CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

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CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

Using our CultureRate database, we analyzed over 500 brands and 100 ads gathered across the last 12 months to establish a set of lessons that help marketers better connect with today’s “New Wave” consumers between 18 and 41, across race and ethnicity.

June 7, 2022
David Evans – Chief Insights Officer

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Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our CultureRate:Brand – Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects presentation.

Brands Are Challenged by Rising Cultural Diversity and Polarization

As shown in research accompanying this initiative, marketing and insights leaders face increasing pressure to translate the rapid cultural transformation underway in the U.S. marketplace into clear action steps for brands. From 2020 to 2021, we witnessed an astonishing 10 percentage point-plus increase in the already-high importance of race and ethnicity for multicultural consumers, even as satisfaction of portrayals fell by an average of 8 percentage points.

Multicultural American support brands that support them

One thing is for certain: the increase in multicultural consciousness that arose in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns and George Floyd’s murder has not reverted to norm. Cultural Fluency is emerging as a new mandate for marketing as a whole, and can no longer be understood as a sideshow to the main act of mainstream marketing. Cultural Fluency demands that brands use culture to connect effectively and authentically within and across segments.

How CultureRate:Ad Reveals Powerful New Insights

To address these issues, we launched CultureRate in 2018, a brand and creative evaluation methodology that is now providing our members with powerful new insights into brand and ad performance across cultural groups.

CultureRate is different from any anything on the market today, in four distinct ways:

    • Culture is Intrinsic to the Entire Approach: CultureRate positions culture as the primary lens through which to understand diverse segments.
    • CultureRate is Grounded in Science of Group Emotion and Rationality: Our approach is based on long-ignored research into the psychology of group emotion and emerging insights from evolutionary psychology into the role of rationality as a mechanism for signaling group affiliation. CultureRate breaks new ground by fully recognizing that consumers not only make decisions to buy products on a path toward optimization of personal net benefits and self-actualization, but also make decisions as a member of group. We have learned nothing since 2016, if not the importance of this phenomenon and the degree to which it completely reframes our understanding of human behavior.
    • Rigorously Validated Metrics: We undertook an exhaustive process to identify metrics that matter, identifying the six most critical component metrics for CultureRate:Brand through an exhaustive review of 20 candidate metrics to derive the critical six that optimally reflected cultural dimensions while predicting brand favorability.
    • Linkage to Cultural Traits of Consumers: methodology is integrated within Collage Group’s Cultural Traits system, a rigorously proven method for measuring cultural variation, that enables marketing professions to link how using cultural insights into specific segments improve ad and brand effectiveness. Explore how Cultural Trait analysis works when applied to Black consumers

Unrivaled Rigor and Database Depth

The methodology introduces two important new metrics: the Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ) and the Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient (A-CFQ), composed of six and four subcomponent metrics respectively, both of which were designed to optimally predict favorability and purchase intent. A-CFQ is also complemented by Backlash, which takes conventional brand favorability a step further by quantifying the degree to which an ad can “flip” perception from positive to negative or vice versa. Combining A-CFQ and Backlash metrics for target segments reveal the dynamics that make ads successful.

Top Lessons for More Inclusive Marketing

For this research we filtered our database to derive a high-quality sample of around 250,000 consumer responses to over 300 brands and 100 ads for the population of 18-41 year old Americans we dub the “New Wave.”  We focus on this younger segment because it is the first in American history to grow up in a culturally and intrinsically diverse environment and thereby redefining the future of values and respect for diversity that will make or break brands in the next years. Our research into brand performance revealed that:
    • Brands need to appreciate the different reasons multicultural Americans love brands.
    • Multicultural consumers are much more likely to appreciate brands when they specifically see that the brand is for “people like me.” Gain an edge: go to extremes to show how your brand is for multicultural Americans. 
    • Trust is a game changer for Black Americans. Lean into opportunities to show how your brand has supported the segment, how your brand embodies values core to the segment, and/or connects to the Black Group Trait of Perseverance.
    • Hispanic Americans’ uniquely express their affiliation for a brand through their willingness to advocate for the brand to others. Leverage Hispanic Group Traits of Warmth and being Tuned-In to prime them to be a trend-setter on your behalf. Give Hispanic consumers a reason to talk about your brand and they will reward you with mentions, word of mouth and other opportunities to drive earned media attention.

Our research into ad performance revealed that:

    • Halo effects are much more common than you think, even as targeted ads remain important, especially for Black and Hispanic consumers
2021 Top 20 Ads: Black Halo Effects
    • Brands can drive inclusivity by showing how consumers are part of a spectrum of shared experience. Associate Black or Hispanic agency with the Passion Points of other groups.
    • Cross-generational familial bonds provide immense power for storytelling: The extended family relationships of younger consumers are your unsung opportunity.
    • Black consumers will punish you for poor representational choices, especially on themes that are universal. Ensure any “vignette” approach to a universal experience includes Black people.
    • Culturally-specific humor may not halo well. Increase the reliability of halo effects by appealing to universal themes of Connection (family, friends, and community).
    • Social justice messages that address multicultural issues work well when the consumers see the direct benefit of an investment in opportunity for real people.
    • The preferences of White consumers may be a poor guide for the general market appeal.

