“Community” Means More for Multicultural Consumers

Collage research identifies community as a powerful space where all consumer segments engage with the universal Group Trait of Connection. Here’s what brands and marketers need to know about community across race and ethnicity.

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Human beings are social by nature. No matter our background, we all crave connection. We build community around the things we hold in common, and we spend our lives surrounded by others whose company we enjoy and trust.

But what your own community looks like depends on many factors. Do you seek out community with your neighbors? Or with those who share your faith? Or your cultural heritage? Or is it something else, entirely, which makes you feel connected with others?

Getting these questions right is essential for marketers trying to authentically represent and resonate with multicultural consumer segments. Collage research confirms that community matters to pretty much everyone, but our data also reveals how community is experienced and expressed differently across cultural backgrounds.

In our 2020 Roundtable Study, we learned that multicultural Americans, especially Black and Hispanic consumers, want to see communities that look like their own represented in advertising.

Moreover, it is within their communities that these segments discuss and evaluate marketing executions.

In other words, people do indeed share and discuss what they like and don’t like about advertising within their community.  The importance of this insight cannot be overstated, especially for Black and Hispanic consumers.  These segments are far more likely to talk about your ads, even if their respective racial/ethnic background isn’t the focus of the advertisement at hand!

To activate on the shared value of community connection, brands must therefore understand the power of authentically representing community across multicultural and other segments.

For most brands, the authentic representation of community and family offers pure upside: not only does it result in increased activation of the target group, it also resonates with other segments, who are drawn to the authentic representation of segments, even if not their own .

Read on for high-level takeaways and download the deck for more, including community profiles by race/ethnicity.

1. Black and Hispanic Americans Feel Most Connected to Their Racial/Ethnic Communities.

Hispanic consumers – especially within the Unacculturated Hispanic segment – have the strongest connection, with 76 percent feeling either “very” or “somewhat” connected to the broader Hispanic community. Asian consumers, on the other hand, feel a weaker connection to a broader Asian community, with only 58 percent feeling either “very” or “somewhat” connected. Given the important distinctions within the Asian segment based on country of origin, it makes sense that these consumers feel weaker affiliation with a sense of generalized Asian American identity.

2. Hispanic and Black Americans Lean More Heavily on Religion as Part of their Daily Lives.

While most Americans do ascribe to a religious tradition – with Christianity holding a plurality across racial/ethnic segments – only 1 in 5 adult consumers say they participate in a church group or other religious organization. The Hispanic segment, though, sees a higher rate of religious participation, at 25 percent. Black consumers are also more likely to have strong connections with their religious and spiritual communities, being most likely (19%) to turn to them for emotional support.

3. All Multicultural Segments Feel a Stronger Connection to their Neighborhoods and Cities.

Most Americans – including white consumers – identify strongly with the places they live. But Hispanic, Black, and Asian consumers all feel stronger connections to their neighborhoods or towns/cities. It is therefore essential to emphasize the role local communities play in daily life when trying to reach and resonate with multicultural America.

Across these three insights, and the others presented in the attached slides, there is a clear pattern: multicultural segments tend to be more connected with their communities.

White consumers are simply less engaged with community networks, whether geographic, online, spiritual, or cultural. To reach and resonate with multicultural America, brands and marketers must see these consumers not only as individuals, but also as members of vital and vibrant communities.

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