Understanding Multicultural Terminology

Cultural Fluency, or the ability to use culture to connect effectively and authentically within and across consumer segments, is an emerging priority for brands. Understanding and embracing multicultural terminology is a key component of the cultural fluency journey.

Applying Multicultural Terminology

Brands Are Challenged by Rising Cultural Diversity and Polarization.

Perceptions of US Racial and Ethnic Identity Change with timeResearch and insights leaders face enormous pressure to translate the rapid cultural transformation underway in the U.S. marketplace into clear action steps for their brands.

In 2020, cultural change rapidly accelerated, given the sudden shifts in consumer values and behaviors driven by COVID-19 and the heightened recognition of the social justice movement. CMOs began 2021 with the demand that their insights and marketing teams adopt new and more inclusive approaches to engaging America’s diverse population. “Cultural Fluency” has emerged as a new mandate: the ability to use culture to connect effectively and authentically within and across segments.

Getting language and labels right is a key component of authentically engaging across America’s diverse consumer segments. Our research-centered insights unveil consumer reaction to terms like Latinx and BIPOC, the nuances of Hispanic vs. Latino and Black vs. African American, and the most preferred terminology for Asian Americans.

Learn What Factors Influence Multicultural Terminology Preferences

Companies are worried about getting it wrong bar chartThe challenges insights professionals face with respect to multicultural terminology are growing as American consumers, fueled by recent social events, embrace their racial, ethnic, and intersectional identities.

This presentation explores how personal characteristics such as race, ethnicity, country of origin, generation, and gender influence self-identification and preferences for specific labels. Insights and marketing professionals can use these findings to craft outreach and messaging that respects consumer preferences and signals empathy and understanding.

Additionally, many insights professionals fail to recognize and account for the diversity within the Hispanic population that is especially important when it comes to terminology and preferred labels. This presentation also provides an overview of Collage Group’s proprietary Hispanic Acculturation model and a breakdown of preferred identifiers by acculturation level. These findings can be leveraged to improve engagement among specific Hispanic segments, including those that are Spanish-dominant.

Further, researchers unfamiliar with multicultural America often struggle to identify the correct terminology to use in surveys and may accidentally bias their results in ways they fail to appreciate. This research helps insights professionals understand the nuances of multicultural terminology, including the positive or negative sentiment in-culture consumers associate with specific terms. These findings can be used by insights professionals to craft more effective surveys.

Top Lessons for More Inclusive Research

Leveraging data from over 6,000 respondents across three surveys fielded in 2020, this presentation explores how multicultural Americans approach the many options available to them for personal self-identification. While the language surrounding multicultural identity has evolved over the past years in public discourse, multicultural Americans themselves are mostly neutral or negative about the proliferation of many new options others use on their behalf. When engaging multicultural research participants, insights professionals should be mindful to present options aligning with how these individuals prefer to think of themselves.

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