The Journey to Cultural Fluency:
Using Culture to Connect Effectively and Efficiently Across Consumer Segments
Like many businesses, a national health care retailer recognized the dynamic transformation underway in American culture.
In 2020, the combination of the social justice movement and the COVID pandemic hit home especially hard, with so many of the retailer’s staff on the front lines. Across the enterprise, they took action, reflecting a deeper commitment to honoring America’s culturally diverse voices.
For the health care retailer’s Enterprise Insights team, they recognized a one-time investment in a research project or consultant was not enough. As the needs of the organization and of the consumer change too quickly, the company needed the support of a long-term partner.
• Align around best practice multicultural research standards and ensure Culturally Fluent research is practiced across the enterprise.
• Socialize culturally sensitive approaches to multicultural insights, to enable diversity, inclusion and marketing performance.
• Stay nimble to the organization’s emerging educational needs, and quickly hone-in on high-impact research opportunities as they emerge.
Collage Group designed a partnership solution for the health care retailer, leveraging a suite of research products and nimble service models, which included:
- Access to the Multicultural consumer research platform, for regular outputs of research on trends across culture into Hispanic, Black and Asian consumers.
- Expert support via “SME-Hours”, which includes access to in-cultural subject matter experts, seasoned marketing consultants, and research professionals to address ad hoc needs.
- Custom Research & Consulting Credits applied to “Black American Learning Series” for the staff, to educate and elevate the experience and voices of Black Americans specifically.
Insights gleaned from the health care retailer's partnership with Collage are now applied across the company, including in events sponsored by Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President of Workforce Strategies, its diversity team, in ads produced by its marketing team, and via in-store initiatives to ensure the company's customers and staff are treated fairly and equitably.
Through the approach, the health care retailer made progress in five areas. These included:
1. Achievement of a higher return from the partnership than from comparable alternatives.
Collage Group enables the health care retailer to stay tapped into needed, timely cultural insights into all major segments. According to the company, the partnership far exceeds returns from hiring a temporary in-house research lead or from returns on a single custom project (which might be perceived as one-time “check-the-box” approach that ultimately implies little commitment to lasting change).
2. Improvement in advertising effectiveness.
The healthcare retailer applied a CultureRate:Ad report included as part of membership to evaluate the Cultural Fluency Quotient of a recent Spanish-language pharmacy execution. According to the company, The CultureRate:Ad reporting provided deep insight into the drivers of Cultural Fluency across racial/ethnic groups. The learnings helped the retailer understand cultural nuances so they could take the action needed to produce more inclusive advertising.
3. Increased empathy with Black consumers across the entire Marketing organization.
The health care retailer hosted a Black Immersion Day with a variety of speakers to more deeply educate and energize their team. The Session featured Zekeera Belton, a Collage Group executive and Black Consumer SME, to both keynote and close the session. Zekeera layered in her personal experience to bring to life Collage Group’s rigorous data on the Cultural Traits of Black Consumers. As the main event during Immersion Day, the company reports that Zekeera’s presentation also motivated deeper use of insights recently provided by Collage Group’s Custom Solutions team a few weeks prior to the event.
4. Update to all internal research methodologies and processes to ensure Cultural Fluency.
With over 10+ years of experience conducting research among diverse and hard-to-reach consumer segments, Collage Group has developed a robust array of Multicultural Research Best Practices. In close collaboration with the health care retailer, Collage Group SMEs outlined and presented key learnings in conducting Multicultural Research to research groups across the enterprise. The company has adopted learnings from these presentations and continues to push thought-leadership in emerging research methodologies and best practices to ensure culturally inclusive learnings across all engagements.
5. Improvement in customer experience in retail operations. the company indicates that their leaders are now talking more regularly with colleagues in stores through a “colleague advisor panel” that connects leadership to frontline staff.
The company has now elevated a discussion of discrimination, where in-store staff see it most, and how issues appear in call-center operations. A new company “Bill of Rights” will now be posted in stores on how staff and customers should be treated.