The United States of America has one of the most diversified and culturally complex identities in the world. Since the European colonization, the United States has been receiving millions of immigrants from all over the world, resulting in a blending of cultural backgrounds.
Nowadays, from the 327.2 million people living in the US, 44.7 million are immigrants1. That means that almost 15% of the population has a diverse heritage, which reflects on their behavior, opinion, religion, tradition, and art. This percentage grows even more if we count the next generation of these immigrants. Even though these people are US natives, they are raised under their parent’s cultural influence as well. According to the Migration Policy Institute, about a quarter of US children live with at least one immigrant parent.
Although there are habits and values that the population usually shares (American or foreign-born), it is important not to generalize or take for granted that everybody thinks differently. That is why it’s essential to have a multicultural approach in marketing.
What is Multicultural Marketing?
Multicultural Marketing is the ability to identify, understand and of course respect the different behaviors in different ethnic groups and apply this knowledge to a marketing campaign. It considers and reaches out to one or more culturally diverse audiences instead of just the primary culture in a certain location.
With multicultural consumers growing fast in the United States, we can assume investments in multicultural marketing are already high. However, the reality is not enough money is spent to reach these consumers, as current multicultural investments represent only 5.2% of the total spent in media.
How can we explore this marketing segment?
As any marketing strategy, we need to research the cross-cultural differences of all of our target audiences, allowing us to identify and understand their behavior, interests and desires.
With all this information in hand, we are able to select the appropriate culturally-specific messaging for the campaign, matching it to the audience’s cultural references, such as traditions, language, festivities, instead of the regular marketing campaigns that usually overlook the aspects of diversity and just translate the message.
For example, the audience may speak English, but they’ll appreciate it if you adjust the message to their native language and their culture. And I mean, not literally translating it, but speaking in a way that feels personal, adjusting the language and the references to their cultural background. It could be represented by a same culture person, a cultural icon, regional slang, a place, artistic manifestation, etc. They will not only appreciate it, but they will feel represented, developing a connection to your campaign and brand.
You should be careful and avoid stereotypes.
Often, brands rely on cultural stereotypes to deliver their message—which can turn off audiences. A deep understanding of the culture and their references is necessary. A simple misunderstanding or lack of sensitivity could be disrespectful, offending the audience and ruining the efforts.
So do your homework, research, collect data, interview people, create a focus group, and partner with community influencers.
Let us help you reach your audience and achieve a successful result in your next campaign! Contact us.
1U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey.
Senior Art Director