Future-Proof Your Brand with Cultural Fluency

The American consumer landscape is constantly evolving, and marketing strategies must evolve to keep pace.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

June 14, 2023
David Evans – Chief Insights Officer

According to our analysis of U.S. Census data, the non-Hispanic White population shrunk by 2.5% between 2017 and 2021, while the Multicultural population grew by about 8% during the same period.

Concurrently, it’s becoming increasingly clear that consumers no longer accept the idea of a “monolithic mainstream” or “general population,” which does not represent the full diversity of communities and culture across America.

Read on to learn more and go deeper in my latest video.

According to our research, 63% of consumers overall agree that brands do not conduct enough research when they incorporate diversity in their advertising. In other words, these consumers do not see brands producing culturally relevant advertising. Even 62% of White consumers agree with this statement.

Let’s translate that into business outcomes: In 2021, the U.S. spent almost $300 million on advertising. However, based on the data above, only 37% of consumers recognized this spend as culturally relevant. It’s not hard to argue that the remainder, equating to $180 million in advertising, is perceived as culturally out of touch.

Brands must work smarter. Unfortunately, targeted marketing to individual diverse consumer segments is often too expensive, so brands must reach these communities in other ways. The solution adopted by a handful of leading brands is make Cultural Fluency a top priority. They rely on cultural intelligence to efficiently and effectively connect across diverse consumer segments. One of the key approaches used by these brands is to drive the “Halo Effect”: the positive impact on consumers far beyond the original “target” segment.

Culturally Fluent marketing puts diverse consumers at the center of the mainstream by incorporating diverse consumer insights early in marketing, allowing brands to get ahead of competitors as early as possible in their campaigns. Effective brands rely on hard data, cultural intelligence and proven, culturally specific insights to engage consumers, instead of relying on opinion and gut instinct. Without data-driven cultural intelligence, missteps are easy and can lead to campaigns that result in backlash. Worse, as we’ve seen with Bud Light and Target, they can result in a decline in revenue and dropped shareholder value.

To learn how to leverage Cultural Fluency to your advantage, contact us.

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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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