The Growing Multicultural Market

Yuriy Boykiv, co-founder and CEO of Gravity Media writes, “Multicultural marketing is no longer an option, but a necessity”. With the consumer market continuing to grow in diversity, it becomes more and more compelling for brands to establish authentic connections with ethnic groups. Those who recognize and respond to this growing market are included among the best brands in the world.

Although many critics say that this year’s Super Bowl commercials did not convey as much political statements and socially-conscious themes compared to previous years, there were a few brands that spoke about diversity. The Kraft 30-second ad was about diversity in family, showing kids with mixed heritage, gay couples and families with different ethnicities. T-Mobile went with a 60-second ad of babies of all different races with the narrator saying, “Some people may see your differences and be threatened by them”. The Toyota commercial featured four leaders of different religions going to the Super Bowl together in one car. Coca-Cola featured a 60-seconder commercial of people, young and old, of different backgrounds, cultural and otherwise, of varying likes and dislikes but all enjoy Coca Cola. While this year’s ad is less political in tone and treatment, it nonetheless effectively delivered the message of equality among people of various backgrounds – “…there’s a Coke for we and us and there’s a Coke for you”.

 

Championing diversity is not new for Coca-Cola. The “It’s Beautiful” commercial that aired in both 2014 and 2017 Super Bowl shows people of different ethnicities singing “America the Beautiful” in various languages. While this strong diversity message is designed to portray the multicultural make-up of the US population, it received widespread criticisms. The hashtag #BoycottCoke trended on Twitter for a while.

Regardless of how we feel toward the issue of diversity, numbers surrounding the growing multicultural market don’t lie. Consider the following statistics from a Nielsen study:

  • Thirty-eight percent of the U.S. population or 120 million people are African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic consumers. These multicultural groups are projected to increase by 2.3 million each year.
  • The multicultural buying power has increased from $661 billion in 1990 to $3.4 trillion in 2014 – an exponential growth compared to the total U.S. buying power.
  • Multicultural groups comprise over 50 percent of the population in Hawaii, District of Columbia, California, New Mexico and Texas. Nevada, Maryland, Georgia, Arizona, Florida and New York.

Although many brands have embraced diversity, many marketing firms have yet to address the multicultural market. Those that ignore the increasing numbers of this segment of the population risk losing a big market share. Why do you think organizations resist the need for multicultural marketing?

 

 

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3 Responses to The Growing Multicultural Market

  1. Kara McMurray says:

    Donna,

    Thanks for sharing this information! I haven’t personally watched any of this year’s Super Bowl commercials, other than the one you presented here. I think it’s a good commercial with a powerful message that diversity can and should be embraced.

    To answer your question about the resistance surrounding multicultural marketing, I have a couple of theories. One of my theories is that they simply don’t know how to. With a lack of understanding, they may be afraid to say the wrong thing or send the wrong message. All marketing communications should be done right, but there’s a certain amount of sensitivity that must go along with it. And if you produce something that is deemed by the public to be racially insensitive, then you will receive a lot of public backlash and find yourself in the middle of a PR nightmare.

    An article I found said that companies resist multicultural marketing because they don’t want to embrace an America that is multicultural. It states, “The assumption is multicultural marketing is not needed because once immigrants acculturate they will start behaving like all other consumers” (Diaz, 2017, para. 3).

    A friend who is talking with me as I am posting this theorized that the resistance could be in part due to demographics. Companies with higher end products are likely to market to upper class citizens. Statistically speaking, the upper class citizen is white, so this is who they market to.

    As I mentioned, PR nightmares can ensue when multicultural marketing, or really any marketing, is done wrong. People are quick to call companies out, and they will continue to do so. On the flip side, though, I think it is safe to assume that PR nightmares will ensue as companies skirt around multicultural marketing and ignore big issues that are going in the world today. The resistance to engage in this type of marketing is not going to be profitable in the long run.

    Kara McMurray

    References
    Diaz, S. (2017, Oct. 11). Three multicultural marketing lessons from the NFL anthem debate. Retrieved from http://mengonline.com/blog/2017/10/11/three-multicultural-marketing-lessons/.

  2. Brooke Renee Gerstein says:

    Thanks for sharing, this! While there’s obviously a strong presence of multicultural people, each ethnic group is very different, and shares different experiences. Lumping them all into one category can be ineffective and generally deaf.
    I really don’t think it’s individuals or firms not wanting to embrace a multicultural America, but rather most multicultural people are still American enough to identify with mainstream marketing strategies assuming that they are identifiable in terms of representation from individuals involved.
    Again, representation is everything.

  3. Angelyssa Granillo says:

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for sharing this post on the growing multicultural market. I saw the Coca-Cola advertisement last weekend during the Super Bowl and it was one of my favorites. I like that the brand continues to highlight diversity in its advertising efforts. Over the years, brands have definitely become more culturally aware and they have reflected this change in their advertising. Some examples that add to the ones you pointed out include: Cheerio’s 2013 commercial featuring an interracial family, AT&T’s Mobile Movement campaign which targeted young Latinos, and Corona’s summer commercial which was targeted towards Latin American heritage and communicated well across continents.

    As you mentioned, there are still several companies who have not embraced nor reflected multiculturalism in their advertisements. To answer your question, this may be due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of why it’s important to reflect this in their advertising (Boykiv, 2016). Additionally, either companies don’t have a budget for the caliber of these campaigns or they haven’t made it a priority to their business needs and this could be reflected in their budget.

    References
    Boykiv, Y. (2016). Multicultural Marketing: No Longer an Option, But a Necessity.
    Retrieved from: https://www.inc.com/yuriy-boykiv/multicultural-marketing-
    no-longer-an-option-but-a-necessity.html

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