Unwrapped: the biggest secret behind the food and beverage industry right now

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Marketers Need to Rethink How to Mix Multicultural Themes and American Cues in Advertising

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As advertising approaches a tipping point in the need to appeal across multiple demographics, marketers are asking “what really works across the wide spectrum of identity that is America today?” Our analysis of ads unpacks the conundrum and reveals some startling insights.

Despite increasing political polarization and the risk of misfires, more and more advertising is being released that reflects a wider embrace of different ethnicity, racial backgrounds, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and stories of the American experience.

Nike’s controversial embrace of stances taken by Colin Kaepernick and Serena Williams represents the long view that activating against these themes is a necessity even if the earned media upside comes with some near-term pain.  But unfortunately, many marketers struggle to understand the creative subtleties that can make or break a campaign that blends these themes.  Even the most well-funded brands experience high profile missteps.

Using our proprietary AdCompare methodology using facial tracking and machine learning, we generate Total Market Quotient (TM-Q) that allows comparison of ads.  The higher the TM-Q the better

Our detailed analysis of 20 ads will be presented during our Fall 2018 Roundtables, but here are a few preview findings:

Marketers win big by eliciting an emotion we call “peak sentimentality.”

Peak sentimentality best predicts interest in sharing an ad with others, the perception that the message is important, and an improvement in the opinion of the brand. Marketers succeed in capturing viewers’ hearts and minds (and wallets) when the ad tells a story that elicits this emotional mix of sadness and surprise, and ties it to the brand effectively.

Sustaining emotion into the branding moment makes or breaks an ad.

Marketers must ensure the branding moment has a logical connection to the underlying narrative of the ad.

Culturally-authentic casting is a safe bet.

Marketers generate high TM-Q for all segments when diversity seems natural and not “manufactured.”  Diverse casting in a conventional situation (like a biracial couple making dinner) is also a safe bet.

Cultural themes can be both high risk and high reward.  

Themes outside the “traditional mainstream” like immigrant experience, gender and sexual discrimination, and non-traditional families perform well with Hispanics and Asians, but both African-Americans and non-Hispanic Whites take strong issue with these messages.

Asians and African-Americans are polar opposites when it comes to “American cues.”

Perhaps one of the most provocative findings in our study indicates that African-Americans respond poorly to “traditional” American cues, with exceptionally low TM-Q. By contrast these same themes produce very high TM-Q in Asians, indeed far greater than with non-Hispanic Whites. Marketers must vet Creative closely to be sure that traditionally “safe” American themes do not drive unintended consequences with target audiences.

Take Action Now

If you’d like to learn more, contact us below.  Members can access the full findings, check out research on Creating Culturally Authentic Content or check out our approach to ad testing. Non-members can learn more by reaching out to cmoser@collagegroup.com.

“Family Values” allows marketers to better target multicultural consumers

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It’s a common assumption in messaging research that multicultural consumers are liberal, but when brands and advertisements try to put this idea into practice, their efforts often fall flat. It is therefore important to investigate the appeal of specific messages on individual cultural segments.

Collage Group has sought to explain these differential outcomes, making them a core focus of our Ad Rating Survey. As part of the survey, we asked respondents to take an unambiguous stance on 13 selected social trends, in four categories:

  • Non-Traditional Family
  • Race
  • Youth
  • Activism

After analyzing the results we found several interesting takeaways:

Rather than featuring a strict divide between liberals and conservatives on all issues, multicultural values breakdown into three categories.

The largest group is Social Liberal (44% of the population), which tends to approve of trends across all four categories, followed by Social Conservative, with 29% of the population tending to disapprove of all the mentioned trends. A third group, however, responded positively to trends regarding race, youth, and activism, but negatively on non-traditional family trends.

Multicultural consumers are substantially more likely to feature Family Values than Social Conservatism.

For White panelists, Social Conservatives outnumbered Family Values consumers, but for all other categories the opposite was true.

