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The Cultural Fluency Imperative: How to Win the “New Wave” of Diverse, Young Consumers

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The Cultural Fluency Imperative: How to Win the “New Wave” of Diverse, Young Consumers
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The 2019 Roundtable Series inaugurated a new chapter in the way we help organizations activate young diverse consumers. Learn about our Cultural Fluency Framework and how applying our three-part approach can help connect your brand equities more reliably to the Group Traits of these consumers.

How should marketers reach younger and more diverse Americans, the generation between 18 and 39 whose spending is set to explode?  To answer this question, we enhanced the Cultural Fluency framework we first introduced in 2017, to better increase the ROI on marketing to a diverse America.

Listen to or download this presentation to learn about:

  1. Our three-part framework for deepening Cultural Fluency for the New Wave.
  2. Details of the New Wave Group Traits, covering the “what, how and where” of marketing to this segment.
  3. Case study examples outlining how a handful of leading brands are activating against these Traits.

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How to Win America’s New Wave of Multicultural Consumers

The Cultural Fluency Imperative

Indeed, applying a demographic lens alone is not only superficial and impractical, but also ignores the commonalities that bind people together across different cultural experiences.

For that reason, we have developed an exhaustive analytical method for understanding how cultures vary, identifying six cultural attributes that can be used to culturally profile any segment.  This work has formed the foundation of our Essentials of Multicultural and Generational Marketing work.

And for younger Americans in particular, this approach is especially important.  This group has grown up in an environment of intrinsic diversity not experienced by older generations, and which unites their consumption behavior across demographic labels. We call this group the “New Wave” of consumers, those consumers born into an America that was already intrinsically diverse.

According to our research, New Wavers possess six Group Traits as shown in the graphic below.

Understanding “What to Say”

Marketers can use this framework to first understand the core cultural attributes underlying how culture is expressed in the Group Traits of any particular segment.  In this presentation we apply the model to the New Wave.  Please review our Essentials work to see how the model is applied to Multicultural and Generational Segments, or contact your Client Services representative to learn more about applying the framework to your subcategory.

Understanding “How to Say It”

Marketers can use this visual to understand the four elements that impact the cultural fluency of their advertising.  Our CultureRate:Ad creative assessment methodology takes this one step further by applying machine learning to decipher why different groups respond so differently to advertising.  Learn more about Adrate or contact your Client Services representative to commission your own engagement to evaluate the Cultural Fluency of your advertising and to what extent you are exposed to backlash.

Understanding “Where to Say It”

Knowing what to say and how to say it are necessary but not sufficient to connect with the New Wave: marketers must also “show up and connect” in the places that matter to the New Wave – whether in experiential, traditional media, social media, in-store or via various forms of influence.  In 2019, we investigated word-of-mouth  social networks in multicultural segments. 

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Motherhood in the Age of Social Media

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Motherhood in the Age of Social Media

While consumers of all ages and backgrounds engage in social media, Millennial and Gen X moms participate in specific social media behaviors that marketers and insights professionals need to understand.

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How to Navigate the Streaming Revolution in a Diverse America

December 4th | 2PM

FOR many moms, social media provides community and social interaction during a hectic and isolating season of life. It’s a place where they can turn to friends and strangers alike for crucial parenting advice, life hacks, and tried-and-true product recommendations as they navigate motherhood. Many even seek out information directly from brands on social media such as product details, promotions, and sales. In fact, Millennial and Gen X moms (those with children aged 14 or younger)


actually use social media at higher rates than their non-mom female counterparts
to obtain product and brand information.

As the graph below shows, about two-thirds of all moms (of children 14 or younger) “like” or “follow” products or brands on social media. This is especially the case for non-Hispanic moms, who are about twice as likely to do so as non-Hispanic non-moms: 66% versus 33% respectively. 

This indicates that moms are leaning on social media as a trusted source for product information beyond traditional media advertising and brands’ e-commerce sites. Brands that lack an accessible and descriptive social media page that showcases their offerings will be behind the curve with the many moms who rely on this source of product information.

More so than non-moms, most moms across segments like sharing their experiences and opinions about products and brands on social media. This is especially true for non-Hispanic moms, who again, are about twice as likely to engage in this way than non-Hispanic non-moms (63% versus 32%). Their difference with Hispanic moms (50%) is also statistically significant. If your brand wants to facilitate dialogue and shared experience on social media, then you should target those most inclined to participate: non-Hispanic moms followed by Hispanics moms.

You may be wondering which non-Hispanic segment(s) is driving the non-Hispanic mom over-index. We are too! So we’re going to be conducting research and digging deeper into the non-Hispanic moms group in 2020.

Both of the above data points align with trends we’re seeing on social media today. A growing number of moms are stepping into influencer roles to capitalize on the community and wealth of product recommendations they’ve accumulated through experience. For example, Claudia Felix-Garay (@thelatinamom), a Hispanic mom influencer with over 80k followers, Naomi Davis (@taza), a non-Hispanic White mom influencer with 463k followers, and Jennifer Borget (@jenniferborget), a Black mom influencer with over 90k followers all run accounts that evolved out of successful blogs. They write about their lives as mothers while also inviting readers to adopt aspects of their lifestyle by sharing what products they use and places they like to go. Brands that are interested in partnering with powerful social media influencers should consider moms!

