Diversity Matters

In today’s complicated media world, it takes many layers to build effective marketing campaigns—digital, social and traditional, just to name a few. When building campaigns for Millennials, don’t fall into the all-too-easy trap of getting lost in the details and missing one all-important element that transcends platforms: diversity. 

Effective marketing speaks to the masses on a personal level. There, Millennials live in a diverse world. On a day-to-day basis, Millennials are more likely than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers to interact with people who have a different ethnic or cultural background than themselves. Two in five Gen Yers say their social circle has become more diverse in the past two years and most Millennials (59%) say it matters to them that their social circle is diverse. 

As a group, they themselves look different than previous generations. Millennials are the most ethnically diverse adult generation—58% Caucasian, compared to 72% of Baby Boomers and 62% of Gen Xers. Hispanics comprise 20% of Gen Y; African Americans 14% and Asians 5%. And, as a group they are taking note of seeing that diversity reflected in the media they consume. 

Take for instance, HBO’s freshman hit “Girls.” While it did well enough from a ratings standpoint to get renewed for a second season, it did amass a lot of criticism for a lack of ethnic diversity. 

Our research suggests marketers can learn a lesson from “Girls.” Gen Y places a similar importance on seeing diverse people in ads as seeing diverse casts in TV programming. Additionally, half of Generation Y says they support companies that support causes or issues that are important to their race or ethnicity. 

While ethnicity is important, it is only one part of diversity matters in the eyes of Gen Y. The majority of Millennials says economic backgrounds, religions, political affiliation, age, gender and sexual orientation all are important parts of diversity. For example, our research found that two in five Millennials will actually have a more favorable opinion of companies who advertise on shows with gay or lesbian story lines. To put in context, only one in five Baby Boomers and one in four Gen Xers said the same. 

Yes, the details such as social and digital strategies matter, but diversity does, too.

Tags: gen y
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