Apply the Halo Effect to Drive Brand Growth

Many consumers prefer to buy from a brand that visibly supports their race and ethnicity. 

Reading Time: 3 minutes

May 8, 2023
David Evans – Chief Insights Officer

Collage Group data shows that when brands effectively engage a specific consumer segment they can achieve a Halo Effect: a positive impact on consumers not included in the original “target” segment. The most competitive marketing organizations are now using Halo Effects to break the trade off between marketing spend that targets diverse segments and spend intended to appeal to the whole mainstream. Halo Effects leverage insights that authentically resonate with a particular diverse segment, and also connect with people outside that segment – or even the whole mainstream market.

Watch this short video to see how brands leverage the Halo Effect

According to a survey conducted by Collage Group, the majority of diverse consumers prefer to buy from brands that support them. And interest has increased significantly over time. 

By using Cultural Fluency, defined as using cultural intelligence to efficiently and effectively connect across segments, brands can reach the new, diverse mainstream consumer. Culturally Fluent brands generate high ROI on their mainstream campaigns because they use insights to navigate nuance and complexity while leveraging cultural specifics to target specific segments. Brands that apply diverse consumer insights as early as possible in their marketing processes can accelerate past competitors and avoid cultural landmines.

Through ongoing research and insights grounded in our CultureRate database, Collage Group discovered the phenomenon of the Halo Effect. This effect can be seen in Subaru’s cross-trek girl’s trip ad (featured in the video above). Targeted at Hispanic consumers, the ad scored in the top third of all consumers and scores even higher for Black and White consumers than for the Hispanic consumers it targets. The ad features a multigenerational family that authentically reflected the attachment Hispanic Americans feel for extended family members, a connection which of course resonates with everyone.

Band-Aid also achieved Halo Effects in one of Collage Group’s top-rated ads from 2021 (featured in the video above). The ad showed how specific multicultural targeting can engage all groups, including major parts of the White segment. It works because it activates different dimensions of Cultural Fluency. The ad resonated strongly with Black consumers, because of its “relevance,” the feeling that the product was for people like them. The product and the ad are intended for multicultural consumers, generally, with an emphasis on connecting with Black consumers. However, the ad also resonated with many White and Asian consumers who viewed the message of inclusiveness as important. According to a Black millennial man we interviewed: “This ad was awesome. It showed how Band-Aid is about inclusivity and making Band-Aids for all shades now.” 

The Halo Effect achieved by this ad in particular illustrates how Asian and White consumers can respond strongly to this feature of “relevance”. For example, a White Gen Z woman in the study stated: “I LOVED it. It’s really amazing to see Band-Aids coming in all skin tones. Being racially available to EVERYONE is important. The future is bright!”

Using broadly appealing cultural nuance to put specific multicultural consumers at the center of mainstream marketing is powerful. That is the essence of the Halo Effect: brands design their messaging to target select groups while leveraging other aspects of the message to reach a broader audience.

The Halo Effect is a key component for brands to unleash the power of culture to drive brand growth – Collage Group’s mission. Surfacing the similarities and differences across cultural segments and helping brands activate to drive real ROI is one of many reasons why more than 300 iconic American brands turn to Collage Group for diverse consumer insights for growth.

Contact Collage Group today to learn more about how you can get started on your Cultural Fluency journey.

Other Multicultural Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

David Evans

David Evans

David serves as the Chief Insights Officer responsible for all syndicated content and thought leadership. He is passionate about leading the teams that reveal insights into consumers that can transform the fortunes of our members, make these actionable in our products and experience, and build great places to work. Before joining Collage Group in 2018, David served in a variety of senior roles in data, analytics and syndicated research organizations, including Cushman & Wakefield as Strategic Advisor, CoStar Group as Vice President of Research, and the White House where he founded the Office of Executive Councils in 2011. From 1998 to 2009, he worked at the Corporate Executive Board (now Gartner), serving ultimately as Chief Researcher for a $100 million division covering eight major business units. David holds a Diploma (M.Arch equivalent) from the Architectural Association in London and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Before pursuing a business career, David worked as an architect in the UK, France and Germany, and published and exhibited widely. David was born in London to American and Canadian parents. He lives in Bethesda with his wife Juliette Searight and younger Generation Alpha daughter, while avidly following his older Generation Z daughter’s journey into adulthood in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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