linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Also of interest
     
  Ola Mobolade Back to the Future – Marketing to the New Majority
by Ola Mobolade
September 16, 2011

There’s an old Ghanaian proverb that, loosely translated, states that one must look to the past to know where one is going in the future. The same is true within the marketing landscape. In my new book Marketing to the New Majority, co-authored with David Burgos, VP of Multicultural Marketing for Millward Brown, we devote an entire chapter to the history of Multicultural Media and Marketing. Why spend an entire chapter on history, for such a forward-looking topic? Good question. As the African proverb touts, I too believe that to understand the future of marketing in a multicultural nation, we have to look to the past.

 
 

Here are three important lessons we marketers can learn from the history of multicultural media and marketing in America:

  1. It’s impractical to address African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American marketing, with one sweeping ‘multicultural marketing’ strategy. Ever wonder why there’s no Association of Minority Advertisers, while such organizations exist for each individual ethnic segment? The varied histories of each of group help explain the sometimes strained and competitive relationships between African American, Hispanic, and Asian American ad agencies today, especially as they struggle for their fair share of an often-tiny slice of brand marketing budgets. These three largest US minority segments have all continued to make great strides in the past 30 years; however there are significant differences in the path each has taken toward fair and balanced representation in advertising, and differences in the timeline that each group’s progress has followed. As a result, the business of marketing to each group carries with it quite distinct dynamics and unique challenges, that must be addressed with individually tailored strategies. (NOTE: This only applies to initiatives that call for ethnically targeted efforts. There are many situations in which a transcultural strategy is appropriate, depending on the sector, and the saliency of ethnic identity within it.)

  2. Just because minority consumers have become part of the new mainstream, doesn’t negate the importance of ethnic media. The very first African American, Hispanic and Asian newspapers were founded to give voice to these then-marginalized groups. They cultivated strong, trusting relationships with their ethnic readers, and helped foster a sense of ownership of experience and freedom of expression. However, there was another, less-discussed purpose which persists today, even as these segments continue on the steady path of integration into mainstream society: Ethnic media was then, and is now, equally committed to uplifting and motivating its various minority constituencies. Decades of disenfranchisement aren’t easily erased by relatively recent advances. And for many minorities—especially those who have lived through a time prior to having the same rights as Whites— seeing people who look like you as part of mainstream media depictions simply isn’t enough. Today’s ethnic media channels serve an important psychological and sociological purpose in righting the imbalance that these groups’ historical disenfranchisement created.

  3. When it comes to mainstream brands communicating with ethnic consumers, separate is very rarely equal. While this may seem to conflict with the previous point about the importance of ethnically targeted media, consider the difference in context. When we speak of ethnic media, we’re talking about the messenger being of the same culture as the audience. On the contrary, when we’re talking about a major brand communicating with a minority segment of their audience in a targeted way, ethnic consumers generally perceive the messenger as White. Leading brands have sought to engage ethnic consumers through targeted marketing since the 1960’s. At the time, their representation in advertising mirrored the social segregation that persisted far beyond legal dismantling of ‘separate but equal’ doctrines. For example, Black ads featuring Black talent were featured in Black media. And because there were far fewer ethnic media channels, the ingoing assumption that still exists today, was that a brand could reach ethnic consumers for pennies on the dollar spent to reach White consumers. It’s not realistic to think that a strategy that’s executed for $200,000 can be as effective as one that has $2 million dollars to work with. Yet, very few brands spend more than 10% of their marketing budgets on reaching ethnic consumers.

Today, we live in a society where one-third of all consumers and half of Youth consumers are non-White. While some brands have internal initiatives to increase their multicultural spending, I would propose a more appropriate game-changer: The general market is multicultural – stop segregating budgets and focus resources on what this means for your overall strategy. Understand the extent to which your brand can engage with a diverse general market in a meaningful and culturally intelligent way, and adjust marketing budgets accordingly. Will there still be a need for some targeted efforts? Quite possibly, but this depends on how each ethnic segment engages with your brand and category. If and when an ethnically targeted initiative is necessary (which research can help determine), make sure the message is well-aligned with the mainstream communication, and that the execution is adequately funded.

