the communities we serve, helping to uplift them. We hire aspiring talent, volunteer for non-profits and serve on their boards, and we have strong community networks, both locally and nationwide. Multicultural agencies are a bridge that connects clients with multicultural communities so their brands can better engage and create with the multicultural communities instead of simply creating for them. Brands should take heed not to burn these bridges in 2023. By Louis Maldonado, Partner, Managing Director, d expósito & Partners, lmaldonado@dex-p.com.
View company profile here.
Multicultural Marketing Agencies: A Clear Advantage for Leading Consumer Brands
We see the role of multicultural marketing agencies taking another evolutionary step in our clients’ agency rosters. In the past, meat-and-potato scopes for these specialty agencies began as transcreators with audiences brands had minimal familiarity with. “How can this idea work for this other audience?” is a question we’ve heard time and time again in many iterations. And while transcreation is often time entry stakes for brands taking their first step into these markets, today, multicultural marketing is a far richer, more value-driving function for the corporate leader that pays attention to a rapidly shifting consumer landscape. This particular marketer places greater priority on reaching one of the fastest-growing consumer segments with a buying power of over $5 trillion (or an audience that equals the GDP of Japan, one of the top five global economies). Maybe instead of calling it the “multicultural market,” we should just opt for the “$5 trillion market” in our meetings? You get my point. As a multicultural marketer, the name of the game in what we do is cultural authenticity. Tapping into this authenticity isn’t for the inexperienced. It demands a process that discovers both the authentic voice of the brand with a topical, cultural insight from an audience with an output that must never pander to the consumer. If done right, consumer engagement will have the power to transform a product and weave it into the larger mainstream cultural fabric. To illustrate this, you could think of hip-hop with oversized jeans and no-lace sneakers or Latin club culture with micheladas. These trends took root hyper-locally among multicultural consumers, expanded rapidly even to suburbia, and then were reverse-engineered by brands commercially. The navigation experts for tracking and leveraging these trends are none other than multicultural marketers, your subject matter experts. Multicultural marketing today is more sophisticated than ever. It needs to be. As practitioners, we have access to new research tools, media platforms and social media listening platforms. All this combined creates smarter, more efficacious ways to drive growth for our clients’ businesses. This constant learning gives multicultural marketing agencies a great advantage, resulting in fresh, on-target and on-sentiment campaigns. The brands that are committed to connecting with both multicultural consumers and the powerful influence they have on mainstream culture understand that authenticity is not a goal. It’s a prerequisite to competitive advantage. By Mark Revermann, Vice President, Business Integration, fluent360, mrevermann@fluent360.com.
View company profile here.
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January 2023 Newsletter

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February 2023 Newsletter

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About This Newsletter 
Multicultural Marketing News (MMRNews), is a free e-mail newsletter published by Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc. (MMR) and sent to +9000 subscribers. For a free subscription, sign up here.