As you head into the end of the year and prepare for your next social media push, remember to keep these stats (and moms!) in mind.  And keep an eye out for upcoming blogs on moms and our moms study coming out in 2020.

Feast on This: Generational Insights on Thanksgiving Celebrations

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Feast on This: Generational Insights on Thanksgiving Celebrations

THANKSGIVING: the classic foodie holiday everyone knows and loves. Make Thanksgiving stand out by activating on these generational insights that reveal some untraditional perspectives on ways consumers celebrate Turkey Day.

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​Essentials of African American Consumers

November 13th | 2PM

Thanksgiving is a widely celebrated and lighthearted holiday that presents brands with an opportunity to stay top-of-mind with consumers before holiday shopping rolls around. To appeal to Gen Z and Millennial consumers, segments that prize authenticity and experiences, brands need to show up in a genuine and engaging way. In summer of 2019, Collage Group fielded a survey to 2,800 people and analyzed the data to help members understand how to connect authentically with these young consumers around a variety of holidays. Below are three learnings from this research initiative that will help you connect with Gen Z and Millennials at Thanksgiving.

1. Gen Z and Millennials increasingly spend Thanksgiving with friends, reflected in the growing popularity of “Friendsgiving.” Use this as a secondary opportunity to activate consumers around the Thanksgiving holiday and stretch the time span of holiday consumption.

“Who do you celebrate Thanksgiving with?”

2. Almost half of consumers do not drink alcohol with their Thanksgiving meal. Appeals to alcohol consumption are best targeted at Millennials and coincide with the “Friendsgiving” narrative. For a family-centered approach, highlight other ways the holiday is festive, such as baking or watching football together.

“What do you tend to drink on Thanksgiving?”

3. Younger cohorts value nontraditional activities to celebrate Thanksgiving such as spending time with friends or shopping. Present younger consumers, especially those age 23-28, with opportunities for a holistic and unique shopping experience that doesn’t require them to sacrifice family time.

“What do you need to do to celebrate Thanksgiving properly?”

Download a Sample of the Research.

Spooky Stats to Keep You up at Night: The GenYZ Halloween Insights Deep Dive

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Spooky Stats to Keep You up at Night: The GenYZ Halloween Insights Deep Dive
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With Halloween a little over a month away, brands are starting to roll out their creepy (or festive!) campaigns. Keep the following generation-specific insights in mind while you finalize your campaign or consider a quick social media activation. Beware…creepy but creative activations and frighteningly useful insights lie ahead!

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Understanding America’s Cultural Transformation

October 16th | 2:00 PM

1. Eating and giving out candy is a major component of most consumers’ Halloween. Build activations related to trick-or-treating activities and sweets for all ages, not just children.

2. While Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to describe their Halloween celebrations as lively and rowdy, 18-28 year-olds are the most likely to celebrate Halloween at a party. When targeting 18-28 year-olds, tap into these younger consumers’ exceptionalist tendencies with aspirational, lively party vibes. This approach is particularly well-suited for alcohol brands that have the right to play in the party space.

Americans of all ages celebrate Halloween with a wide variety of activities, not only trick-or-treating and parties. Brands have numerous avenues to make themselves relevant such as home decorations, costumes, and haunted houses. Pursue options that allow your brand to seamlessly fit into the Halloween season.

Beyond the OTT Revolution: How Gen Z & Millennial Viewers are Reshaping Entertainment Media

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Beyond the OTT Revolution: How Gen Z & Millennial Viewers are Reshaping Entertainment Media
Connor Wahrman
Connor Wahrman

Connor is an Senior Analyst on the Product & Content team, conducting statistical and machine learning analysis of Collage's survey data. Before joining Collage, Connor received an M.A. in Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences from Columbia University.

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September 25th, 2019

2:00 PM

As the marketplace for online shows and movies gets more and more crowded, reaching young viewers increasingly feels like swimming upstream. These are the insights you need to maximize the share of Gen Z & Millennial eyeballs on your content, platforms, or advertisements.

TODAY’S young consumers and households have high expectations for their show and movie providers. And it’s not because they’re entitled or picky – they’ve just happened to grow up in an extraordinary period of innovation, both in terms of how people access media and the diversity of high-quality content available.

From 1990 to 2010, when Gen Z viewers were just children, the world saw a revolution in entertainment media technology. Digital streaming to personal devices displaced the cable box for many households, and these kids were free to watch whatever they wanted, wherever they wanted. This unprecedented access to content continues to influence their consumer attitudes and behaviors today.

And direct-to-consumer media content allowed for the growth of media giants who don’t have to cater to all of America with their prime-time content. Today’s young consumers are floating down an endless stream of great TV tailored to their specific interests. They’ve matured in the age of “peak TV,” and they don’t expect to crest it any time soon.

These trends impact not only media providers, but also the brands who historically have advertised through them. If young viewers expect more control over their higher-quality media content, it stands to reason that they will be more sensitive towards advertising. Advertisers need to adapt to capture and keep viewer attention, both through rethinking product-content integrations and optimizing the advertisement experience.

To help Collage Group members navigate this new media landscape, in July 2019 we conducted a nationally representative survey of 3085 respondents, oversampling Gen Z and Millennial respondents for precision within these segments. With our members’ input, we designed a survey and conjoint analysis testing key hypotheses on how Millennial and Gen Z consumers compare to older generations, and one another, when it comes to shows and movies.

Take a sample of the research.