 
   
   Ola Mobolade is the co-author of "Marketing to the New Majority" (Palgrave Macmillan, August 2011) and a managing director at Firefly Millward Brown, the qualitative research practice of Millward Brown. Her knowledge of multicultural markets, trend-leader segments, and youth demographics allows her to bring exceptional strategic marketing capabilities to Firefly’s clients, which include dozens of industry powerhouses.



 
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 7 )  email

  brandchannel brandspeak archive   2014  |  2013  |  2012  | 2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
 
 
Dec 22, 2011 Pan Am Lives - Every Dead Brand's Dream -- Michael Stone
  A deeper look into Pan Am by Michael Stone
   
 
Dec 5, 2011 The Generational Effect - Customer Loyalty across the Generations -- Howard Lax
  A look into customer loyalty
   
 
Nov 18, 2011 Play: Bringing Virtual & Real Worlds Together -- Ted Mininni
  A deep look into bringing virtual and real worlds together
   
 
Nov 11, 2011 Putting a Mark on Sustainable Luxury -- Diana Verde Nieto
  How to help consumers make informed decisions about sustainable brands?
   
 
Nov 4, 2011 In a Crowded Daily Deals Market, Attention to Detail Counts -- Kara Trivunovic
  With 680+ daily deal providers now peddling everything from discounts on high fashion to high adventure travel packages, the market is reaching a tipping point. Here’s how to stand out
   
 
Oct 27, 2011 Brand Iraq and the Arab Spring -- Lisa Knight
  A deeper look into the identity of the Iraqi nation
   
 
Oct 21, 2011 The Power of 8: Eight Elements to Address When Researching Multicultural Audiences -- Favio Martinez
  Research can validate or disprove our marketing and communications assumptions. Done correctly, it can uncover the actionable audience insights that serve as the foundation for killer business solutions.
   
 
Oct 14, 2011 Start Measuring What Matters -- Brian Chiger
   
 
Oct 7, 2011 Thank You, Steve Jobs -- Melissa Davis
  A tribute on the Apple co-founder's passing, by Truebranding's Melissa Davis
   
 
Sep 30, 2011 Linkable Offers - A Redemption Revolution -- Kim Riedell
  A deeper look into online coupon companies
   
 
Sep 23, 2011 Virtual Events – Aligning Environment, Content, Audience and Technologies for Superior Branding Impact -- Michael LaRocco
  A look into Virtual Events by Michael LaRocco
   
 
Sep 9, 2011 Color Trademarks: A Black Future for Red Soles? -- Gabriela Salinas
  Deloitte global brand manager Gabriela Salinas looks at trademarking colors and the Christian Louboutin case.
   
 
Sep 2, 2011 Successes, Failures and Counterfeits: Western Brands in China -- Matt Train
  The perceptions and misperceptions of Western brands in China.
   
 
Aug 26, 2011 Leveraging Consumer Engagement to Fight Product Counterfeiting -- Greg Miller
  To fight counterfeiting, build customer engagement into the authentication solution.
   
 
Aug 19, 2011 Steps to Successful B2B Communications -- Hope Picker
  Insights on Successful B2B Brand Communications
   
 
Aug 12, 2011 London’s Grief -- Melissa Davis
  London-based Melissa Davis on why the UK is not a broken society.
   
 
Aug 5, 2011 What’s in a Name? -- Lisa Knight
  The founder of the Brand Foundation on the political implications of naming.
   
 
Jul 29, 2011 Absolut Genius -- John Bell
  John Bell on how Absolut Vodka as kept its cool.
   
 
Jul 22, 2011 Cheering On Brand Japan, the “New Cinderella” -- Eileen Wacker
  The view from Hawaii on Japan's victory in the Women's World Cup.
   
 
Jul 14, 2011 Product Placement in the UK: A Progress Report -- John Barnard
  NMG chairman John Barnard on the challenges facing product placement’s growth in the UK
   
 
Jul 8, 2011 Japanese Lessons: In Crisis, Take the Offensive -- Karen Attyah
  Crisis management lessons from Japan
   
 
Jul 1, 2011 Have Brands Lost Their Cachet? -- Ted Mininni
  A look into branding and brand value by Ted Mininni
   
 
Jun 24, 2011 Why Entrepreneurs Need Smarter Brands -- Julie Cottineau
  Why entrepreneurs need to spend mroe time and energy in defining and pressure testing their Brand Idea.
   