Collage Group members receive one free evaluation of a brand and of an ad of your choice. Members frequently combine CultureRate:Brand and CultureRate:Ad analyses to track how changes in advertising performance impact brand performance over time. Contact us at the form below to learn more.

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David Evans
Chief Insights Officer

David serves as the Chief Insights Officer responsible for content, data science and innovation. He is passionate about creating the critical insights that can transform the fortunes of our members, informing how we create an unparalleled member experience with our products, and build great places to work.

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Holidays and Occasions: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s

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Holidays and Occasions: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s

Learn how American consumers across racial and ethnic segments prepare for and celebrate the winter holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

The beginning of winter brings a multitude of holidays for Americans to celebrate. While revelers will still have to cope with COVID-19 protocols during the 2021 festivities, vaccines and experience may better equip Americans to celebrate more openly this year than last. With an eye toward shifts in consumer behavior we bring you our updated findings from the 2021 Holidays & Occasions study to help your brand understand consumers’ changing expectations and how they plan to celebrate during this holiday season.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research presentation,  Multicultural Holidays & Occasions.

Christmas is one of the most beloved and widely celebrated holidays in America. Over three-quarters of each racial and ethnic segment celebrate it, with its highest popularity among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Americans. Consumers from many backgrounds celebrate the holiday by enjoying seasonal food, listening to Christmas music, and putting up festive decorations.

However, multicultural consumers say that their Christmas celebrations often differ from typical depictions. Cultural nuance at Christmas is key information for brands producing traditional Christmas marketing content as it may land as unrelatable to some Americans consumers. often Over a quarter of Hispanic and Asian consumers agreed that their versions of Christmas celebrations split from a standard “American Christmas.” This is often the case because of the inclusion of cultural celebrations.

Christmas celebration traditions

Hispanics often celebrate Christmas through several holidays such as Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), Three Kings Day (January 6th), Las Posadas (the 9 nights leading up to Christmas), and Tamaladas (a Christmastime tamale-making party). Highlighting these holidays activities during the winter months is a great way to connect with Hispanic consumers.

Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day holiday observed on the 25th day of Kislev (typically in December). Also known as the festival of lights, this holiday is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried foods. Though fewer than one in ten Americans celebrate the holiday, over a third of all consumers actively welcome brands to celebrate it through advertising and marketing efforts.

American retailer Target was able to successfully do this in their most recent holiday ad campaign “The Holidays Are Meant To Be Shared” which features a family celebrating Hanukkah by lighting the menorah, among several other different holiday activities.

Kwanzaa, a seven-night holiday observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, is a holiday to honor African American and Pan-African culture and traditions and celebrates African American unity. Though not widely popular with the total population, the holiday holds great importance for many Black Americans. According to our study, 18% of Black Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. This is also a holiday for brands to consider celebrating. About 30% of Black consumers agreed that all brands should celebrate Kwanzaa in their advertising. This provides the opportunity for brands to highlight Kwanzaa and its traditions to educate Americans unfamiliar with the holiday and connect with Black consumers.

Finally, New Year’s also provides brands an opportunity to be the life of the party. New Year’s is celebrated by most Americans across all ethnic groups, though Hispanics are particularly likely to enjoy the festivities. Although sparkling wine is typically a toasting drink to usher in the new year, other alcoholic beverages play a prominent role in the celebration. Hispanic consumers are most likely to drink beer and hard cider during their celebrations, while Black consumers are most likely to drink liquor/spirits.

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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn how Gen Z women stand out for their prioritization of reducing sexism.

2017 was a pivotal year for women in the U.S. The day after President Trump was inaugurated, millions of Americans across the U.S. participated in the largest single-day protest – The Women’s March – to support gender equality and protest the President’s anti-women statements. Later that year, the #MeToo movement gained momentum as more women broke their silence as survivors of sexual abuse and revealed the prevalence of sexual violence against women. With increased visibility on women’s issues, women have reported that their gender identity has become more important to them over the past few years. This is especially true of Gen Z women; 55% agree that their gender is now a more important aspect of their identity than it used to be. Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how Americans’ identities shape their views on social and political issues, and what they expect from brands like yours in engaging with these issues.

In a recent study, Collage Group asked Americans what three social and political issues are most important to them and found that Gen Z women are unique in wanting to see the reduction of sexism in society. 33% of Gen Z women feel reducing sexism is one of the most important social or political issues today, compared to just 10% of Millennial women, 7% of Gen X women, and 3% of Boomer women.

Gen Z women’s perceptions on the importance of reducing sexism is even more pronounced when it comes to their support of brands. Over half of Gen Z women will reward brands that support reducing sexism. And while older women tend to prioritize other social and political issues over sexism, many are still more likely to support brands that will confront sexism.

