The United States is a multiracial, multicultural country, and the advertising industry needs to reflect these changing demographics. Media platforms like My Code help brands express authentic diversity through insights, cultural understanding, and creativity to improve their advertising strategy. Consider four takeaways on achieving a genuine representation of diversity in marketing.
1. Talk to and about specific cultural groups and avoid generalizations
Nothing can alienate a multicultural audience more than ignoring cultural specificity. When designing a marketing or communication strategy, using umbrella terms such as Hispanic, Latino, Asian or Black can sometimes lead to harmful stereotypes and generalizations. For example, the terms Hispanic and Latino are in different subgroups based on origin, such as Mexican, Spanish, Venezuelan and so on.
Ethnicity is also about self-representation and how someone defines themselves. It is not a one-size-fits-all category, particularly in a country as diverse as the United States.
For instance, a recent American immigrant from Cuba could have differing political views and values than someone from the same country who has been living in America for decades. Because of these differences, designing a campaign that tries to communicate to a general Latino or Hispanic market wastes the opportunity to identify more granular groups that want to feel represented.
2. Don’t just go for an artificial diversity quota
One of the biggest mistakes made by marketers while creating campaigns is showing unfeasible scenarios that seem to fake diversity. Rather than showing real-life situations based on the actual experiences of a multicultural society, these campaigns often group people from diverse races, ethnicities, gender and sexual identities, and other identifiers in ways that seem contrived.
While these stereotypical campaigns attempt to fill a diversity quota, they frequently end up mocked on social media. Likewise, the entertainment industry may fill a diversity quota rather than telling thoughtful and engaging multicultural stories. Popular shows have been guilty of playing a diversity bingo that, rather than showing character depth, perpetuates stereotypes. Don’t let your content fall into the same category.
3. Make sure your creative team is diverse and can talk from experience
One cannot expect to produce authentic multicultural campaigns if the marketing strategy is devised by a team that lacks diversity. Even though industries are moving towards a more diverse workforce, there is still a lot of ground left to cover.
According to a 2021 study by the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing and the Association for National Advertisers, 69.2% of the workforce in the sector is White, 11.7% is Asian, 6.6% is Black and 8.9% is Hispanic or Latino. Other groups, such as American Indians, amount to less than 1%. The lack of diversity among marketing professionals is reflected in campaigns that are often monocultural and tone-deaf and do not represent a multicultural reality.
The most effective creativity comes from cultural experiences that resonate with their target audience. My Code’s Multicultural Consumer Fact Pack shares that 7-out-of-10 multicultural adults say they are more motivated to buy/use/consider brands when they feel understood and seen.
Cultural insight must be one of the most significant assets to keep in mind when hiring new staff. Multicultural buyers are loyal to brands that authentically represent them. No matter how many interviews or focus groups you organize, real diversity will only come from a diverse team.
4. Don’t be afraid to talk about social issues, uncomfortable realities and what matters to multicultural audiences
For many multicultural communities, life is full of challenges. From everyday discrimination to aggressive immigration policies, individuals are affected by the political and social events surrounding them. Campaigns that ignore or downplay these essential issues will find it hard to connect with multicultural audiences.
Intelligence Center’s 2022 Multicultural Consumer Fact Pack put together a study where Multicultural U.S. adults shared how important it is to them, on a scale of 1-to-10, that brands communicate clear stances on social issues and causes they care about. The study shows that Multicultural U.S. adults fall significantly higher at 41% (ranging from 8-10 in the level of importance) than the rest of the U.S. at 26%.
Contact My Code to find out more about how to authentically create a diverse marketing strategy so your audiences can grow.