Deciphering the emotional states transforming America: key marketing implications

The date when the United States becomes a minority-majority country may seem distant, but the underlying shifts in population are already dramatic.   Our proprietary population model indicates that multicultural America will grow by 22 million in 10 years while white America shrinks by 2 million.

Awareness of this pivotal process is increasing every day.  Whether in advertising, in customer service or media, high profile missteps are teaching Marketing organizations powerful new lessons in how to embrace this immense multicultural opportunity.  Indeed, some like Nike now embrace controversial stances, placing bold bets and winning.

To help member companies further address these challenges, we stepped in to separate the signal from the noise with our first Total Market Consumer analysis. Using a survey of over 125 attitudinal and behavioral factors, we use statistical analysis to identify four underlying themes that anchor the majority of consumer sentiment across the Total Market, spanning both personal and interpersonal dimensions. We found that these factors are especially predominant among Multicultural consumers, as well as gen-Z and Millennial.

On the personal dimension, these themes include anxiety, a sense that personal identity is harder and harder to form; and exceptionalism, a focus on your own unique qualities and what sets you apart.  The interpersonal themes by contrast cover community, the sense of belonging to a strongly bonded group; and wariness, the sense of mistrust among people and for institutions.

Detailed analysis will be presented at our Fall 2018 Roundtables. Our preliminary implications include the following for marketers intent on embracing the Total Market by appealing to Multicultural audiences:

Resolve anxiety

  • Relevant mostly for gen-Z and Millennials
  • Create simplified and personalized brand shopping experiences, like Stitch Fix
  • Help consumers invest in self-care, like Coke’s Because I Can campaign

Celebrate uniqueness and challenge norms by appealing to exceptionalism

  • Relevant for African Americans, Hispanic and younger generations
  • Foster the unique identities unearthed by changing cultural norms, like this Smirnoff campaign
  • Find those scarce spaces where identities authenticity intersect to foster meaningful experience, like BornxRaised

Tap into community reservoirs

  • Relevant mostly for Hispanics, and to some extent Asians and tech-savvy Millennials
  • Play to the multicultural collectivist mindset for large cultural communities, like these Toyota Camry ads
  • Unearth micro-communities that emerge around shared interest and amplify their growth potential, such as chefs on Twitch

Build trust to mitigate wariness

  • Relevant mostly for African Americans, and somewhat relevant for gen-X, Millennials and Hispanics
  • Message commitment and resolve on issues that matter to your brand and base, like Nike
  • Leverage the influence of disruptive outsiders, like Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh
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