Broadening Brand Reach: The Importance of Multiculturalism in Marketing
Multiculturalism has become the foundation of the modern United Kingdom. Businesses and marketing models are constantly adapting to this changing market, with the increased diversity of cultures creating an increased required diversity of marketing consumption.
In a world saturated with marketing and advertising, it can be hard to stand out. For someone from a different ethnic background to that of the land they are in, navigating this world of advertising aimed at people who don’t share their identity can be challenging and alienating.
For this reason, the onus is on businesses, marketing agencies and advertisers to be genuinely inclusive and incorporate the many identities that make up Britain. The benefits are to be gained by both parties: Consumers have greater access to products as well as a sense of identity, whilst businesses broaden their market . In fact, evidence shows that people are more likely to purchase from brands whose advertising is more ethnically diverse.
A 2014 study by the IPA (in collaboration with Mediareach) titled, The New Britain, claims that one in four babies born in 2011 came from a mother born outside of the United Kingdom. Throughout the 9 years since that study, all those babies will have grown up watching toy commercials on television, seeing food on billboards, and watching short in-app Ads on their iPads. These British citizens with multicultural backgrounds would have been discovering their identity, and hence the inclusion of faces and stories from different cultures is paramount to their reassurance and patriotism.
Additionally, a Credos study has claimed that the majority of people surveyed, who identify as being from an ethnic minority, see the positioning of their culture in advertisements as a barometer for what society thinks. Including people of different ethnic backgrounds in the various stages of creating and delivering a marketing campaign, means that the messages will be delivered to a greater portion of society from the mouths of those who share their identity. This process can either be carried out using multicultural in-house teams, or gaining insights from multicultural agencies such as Mediareach.
Many of the multicultural British population are young and the majority are urban , so placement is also an important factor in broadening a marketing campaign’s reach to these groups. Placement of bus Ads, for example, in areas with a higher density of ethnic minorities needs to be matched with relevant messaging of those Ads to that community.
The Credos paper also provided a case study of the UK’s top 50 television advertisers, finding that 44% were underdelivering against ethnic audiences, meaning the content was likely to be over-proportionately seen by a White British audience.
The Brave New Digital World
Thinking about where certain ethnic minorities may be consuming their media is also important, especially when it comes to the millennial generation predominantly using online and social media channels.
Social media campaigns could be the goldmine for broadening ethnically diverse marketing. Political and social movements against racism and discrimination are becoming more prevalent on social media, and marketing can help by providing a wider reach for their voice and identity. Social change is increasingly happening digitally, placing enormous power within the realm of progressive brands.
Nike’s Dream Crazy advert, featuring Black Lives Matter leader and American Football player, Colin Kaepernick, is an example of how a commercial can have a profound impact on a social movement, whilst also increasing a brand’s sales. Following the release of the commercial, Nike’s stocks rose by 5%, but they also set a precedent that brands and advertising have a moral duty to be representative. This highlights a brave new era in marketing communications. Shifting from the standard practice of remaining neutral is a thing of the past.
Going Beyond an Image
A commonly held view is that simply placing people of varying skin colour and seemingly ethnically diverse appearances in media will be adequately inclusive for ethnic minorities. This is indeed a positive step; showing the faces of those who the marketing product is targeting, will most likely generate more interest from those groups than if it were racially homogeneous. However, this is only one part of the process of generating a truly ethnically diverse and representative marketing campaign.
The lived experiences of these consumers will ultimately dictate how much they identify with the content they are receiving, and so a multi-level approach is required to deliver an authentic and beyond adequate, relevant product. Utilising a celebrity from an ethnic diverse background could be considered, although a more effective approach would be connecting to the ordinary, everyday lives that these consumers are living. An inclusive piece of advertising doesn’t mean exclusion of white majorities, but instead a meaningful and intended representation of ethnic minorities in the brand’s story.
Asking questions, and not shying away from offence, is vital in expanding the conversation of diversity in advertising. More can be done to shift from the idea of ticking boxes to representing all of our society. Including more voices, generating more discussion, and utilising the power of learning, will progress the industry rapidly and generate meaningful and memorable campaigns that go beyond the task of just attracting consumers to a product.
Should you be responsible for growing your audience reach and marketing effectiveness, please feel welcome to contact Mediareach here for a free consultancy on where your opportunities exist.