We are living in perilous times. Never before has the confluence of difference resulted in the high level of discord apparent in society today. At the same time the ideal of difference is celebrated, multi-cultured communities are challenged more than ever before for the very ideal celebrated — difference.
In response, inclusive audiences are uniting: demanding respect, reflections of themselves, accountability, recognition of their value and justice. Diverse people are courageously stepping up — demanding better for themselves and all.
Diverse communities represent the largest growth opportunities for brands in this country. They are fast growing, highly influential, voracious users of social media with buying power valued at $3.2 trillion. When the concerns of these communities remain unresolved and unaddressed, individuals within them become less interested in consuming and participating in brand experiences — particularly those disjointed from their interests.
Too often brands stand in silent witness … distancing themselves from discomforts deeply resonant
across multi-cultured communities — distractions that seep into everyday choices important to marketers. Consider this a route to brand decay with audiences representing future growth. While not immediately noticeable, over time it leads to disillusionment with advertisers, along with demerits in brand loyalty, consumption and positive, viral advocacy.
Despite unprecedented levels of discord, there’s never been a better time for advertisers to have authentic relationships with diverse communities. More brands are striving to identify the intersection of meaning + relevance + importance to increasingly inclusive audiences; incorporating that golden trifecta into smartly, entertaining and informative experiences drives stronger connections. In a world plagued by the malady, disorder and dysfunction on display, brand messaging becomes progressively difficult to get right.
Issues impacting diverse communities — Black, LGBT, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Native American and others — are weighty, seemingly relentless and can feel overwhelming. Increasingly, millennials within these communities are taking brave steps to address them ... stepping up, standing out and demanding change. This highly diverse generation wants to know that brands they support also support their concerns. It’s a generation that responds positively to advertisers willing to take a stand and do good.
Brands have fared well by taking this approach. General Mills’ Cheerios biracial family commercial and Under Amour’s ‘I Will What I Want’campaign featuring Misty Copeland had their hands on the pulse of what mattered to diverse constituents. They acknowledged the importance of these audiences and what mattered to them, proclaimed a POV and activated in a manner fueling broad consumer participation, garnering positive response.
Reaching out to inclusive communities while striving for growth during periods of turmoil can come across as disingenuous. But brands with established, deep relationships are in a position to build upon them and gain. Advertisers lacking authentic, multi-cultured audience ties will find this tricky territory to navigate. But they too can get their finger on the pulse of what deeply matters to inclusive audiences, establishing steadfast relationships bearing roots deep enough to weather any storm. How? By tapping into the role ‘cultural hardwiring’ plays in influencing brand engagement in good and challenging times.
‘Cultural hardwiring’ refers to the heritages and traditions one was raised with now stamped into his or her DNA. It plays a crucial role in influencing how one sees oneself, how one is perceived by others as well as one’s relationships with brands. It provides a critical lens through which audiences internalize pop culture and provides cues for understanding diverse perspectives on current events. ‘Cultural hardwiring’ can be used to strengthen relationships with inclusive audiences while driving growth for brands.
Applying a ‘cultural hardwiring’ approach to build relationships with Black audiences struggling with Police Brutality and Black on Black Crime can inspire new ways to connect — revealing that precisely because of the perverseness of these issues there’s never been a better time to proclaim Black pride.
The Asian community often remains invisible and intellectually stereotyped. Exercising ‘cultural hardwiring’ techniques to drive loyalty divulges a yearning to be seen as unique individuals and for the diversity of contributions to be showcased.
Fusing ‘cultural hardwiring’ with pop culture and current events is instructive for brands. It unveils connection starting points, platforms and territories meaningful to diverse audiences. This approach isn’t limited to the examples above, or the U.S. Shifting populations worldwide result in evolving audience sensibilities, necessitating ongoing relationship building between inclusive communities and brands.
The time is right and rife with opportunity for brands to break silence and take a stand. There’s neverbeen a better moment … to step up with and invest in diverse audiences driving good and growth.