The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the U.S. population will be more racially and ethnically diverse by 2060 and that by 2045 collective minorities will become the new majority.
Hence, understanding the needs, values, and pain points across cultures is more important than ever for effective communication, collaboration, and understanding. It’s a superpower businesses can use to break down barriers, foster positive relationships, and create a world where everyone feels valued, heard, and represented.
However, research by Collage Group found that a staggering 63% of consumers feel brands are not conducting sufficient research when it comes to creating culturally relevant advertising. This means many consumers believe brand advertisements don’t resonate with their cultural experiences.
Now, let’s put these findings into perspective in terms of business outcomes. In 2021, the United States spent nearly $300 million on advertising. However, based on the aforementioned data, only 37% of consumers recognized this expenditure as culturally relevant. This suggests that a substantial portion, equivalent to $180 million in advertising, is perceived as culturally disconnected or out of touch.
On top of this, if a brand’s campaign disrespects an individual’s culture, then there are far-reaching and severe consequences. According to a recent comprehensive study conducted by the Cultural Marketing Council (CMC), the Voice of Hispanic Marketing, over half of individuals aged 13 to 49 have decided to sever ties with a brand that displayed cultural insensitivity, citing offense and disrespect towards their values as the primary reasons.
The statistics become even more alarming, with an astonishing 72% of Black female parents aged 25 to 49 expressing their discontent with culturally unaware brands and opting to disengage from them as a result. Furthermore, 30% of both teenagers and adults who’ve already abandoned a brand attribute their departure to advertising that appeared alongside offensive content.
In light of these insights, brands need to employ smarter approaches. As such, leading brands have made cultural fluency a top priority, relying on cultural intelligence to efficiently engage with diverse consumer segments.
Culturally fluent marketing places diverse consumers at the heart of a given campaign by incorporating their insights early in the marketing process. By doing this, brands gain a competitive advantage by launching campaigns that resonate with consumers as early as possible. Effective brands rely on trustworthy data, cultural intelligence, and proven culturally-centric insights to engage consumers, steering clear of subjective opinions and gut instincts. Without data-driven cultural intelligence, missteps are more likely to occur, potentially resulting in a backlash against campaigns and/or the entire brand.