Brand managers can no longer afford to put multicultural marketing on the back burner.
Multicultural consumers are transforming the U.S. mainstream, demanding culturally relevant and authentic touchpoints.
By taking a D&I-first approach, communicators can integrate a cross-cultural, multicultural approach to public relations and marketing endeavors aligned under one strategy.
The world is more diverse now than at any other time in history. As communicators, we have to stay relevant by using a diverse and inclusive lens on every campaign, every promotion, every story and every piece of content.
Chew on these key factors:
Buying power: The Selig Center’s Multicultural Economy Report shows minority groups have a combined buying power of $3.9 trillion. Every racial and ethnic minority group in America is making financial gains; the nation’s Hispanics command $1.5 trillion in spending power—larger than the GDP of Australia.
Population: Over half of the babies born today are non-white. For the first time, non-Hispanic white residents now make up less than half (49.9%) of the nation’s under age 15 population, according to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
According to Nielsen, 42% of U.S. millennials are of African American, Asian American and Hispanic heritage. As the newest independent consumer group, multicultural millennials are bridging gaps between generations and cultures and creating a virtual “multiplier effect,” a key distinction from non-Hispanic white millennials.
The U.S. population will become minority-majority in 2045, according to the Census Bureau’s population projections. It is projected that that the non-Hispanic white population will fall by 10% between 2017 and 2060. The African American population will grow 58% during those years, Hispanics 89%, and Asians 111%.
Is your communication equally respectful, inclusive and welcoming to a diverse range of people—those similar to you and those who may be different? Are you inclusive to different segments of your audience, i.e. women, different nationalities and ethnicities, LGBTQIA community members, varying age groups and socioeconomic levels? Do you have an accurately researched outline of who your audience is versus an assumption of who you want them to be?
Diversity. Stereotypes. Inclusion. Perspectives. Context. Empathy. Unconscious bias.
Those aren’t just buzzwords. Marketing and PR teams must understand and prioritize the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity when crafting communication strategies. Although your role might not be specifically tied to D&I, it’s important that PR pros know that all their communication efforts surely are.
Whether your company or client’s communication efforts are local, national or international in scope, a global context and a keen understanding of different cultural contexts can affect how you get your message across.
The increased speed of communication via social media means that practitioners have to maintain a cultural awareness beyond our office cubicles, since what we get right (or wrong) can be instantly amplified.
As PR practitioners, we are the bridge to our communities. The D&I-first approach is no longer optional; it’s a necessity.
Regina Luttrell, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of public relations and social media at Syracuse University. Natalia Flores, APR, is the PR director for AC&M Group and president of the Hispanic Public Relations Association of the Carolinas.