 
Jun 17, 2011 Why iCloud is Apple’s Achilles’ heel -- Olof Schybergson
  The iCloud service shows a drift towards software development for Apple, and less towards their shiny nice products.
   
 
Jun 14, 2011 Next Summer’s Blockbuster Coming from an App Near You? -- Michael Stone
  Beanstalk's Michael Stone on Moshi Monsters, Angry Birds and other hot properties at the 2011 Licensing International Expo
   
 
Jun 8, 2011 The Tragic Fall from Specialist to Generalist: Starbucks, the Latest Victim -- John Bell
  An in depth article about Starbucks going from specialist to generalist.
   
 
Jun 3, 2011 The Future of Customer Insights -- Amanda Yates
  A closer look into the future of customer insights
   
 
May 27, 2011 Is Bieber Fever Contagious? -- Michael Stone
  If it even necessary that Justin Bieber conquer the tween boys’ market?
   
 
May 20, 2011 10 Ways to Make the Most of Mobile Marketing -- Jeff Judge
  Signal CEO Jeff Judge on boosting the ROI of mobile marketing.
   
 
May 13, 2011 Pharma Branding and Pharma Marketing: The Keys to Success -- Dr. Gary Wield
  Dr. Gary Wield on the brave new world for pharmaceutical marketing.
   
 
May 5, 2011 How to Build Long-Lasting Relationships with Your Customers Online -- Zephrin Lasker
  Zephrin Lasker takes a look at how to build long-lasting relationships with online customers
   
 
May 3, 2011 Animation and Overseas Deals: All in a Day’s Work for LeBron James, Inc. -- Patrick Kerns
  Interbrand’s Patrick Kerns assesses the global branding strategy of LeBron James Inc.
   
 
Apr 29, 2011 Good Brands Gone Bad -- John Bell
  How brands recover from a crisis defines their essence.
   
 
Apr 15, 2011 The Anatomy of a Great Ad - Mark Bilfield
  Mark Bilfield reviews the winners in TED’s first Ads Worth Spreading competition to highlight what makes a great ad.
   
 
Apr 1, 2011 INDIA Future of Change: Engaging with the World -- Amit Shahi
  Amit Shahi, project director of INDIA Future of Change, on India’s nation branding
   
 
Mar 25, 2011 The Cure for a Forgotten Brand - Reinventing Luden’s -- Terri Goldstein
  The Luden’s brand story reflects the rise and fall of many heritage brands.
   
 
Mar 11, 2011 Bing Heats Up Search War for Brands -- Ben Kirshner
  How will Bing’s HTML5 impact how online consumers search for products?
   
 
Mar 4, 2011 Social Tribes are More Potent Than Social Networks -- Dr. Bob Deutsch
  Dr. Bob Deutsch argues that brand marketers’ fatal error is to think of customers as consumers, not people.
   
 
Feb 25, 2011 Between Culture & Branding - An African Perspective -- Tomi Ogunlesi
  Bates Cosse strategic planner Tomi Ogunlesi debunks the notion that consumers in Africa aren’t sophisticated.
   
 
Feb 18, 2011 Think Outside the (Blue) Box - The Role of Online Collaboration in Rebranding -- Peter Ryder
  How to avoid costly, and damaging, rebranding mistakes.
   
 
Feb 11, 2011 Trends for the New Decade -- Cheryl Swanson
  Toniq principal Cheryl Swanson weighs in on hot trends for 2011 and beyond.
   
 
Feb 4, 2011 The Secret to Real Customer Connectivity -- Ted Mininni
  A deeper look into customer connectivity with Ted Mininni
   
 
Jan 28, 2011 Advertising China -- Jay Wang
  USC professor Jay Wang on China’s branding campaign during president Hu Jintao’s state visit to the U.S.
   
 
Jan 21, 2011 Brand equity beyond the grave -- Gabriela Salinas
  A deeper look into marketing using dead celebrities by Gabriela Salinas.
   
 
Jan 14, 2011 Customer Loyalty Is Dead - Your Four Opportunities To Capture Customers Who No Longer Care Where They Buy -- Robert H. Bloom
   
 
Jan 7, 2011 The 1st Baby Boomer Turns 65 - and Why it Doesn’t Matter -- Stephen Reilly
  Born sometime in 1946, the first Baby Boomer will turn 65 this year. You can expect to hear this achievement announced repeatedly before 2011 is over.