NPR was founded 50 years ago with the mission to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. This mission remains front and center, as NPR leadership recently challenged the organization to reach a new “North Star”: to diversify the NPR audience to reflect, serve and inspire America. With this focused purpose in mind, NPR’s audience insights team came to Collage Group to gain expertise quickly and in alignment across the enterprise.
Collage Group partnered with NPR on a solution that would evaluate the perception of the brand among Multicultural consumers and identify key areas of growth opportunity. From there, NPR and Collage would dig deeper to unveil insights and define engagements to improve authentic engagement among key Multicultural segments.
Evaluation of the NPR brand on the CultureRate:Brand tool was one of the first steps taken by Collage Group to bring NPR closer to its goal of reflecting, serving and inspiring all Americans.
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Through CultureRate:Brand, the NPR brand was evaluated on the Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ), which measures how well brands are resonating with consumers. It assessed NPR along six key cultural dimensions: brand fit, relevance, memories, values, trust and advocacy. The B-CFQ Threshold then helped illuminate for NPR where they stood with diverse consumers.
“We were surprised and delighted to learn what we were doing well through the CultureRate report,” says Lori Kaplan, NPR’s Senior Director of Audience Insights. “The report also enabled us to dig deeper into the areas where we still had work to do. For us, this was specifically within the Hispanic and Black communities.”
Based on the B-CFQ, NPR performed well among relevance, trust, advocacy and values. The team was able to leverage this data–combined with an earlier CultureRate:Ad study that revealed existing creative was not resonating among Multicultural audiences–as a jumping point for commissioning an additional, qualitative research project. What followed was a study that unveiled how NPR could emerge as a “go to” media source across Multicultural consumer groups. Further, it helped them understand why they were falling behind within some Multicultural consumer segments.
As a result of the CultureRate:Brand evaluation and custom qualitative research study, NPR was able to answer a key question, “What do audiences want?”
“The research found that Multicultural audiences want to be heard,” says Kaplan. “They want to know that NPR is for them. And, they will see their experiences in our shows and content.”
To respond to this insight, NPR developed new ad creative concepts that Collage Group Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) evaluated for resonance among Multicultural audiences. The final product was the development of a podcast advertising campaign intended to appeal across Multicultural consumer segments with the tagline “More Voices. All Ears.” The campaign aims to illustrate listening, reflecting and sharing across communities and cultures. Further, it incorporates bolder, more inclusive, authentic messages.
The Collage Group CultureRate:Ad study, which tested this “More Voices. All Ears” ad, demonstrated that the campaign raised brand favorability and intent to use among Hispanic, Black and Asian audiences. Complementary research showed that awareness of NPR rose significantly among Black and Hispanic audiences during the campaign period. A qualitative study underscores that the campaign piqued curiosity, stimulated senses and stirred imaginations and helped serve as a “welcome mat” into NPR podcasts. That said, the CultureRate:Ad study also highlighted areas for the marketing team to make the link to NPR stronger and to reduce points of confusion. These were useful learnings to infuse into the next iteration of the campaign. Further, the NPR team found such value in the CultureRate:Ad study that they will be testing several more ads for additional campaigns.