Marketing to Multiculturals: It’s Easier Said than Done

By Daniel Turk | April 9, 2015

Here at OCG PR, we know that multicultural consumers are important. But a recent Nielsen report  gives us even more insight into exactly why multicultural consumers should be the “cornerstone” of any successful marketing campaign or strategy.

The report, titled “The Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers,” highlights a few things that I would like to call out. Some of which you’ve heard a lot recently and some that have been obvious to certain populations for years, but are just coming to the forefront as the U.S. multicultural population grows.

One thing the report touched on is how Hispanics and African-Americans are early adopters when it comes to digital devices and social media. If you’re in the communications industry, you’ve probably heard this over and over. But, as you’ll see from the below graphic, the age of multicultural consumers is a big selling point for marketers, too.  White consumers are older than their African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American counterparts and, according to Nielsen, the relative youngness of these demographics and higher life expectancy for all Americans means marketing to multicultural consumers represents a great investment over time.


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However, the part of the report that I found particularly interesting was how Nielsen pointed out that young multicultural consumers are influencing what “mainstream” consumers are buying. Calling them “trendsetters and tastemakers” in almost every industry, Nielsen’s research found that the traditions and ambitions of multicultural shoppers “resonate with many mainstream shoppers, which increases return on investment and magnifies the business case for reaching multicultural consumers.”

This statement was particularly noteworthy because for those of us who identify as “young multiculturals” (or have identified as a young multicultural at some point), we’ve known this for years. In addition, music industry marketers caught on to it a long time ago. A recent example of this is the popularity of white, Australian-born rapper Iggy Azalea.

In the communications industry, numbers mean a lot, and advertisers and marketers are starting to come to grips with the realization that if they don’t embrace the multicultural shift in America – and quick – they will be left behind.

While Nielsen is spot-on in pointing out the importance and ROI that comes with focusing on multicultural consumers, it’s also important to remember another fact about young multiculturals: our hyper-use of social media. Speaking from experience, we don’t take it very kindly when companies attempt to co-opt our culture while ignoring its origins and we will quickly use our influence and networks on digital platforms to call out any company that does.

It’s important for companies to realize that they’ve got to get more creative than saying their product is “on fleek” or that their brand is “bae” on social media. Whether they’re advertising to diverse or mainstream consumers, it takes an agency that truly understands and cares about multicultural nuances to successfully leverage the social aspirations of multicultural groups in a way that spells dollars for brands. And you can find that at OCG PR.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about Nielsen’s recent report.  Comment below or tweet me at @stayshh.

OCG PR offers expertise in diverse multicultural segments, including African American, Hispanic and Asian communities as well as women, youth and LGBT populations.

As multicultural strategists, our obsession with cultural influences on communities – local to global – is what sets us apart in delivering results and is the backbone of our ability to start your conversations.

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