This was especially the case for African-American panelists, whose proportion of Family Values consumers was very close to its proportion of Social Liberal consumer. Over a third of Hispanic and Asian respondents were also in the Family Values segment.

Hispanic acculturation corresponds with a shift from Family Values to Social Conservatism

Comparing unacculturated against acculturated Hispanics reveals a shift away from the Family Values segment and towards Social Conservatism, while Social Liberalism remains relatively unchanged. This trend suggests that acculturated Hispanics divide themselves on social issues in ways that are similar to Non-Hispanic Whites.

Understanding how Family Values shapes multicultural social views is essential for marketers eager to appeal to these fast growing and influential consumer segments. To learn more about how you can leverage these preferences to produce valuable brand outcomes, please email info@collagegroup.com.

Culturally-Optimized Consumer Journey Mapping

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According to a recent industry survey, nearly 9 out 10 companies currently engage in some form of consumer journey mapping. However, only a handful are truly optimizing their models by activating on the behaviors (steps and triggers) of their multicultural consumers.

Furthermore, many fall short when it comes to identifying the points in the  journey where culture exerts the most influence, and where divergent steps emerge among multicultual and youth consumers.

The ‘holy grail’ of holistic Total Market consumer journey mapping lies in revealing points of divergence along the consumer journey, and activating more effectively and efficiently against them to unlock profitable growth.

We’ve seen (and conducted research for) hundreds of consumer journeys at Collage Group. A ‘best in class’ culturally-optimized journey is:

  1. Rooted on a strong foundational ‘cultural dimension’ framework to explain the why behind how we shop. Your consumer journey needs to identify and correlate the influence of shared cultural values in shopper behavior.
  2. Designed with innovative data collection and journey mapping techniques that are dynamic and omnichannel (on-line and offline). The approach can’t be static or linear. It can’t look at each touch point, source of influence, and behavior in isolation. It must look at each step of the journey by setting it in the context of cultural values, norms, and traditions. Only then will the journey story-telling be truly cohesive and human-centered.
  3. Delivered against an actionable strategic framework for activation A best-in-class consumer journey must surface emerging pathways/channels, quick-win ideas, and develop roadmaps for immediate action. Ideally, they are designed such that they can be continuously monitoredto evaluate customer experiences over time.

Why do you need a culturally-optimized consumer journey?

Understanding where you should invest your multicultural marketing efforts along the consumer journey is critical to ensuring that your dedicated and integrated approaches reach your consumers in the most impactful way.

Consider this – we know tons through our syndicated research about where multicultural consumers generally differ along the path-to-purchase from general market consumers. You may know:

  1. One-in-four coupons redeemed by Hispanics were handed to them by a friend (much higher than GM).
  2. Asian consumers tend to research products online before the shopping trip, while Hispanics research at the store closer to the point of purchase.
  3. Hispanic consumers are much more tactile in-aisle, and in some categories they are much more likely to rip open packaging to touch and feel the product.

These are great insights, but they beg big questions:

  • Which insights are most impactful for me, for my brands and my categories?
  • What is at the root of this behavior, and how should I activate against the core cause?
  • With a limited budget, what do I do to capitalize on these divergent behaviors to get the biggest bang for my buck?

Allow us to simplify your Total Market go-to-market strategy without losing impact or relevance.

Our Consumer Journey mapping will help you manage complexity, create alignment cross-functionally across departments (brand, sales, media, innovation, etc) and deliver a unified strategy that works.

If you think there’s an opportunity for quick wins with multicultural consumers by better understanding where they differ along the consumer journey:

  1. Browse through this outline to understand more of how we can help, and
  2. Fill out this form, to be contacted by an expert for more information.

At Collage Group, we’ve developed a  unique approach to understanding the customer journey that will help you get the real, actionable insights you need to influence consumer behavior. 

Fill out this form to learn more, and someone will be in touch to schedule a call with an expert. Otherwise, Collage members, LOGIN to review the latest from your membership.







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