Five years ago, I started one of the most challenging moves of my life—I was moving to the United States and looking to start a new life.
Since I’m a foreigner and English is my second language, you would think that the language was my main concern. Right? No. Of course, working in a second language is a challenge, but after years working in Brazil creating campaigns in Portuguese and dealing with Brazilian audiences and their culture–the culture I was used to since I was born, I had to switch gears and learn a totally different culture. Believe me—even with a huge influence of American culture, it was not easy.
On one hand, it gave me a different perspective of US culture. I could observe points and nuances that Americans are so used to that sometimes they don’t even notice.
Also, as both a creative and cultural analyst, part of my job is to work on different campaigns dealing with diverse audiences—providing insights and direction in developing effective design and content. I believe it is a true asset to have a multicultural analyst on staff at an agency because understanding audiences and cultures is an important part of every company’s brand. Besides thinking about the target’s age, gender, financial status, behavior, etc. we must understand the culture and lifestyle of our audience. Without this lens, you would be missing a key part of understanding your consumer when developing your brand marketing strategy.
One example of our multicultural work was with the 2020 Census campaign. To achieve effective results, we had to segment the campaign’s audiences by ethnic and racial make-up—layering that on-top of other audience segmentation broken out by geography, socioeconomic conditions, and cultural lifestyles. A key part of this was working together with local community-based organizations who were trusted messengers and understood the cultural differences. Focus groups and interviews with these organizations helped us build relevant and authentic messaging which was then integrated into the campaign’s creative and implementation strategy.
We identified that a huge portion of the lack of census responses came from immigrants that didn’t understand English, who didn’t know what census was, and who were concerned about giving their personal information—especially about their visa situation.
Aware of these concerns, we worked together with local communities’ organizations and created simplified messages—reinforcing that all information was totally confidential. We didn’t just translate the creative collateral. We adjusted the languages, images, and slang to match each specific culture.
The success of this approach can be seen in the numbers. Illinois was ranked as the 7th state with most self-responded rate at 71.4%–very close to the 1st place state of Minnesota with 75.1%. The Illinois counties that partnered with DCC had great content engagement with an average of 70% self-responded rate. Six of those counties were in the Top 10 census response results for the state of Illinois.
Senior Art Director