Winning Brands Don't Compromise Their Focus on Diverse Consumers
Survive and thrive in economic downturn by appealing to the new center of American culture.

January 5, 2023
David Wellisch – CEO and Co-Founder

In this climate of high economic uncertainty, brands are scrambling to update budgets, forcing hard calls about where to spend and what to cut. Collage Group represents a crucial investment that helps brands protect share among the diverse consumers responsible for driving overall growth, many of whom will reward brands with stronger than expected spend and loyalty.

As in years past, we enter the new year facing many unknowns. Given these blind spots, companies across every industry face the pressure to play it safe and pull back on spending. For marketing departments in consumer products and services, it’s an especially confusing time; combining low unemployment with high inflation is playing havoc with our forecasts for consumer spending.

But one thing is certain: CFOs and CMO are asking organizations to do more with less, demanding teams find more efficient ways to reach as many consumers as possible with limited resources.

However, this cost-cutting mandate can lead to unfortunate consequences. Brands can oversimplify messaging at precisely the time when consumers are demanding that brands authentically reflect the cultural preferences of the many diverse identities that now define the mainstream.

As a result, brands sacrificing insights into diverse consumers are likely to lose share to savvier competitors who have placed the diverse consumer at the center of marketing.

These savvy brands are delivering superior marketing performance by organizing around three fundamental realities:

    1. A wide range of culturally diverse consumer segments has replaced a culturally unified general population.
    2. Brands must respect and authentically reflect the distinctive cultural preferences of each segment.
    3. Activating these diverse consumers is critical to brand performance, as they represent the principal source of spending and population growth. In fact, many multicultural consumers show surprising resilience in their spending intentions.

While an increasing number of brands recognize these realities, organizing around them is what differentiates winners from losers. At the very least, it seems intuitively more expensive, requiring brands to target multiple cultural groups in distinctly different ways. How can winners achieve success while avoiding cost increases?

The secret to their outperformance lies in the use of high-ROI Culturally Fluent strategies. These combine authentic cultural references with universal human themes to connect with the entirety of our new, diverse mainstream. Indeed, they are winning precisely because the way they deepen connection to culturally distinctive groups appeals to all segments within the mainstream.

These Culturally Fluent brands recognize that engaging diverse consumers not only is essential to driving positive outcomes in 2023 but also will enable them to leap-frog competitors when the economy improves.

Collage Group is the vendor of choice for leading brands seeking to win in today’s uncertain times. Founded in the Great Recession when budgets were tight, our shared-cost membership-based model offers a cost-effective, proven alternative to custom relationships that helps the world’s leading marketing organizations build the Cultural Fluency needed to access, engage and win the diverse consumers defining the mainstream.

    • The Collage Group experience begins by benchmarking the Cultural Fluency of each member’s brands using a robust database of category norms, growing from 400+ brands in 2022 to 1000 brands in 2023.
    • Members apply brand Cultural Fluency ratings to identify improvement opportunities and refine audience definition across multiple diverse segments. These insights guide teams on how to respond to the behavioral shifts of diverse consumers in areas across every category of consumer spending, shopping behavior, social and values priorities, positioning and messaging, preferred activation channels, and more.
    • Powered by advanced analytics and data science referencing a unique, continually updated database of 250+ million data points, brand-specific insights are configured to each member’s target audiences, through linkages both to the cultural traits of target consumers and to their category preferences.
    • Supported by insights into how their ads compare to a reference database of America’s most Culturally Fluent executions, Collage Group members are poised to accelerate brand performance throughout 2023 and beyond.

Five factors predict the superior performance of our members:

    1. Higher ROI and Cost Displacement: Every year, we invest millions of dollars in a large team of consumer insights experts, and continuous, member-driven syndicated surveys. This investment provides members with a 20x multiple on insights output when compared to the cost of a single full-time employee on their own team, or the price of membership. Members not only realize immediate, always-on value from this stream of work, but can also significantly reduce the scope and cost of any additional custom work required.
    2. Track Record of Impact on Member Outcomes: Everything we do is designed to impact brand performance, from Awareness to Purchase Intent to Repeat Purchase. Our insights have proven time and again to drive brand impact in changing times, such as when brands turned to Collage Group to understand how COVID and the social justice movements of 2020 were transforming consumer behavior across all segments.
    3. Always-on Access for Users: Collage Group’s Cultural Intelligence Platform, our core offering, includes more than 10 years of syndicated research, with new research out weekly, giving every user on your brand and marketing team continuous access to insights.
    4. Increased Organizational Alignment, Understanding and Empowerment: Our high-touch Customer Success organization fine tunes and curates these insights for each member, driving maximum impact on the member organization, enrolling staff in the mission, and supporting a roadmap that builds Cultural Fluency.
    5. Ability to Translate Our Cultural Expertise into Member Actions and Strategies: Collage Group leverages a deep bench of cultural experts, highly experienced at working with the Insights and Marketing professionals at the world’s leading brands. We are passionate about achieving each Member’s growth goals, whether powered by our syndicated insights or the proprietary custom insights prepared by our Solutions team.

We pride ourselves on being the provider most trusted by the world’s top brands for insights into the new American mainstream of diverse consumers.

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David Wellisch

David Wellisch
CEO and Co-Founder

David Wellisch is CEO & Co-Founder of Collage Group, a consumer insights and intelligence company with a focus on research exploring race/ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender. Since the inception of Collage Group in 2009, David has led the company through growth, now serving more than 200 brands in across 15 industries. David is passionate about entrepreneurship and company building, and often works directly with members to help guide the integration of multicultural consumer insights and marketing strategies.

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