Insights Scoop

Future-Proof Your Brand with Cultural Fluency

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

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.

This blog includes a small sample of the deep cultural intelligence available to our members. Contact us to learn how you can unlock full access to our Cultural Intelligence Engine.

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