As Generation Gap Narrows, Families Embrace Multicultural Values

Nickelodeon & Harris Interactive recently released an interesting snapshot of American families, showing how cultural trends, new technology and the economy are affecting attitudes and behaviors. Interestingly, today’s families are increasingly multigenerational units that embrace values typically attributed to multicultural segments. It’s no surprise that as the American population grows increasingly diverse, multicultural segments and their values are influencing and generally making up a greater portion of the general population. Some key points of the study: 83% of parents spend at least some time each week just “hanging out” and talking with their kid(s); and 86% eat dinner together at least once a week. 61% of parents of 2 to 17-year-olds say the grandparents assist with raising the kids (source: Nickelodeon 2008 Family Study, OTX US data). Technology serves as a core family member, as parents and kids spend time together using various media: 82% and 77% of families are watching TV or movies together at home, respectively, each week; 41% of parents and kids are listening to music together; and 36% are playing games together (source: Nickelodeon 2008 Family Study, OTX US data). 88% of kids believe that it’s important to learn about different cultures, and 95% of kids value the importance of respecting other...

read more

We Might be Close…Very Close

Last week, I enjoyed being a part of the 6th Annual Multicultural Marketing Summit, organized by Geoscape. While there, in the luxurious surroundings of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (tough work, but somebody has to do it), I had the privilege of standing at the podium with one of our Clients, Lisa Bacus, Vice President of Marketing at American Family Insurance. Together we shared a best practices example of Cultural Convergence. As I took it all in, something became very clear — I think we may be close to reaching a season in our industry where the question surrounding multicultural marketing truly becomes less about “IF” and much more about “HOW.” And after having the opportunity to speak at dozens of other conferences like this one, over the course of 18 years, this has not always been the case. In years past, the expressions in the audience appeared more overwhelmed, skeptical and uncertain. Last week, I saw more heads nodding, smiles and outbursts of encouragement. I saw more people locking in on the one foundational truth that most defines the multicultural marketing opportunity — that multicultural marketing, at the core, is just marketing. The demographic landscape is simply leading more brands into becoming more customer-centric around the lifestyles and behaviors of a “new general market” – one that, in many DMAs, is dominated by high-growth segments that happen to be more multicultural than ever before. Of course, we still have a lot of work to do. One of the prevailing themes at the event was the ongoing quest of gaining internal buy-in and alignment. The internal culture seems to still be a larger hurdle than the external one inside of most organizations. But I was encouraged by the energy, passion and sheer intelligence reflected in all of the “champions” who attended. If they can successfully build the business case internally to get more of their key decision-makers on board, from the C-Suite to the front-line, we may just start to see a whole new generation of...

read more

Cultural Convergence Marketing – Starting with the Right Foundation

In a previous post, we discussed the changing demographic landscape that calls for a new marketing approach – Cultural Convergence Marketing. And you were left wondering – how do I apply this to my brand? Of course we wouldn’t leave you hanging!  Over the next couple of weeks and months, we’ll talk about how to apply this model to help you serve your total market. You will be happy to see that you do not need a complete overhaul of your existing efforts. We will show you, by using your current resources, including your existing marketing budgets, how Cultural Convergence Marketing can help you: Strengthen your brand inside of the total market. Demonstrate measurable outcomes and metrics across the total market. Save thousands (and possibly) millions of dollars every year. This month, we start with the foundation: planning and research. As with any marketing program, starting with the right research will give the program as a whole the best chance for success. Here are the four (4) key areas that typically comprise an effective Cultural Convergence research plan. Assessment – An upfront assessment of the brand can determine the degree to which the Cultural Convergence model is applicable. In this assessment, it is useful for a third-party to look at a brand’s current growth objectives, budget allocations and target demo strategies to determine whether or not Cultural Convergence Marketing can be applied immediately or if there are some intermediary steps that would put the brand in a better place to maximize the full benefits of the approach. Research Design – Considering that the Multicultural consumer is now the dominant population in many key DMAs, it may be necessary for a brand to reassess its traditional research approach, which typically oversamples the non-Hispanic white consumer and later overlays multi-ethnic consumers or under-represents the multi-ethnic consumer base from the outset. By reflecting the true ethnic make-up, many brand teams will be surprised to see the influence that Multicultural segments actually have on their total market. Additionally,...

read more

Cultural Convergence Marketing – Addressing the New “General Market”

In our business, the term “General Market” has come to have a specific definition – we have known it over the years to describe the population that has comprised the largest mass of the population, namely “non-Hispanic whites.” The “General Market” has traditionally commanded the lion’s share of marketing budgets and attention, while the ethnic segments have played a supporting role. This brings up an interesting question: how do terms like this that have been in play for so long evolve when the world and marketplace outgrow them?   Based on observations of shifts in demographics, the term “General Market,” as we once knew it, is no longer relevant. Just like we use ethnic specific terms like Hispanic and African-American, perhaps it’s time to call the Anglo segment what it is: Anglo.   Why is that? Anglos are no longer the “General Market Population” the way they once were. They no longer account for 50% or more in some very critical demographics and markets. Nationally, they still comprise more than 50% of the total population but let’s take a look at the composition at a more granular level.   Consider this: In the top 25 metropolitan markets, between the ages of 18-44, Anglos make up only 48% of the total population while the Multicultural Market (Hispanic, African-American and Asian) makes up 52%. The so-called “minority” is now the “majority” in this key age group of 18-44 and in the markets that make or break a “national campaign.” With this being the case, do we reassign who the term General Market is meant to describe or do we need to come up with a new term altogether, a new approach?   In anticipation of this changing environment, we have adopted a new way of viewing and addressing the marketplace. We call it Cultural Convergence Marketing. We define it as, “The deliberate practice of designing marketing communications strategies that appeal to the common connection points found across all segments of a brand’s total market customer base.” If...

read more

Big Business Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Brazil

Oct 19, 09 Big Business Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Brazil

Posted by in CPG, Latin America

I recently had the pleasure of appearing on a Crain’s Chicago Business Today video segment to talk about the San Jose Network’s perspective on Brazil winning the 2016 Olympic bid. There is great potential for U.S. companies expanding into Latin America, especially since Brazil will host both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. From our perspective, just because the U.S. lost the bid, doesn’t mean that U.S. companies will not be able to profit from the games. In the interview, I emphasized the importance of companies implementing marketing strategies as soon as possible to enter the region and effectively build brand loyalty. Are you already looking at Brazil as a business opportunity? Are you prepared to begin building your marketing efforts now to maximize the 2014-2016 opportunity? What are your biggest challenges with this...

read more