Learnings and Best Practices for Multicultural Research

Brands are increasingly aware that multicultural consumers represent the greatest opportunity for increased sales and market share.  Across all types of consumer categories, multicultural consumers are now considered critical to brand success.

How did we get here?  Certainly U.S. Census data has provided irrefutable data on the rapid growth and importance of this population segment.  And as was mentioned by several CMOs at the ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, in today’s world brands shine when they are inclusive, and successful campaigns are built on meaningful consumer insights that reflect diverse consumer experiences.

As brands are going multicultural, it is more important than ever that research practices take into account cultural nuances critical to the success of marketing initiatives. 

The Impact of Hispanic Millennials

One out of every five millennials in the U.S. is of Hispanic origin.  Hispanic Millennials, comfortably merging Hispanic and non-Hispanics cultures into their lifestyles, are having a tremendous and potentially underestimated impact on consumer culture.   They are introducing non-Hispanic friends to traditionally Hispanic-only celebrations such as Quinceaneras and Day of the Dead celebrations.  Even Dos Equis beer is blurring the cultural lines with its updated “Stay thirsty mis amigos” tagline.

We’ve seen research efforts that include a few Hispanic participants in order to provide cultural representation.  This approach misses the mark and provides no additional insight.  A better bet: Connect with multicultural consumers and generate insights that will add depth and richness to creative and communication platforms.

New and Improved Research methodologies

Multicultural consumers are true influencers and provide a window into how popular culture is evolving. New research methodologies make it easier and more cost-effective to gather research findings among Hispanic and multicultural consumers who over-index in their use of online and social media.

With research methodologies from online diaries to online panels and communities, we are able to generate new insights into digital engagement and test new concepts and creative executions quickly and cost-efficiently.  Whether using SMS-based research among less acculturated Hispanics or tracking diary entries among millennials, we have more research resources than ever at our disposal.

Don’t forget the Spanish-dominant consumer

Spanish-dominant consumers remain a vibrant segment.  According to Nielsen data, 19% of Hispanics are Spanish-dominant and another 55% are bilingual, meaning that Spanish-language communications remain relevant and necessary to reach a significant portion of the market.

Spanish-dominant Hispanics, typically first generation, have different brand relationships than U.S. born or raised millennials.  Their consumer experiences are marked by growing up in home countries.  As a result, a unique research approach is required that avoids a ‘save-as’ adaptation of General Market research studies and instead leverages cultural insights into purchase habits and category experience.

Multicultural consumers represent the fastest-growing segment of the economy and brands that increase their cross-cultural competency will reap the greatest rewards.  Isn’t it time to get to know and engage with consumers already making a difference in your product sales?

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