While most of us tend to think of diversity as Hispanic, African American, Asian and other ethnicities, there is a growing diversity in all Americans, and also between them. This is the very reason Tara J. Frank, vice president for multicultural strategy at 100+-year-old Hallmark, has such an important job.
Tara has been at Hallmark for 19 years, is a mom of six and the co-pilot of a blended family. Tara’s position is to transform consumer efforts across Hallmark’s enterprise through a multicultural lens. “Our lives are changing based on the evolving cultural landscape, including our connections. Hallmark is a connecting brand, so the impact of multiculturalism is a key consideration for us.”
Many have been predicting that whites will not be the majority in the U.S. by 2043. EthniFacts research showed, based on a series of more dynamic factors such as mixed-race families, that the tipping point was actually August 2014. “Look at the number of interracial marriages, the blending of our families, or the influence on your daily life if you are white and your residence happens to be in a neighborhood that is predominately Asian or Hispanic,” said Tara.
Brands target ethnicities separately
Many companies look at each ethnic group individually when they’re deciding how to engage, according to Tara. “They may develop products and brands and ask the multicultural groups within their organization to figure out how to position the product with a particular audience. The world is becoming much more blended and diverse. While cultural specificity still matters, it is important to not completely silo culture,” she said.
As with most brands, the nine million Millennial moms in the U.S. are an important target for Hallmark. Tara says, “Today, 43% of Millennial moms are non-white. More than one-half of the babies born today are non-white. One out of every four children born in America is Hispanic. And Latina moms are embracing both American culture and Latino traditions. The increase in the Latino community in America is also having its effect on non-Latina moms. Think food, for example. All Millennial moms love to try new things, and enjoy the distinction that other cultures bring.
Just as Millennials are a culturally diverse audience, their family dynamics are diverse. Many Millennial moms are single moms — 32% are single/never married/co-habitating with a partner. If Millennials are getting married, they are getting married later in life. As a by-product of the economy, 3% of married Millennials live with their parents today. Diversity is no longer just about ethnicity.
What brands can do differently
As a result, Hallmark looks at design trends and creates solutions that are culturally diverse and reflect a more dynamic reality. “For example, we use fresh language and concepts that reflect the voices and perspectives of the younger Gen Y mom,” said Tara. “There are also countertrends like the handmade look that resonate with Millennial moms.”
Social media is changing everything. Just look at Facebook and “tribute” walls. As Tara explained, this is the first time where moms can express themselves freely on subjects that used to be kept private. “If brands look at diversity as merely ethnicity, they will miss the mark with today’s Millennial moms.”