Across generations, women want brands to address sexism by paying them equally to men for the same jobs and offering training for employees so they can identify sexism and combat it. Gen Z women, however, stand out from older women by wanting brands to address sexism in other ways too. Half of Gen Z women also want brands to hire women to leadership positions. And over one in four want brands to make public statements about sexism and donate money to organizations that work to reduce sexism.

Contact us to find out how you can access the full America Now report with these insights and much more.

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America Now: Younger LGBTQ+ Americans Have High Expectations for Brands

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America Now: Younger LGBTQ+ Americans Have High Expectations for Brands

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn more about LGBTQ+ consumers, their perspective on gender and sexual identities, and what they expect from brands like yours.

Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how they view different aspects of their own identity. Race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, and gender are just a few of the many elements of a person’s identity impacting how people see themselves and shaping their expectations for brands. LGBTQ+ Americans, especially those who are younger, tell us that their sexuality is becoming an increasingly important aspect of their identity. As a result, brands have to step up their inclusive marketing practices and oftentimes that means deftly engaging with social and political issues.

In a recent survey, Collage Group asked people to choose the most important aspect of their identity. Personality came out on top, followed by race, and country of origin. Just 8 percent of LGBTQ+ people responded that sexuality is the most important aspect of their identity. However, the importance of sexual identity is on the rise for this segment. Over 50 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that their sexuality has become an increasingly important part of their identity in recent years. This is especially true for those between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. Younger LGBTQ+ are also significantly more likely to say their sexuality plays an increasingly important role in their identity than older LGBTQ+ Americans.

Importance of Sexual Identity for LGBTQ+ People

As sexuality becomes a more important element in how LGBTQ+ see themselves, brands must improve their efforts to accurately represent sexuality and gender in advertising — especially when targeting younger and multicultural LGBTQ+ consumers. Only 39 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents say they’re satisfied with portrayals of their sexuality in advertising, significantly less than the approximately 53 percent of non-LGBTQ+ respondents who agree. Seeing their own sexual identity portrayed in advertising matters a lot to 42 percent of young LGBTQ+, significantly higher than older LGBTQ+ respondents. Similarly, for gender portrayals, over a third of all LGBTQ+ say it matters a lot to see advertisements with people of the same gender identity. Doing this comes with great benefits, as young LGBTQ+ are more likely to buy products and services from brands that challenge gender stereotypes in their advertisements.

LBTBQ+ Americans identify more with their sexuality

Beyond mere representation in advertising, LGBTQ+ consumers also desire to see brands engage in social and political issues impacting their community. About 40 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that brands should focus on social and political issues even if they don’t directly relate to their products and services. 

Overall, most LGBTQ+ respondents prefer brands to get involved by educating consumers about LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination. However, young LGBTQ+ consumers would also like to see brands hire more LGBTQ+ in leadership positions and donate to LGBTQ+ causes.

America Now - LGBTQ and Identity - Collage Group

Contact us to find out how you can access the full America Now report with these insights and much more.

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Start 2022 Strong with New Diverse Consumer Insights

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Start 2022 Strong with New Diverse Consumer Insights

More than 200 of America’s top brands have access to the deep cultural insights needed to engage America’s diverse consumers. Do you? Here’s an overview of the new reports we’re releasing in Q1 2022 and beyond that you’re missing out on. Contact us today for access:

​Health and Wellness

Explore how consumer attitudes and behaviors toward health and wellness are evolving across diverse segments, including barriers to access, provider preferences, and more.

Small Business Owners in America

Learn how to connect authentically with America’s small business owners. This research gives you a look into the attitudes and behaviors of culturally diverse owners and includes action items to integrate marketing best practices for effective engagement.

LGBTQ+ Terminology​

Engage the LGBTQ+ community with a deeper understanding of changing expectations and trends in self-identification. Understand the meaning and preferences for terms like non-binary and intersex, and the nuances of personal pronouns. Dig deeper into the labels and/or identifiers each segment prefers and double-click by age, race/ethnicity, and gender when relevant.

CultureRate:Brand & Ad

Assess the Cultural Fluency of your brand and ads and explore how you stack up vs. your competitors. Members of our consumer research platforms have access to a dedicated report on a brand and ad.

New Launches in 2022

Also rolling out in 2022 are the launch of a new program and add-on module. More details on timing and content of these releases are coming soon.

Parents & Kids

In 2022, Collage Group will continue to expand our research into new territories. This includes a new research program exploring cultural variations in the attitudes and behaviors of parents and kids.

Medical Conditions

This add-on module for members who have a current demographic subscription will cover health care-related attitudes and behaviors of consumers with various medical diagnoses. The conditions and intersections covered will be released in February, but will likely include conditions such as chronic pain, depression, diabetes and more across race and ethnicity.  

Collage Group members have access to more than 10 years of consumer insights in over 300 studies with new data unveiled 3-to-4 times a month. As a member, you also get to the full reports recently released, including: Holidays & Occasions, Passion Points, Cultural Traits, Digital & Media and Category Essentials. Contact us to learn more about membership. 

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