Got Cultural Intelligence?

You’ve probably heard of an IQ, which scores one’s general intelligence and intellectual competence. But have you heard of CQ? CQ is cultural intelligence, your IQ when it comes to culture.

Cultural competence is crucial when it comes to multicultural marketing.

One common mistake marketers make when it comes to multicultural marketing is thinking it’s all about language. Yes, language is a part of culture, but it’s
not the only thing.

All over social media, there are brands in trouble for how they're handling their mainstream efforts. Upping their CQ could save themselves a lot of trouble.

The Numbers Don’t Lie
According to the U.S. Census, by 2044, the minority population is expected to become the majority. The United States is a melting pot of cultures, and a one-size-fits-all marketing approach is no longer effective.

If you’re not covering your bases and tapping into multicultural demographics, you’re missing the mark. According to the recent CMC study Digital Lives 2018,  which dives into digital habits and cultural insights from various demographics, Hispanic adults are involved in more digital activities than other people. Over 85% of Hispanic adults do 14 different digital activities every month, compared to the seven digital activities of non-Hispanic whites (NHW) and the six digital activities that non-Hispanic African-Americans (NHAA) do each month.



Diverse ads that “do it right” had engagement power among Hispanic and NHAA Digital Lives 2018 respondents. 39% of Hispanics ages 13-17 and 40% of NHAA in the same age group said that real-life diversity in ads is appreciated. The same sentiment translated over to 18- to 34-year-old respondents, with 51% of Hispanics and 46% of NHAA responding positively to such diversity. For 35- to 49-year-olds, 40% of both Hispanics and NHAA said they appreciated diverse marketing.

And this statement isn’t exclusive to multicultural respondents. While the majority of Non-Hispanic White (NHW) respondents said authentic diverse ads had no impact, one in four NHW Millennials were “more engaged” by diverse ads.

Implementing a Multicultural Approach

As marketers, we need to tap into our cultural audiences and understand which platforms they’re on, what their interests are and how they communicate. A multicultural marketing approach isn’t only about including diversity in advertising and marketing materials, but it also means hanging out in areas where multicultural audiences are. According to Digital Lives 2018, ads placed in “culture club” places have more power across ages and languages.

 “Culture club” refers to digital platforms with in-culture content. Respondents were more likely to pay more attention, trust the brand more, and buy from a brand if their ads were placed in culture club communities.

Now that you understand the importance of multicultural marketing initiatives, it’s time to strategize and implement! You could hire a multicultural marketing specialist, tap into his or her expertise, and network with other multicultural marketers through webinars and events.

5 comments about "Got Cultural Intelligence?".
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  1. STEVE CLIMONS from Crosssover Creative, August 27, 2018 at 2:52 p.m.

    Like CQ. How does this reflect on this country's current divided condition?

    Yes the country will be headed in the distant future to minority-majority status but what about the challenge of it today? There have been recent popular efforts by mainstream marketers to recognize the growth of biracial couples and families which represents the evolving melting pot but there's still division.

  2. Frank Romero from The Grocer Exchange, LLC, August 27, 2018 at 2:53 p.m.

    Dear Nancy:

    We should speak.

    Please reach me directly at 781-821-4113 or via my mobile number 617-312-3723.

    I encourage your call.


    Frank Edward Romero
    Chief Marketing & Revenue Generation Officer
    The Grocer Exchange, LLC
    781-821-2345-Canton, MA Office
    Skype: Entropy1953

  3. Charles Jamison from Footsteps, August 28, 2018 at 3:14 p.m.

    From my point of view, today is an echo chamber of yesterday whose amplifications are heard more loudly because of the advent of the Internet. There have always been serious divisions in this country but we hear about them more now and see them playing out more often because of social media as well as the 24 hour news cycle. But these divisions and their resolutions (however imperfect they may be) have been a part of America's continual reshaping and reinvention since the beginning of this country.

    With that being said, it is true that there have been some recent nods by some mainstream marketers to creating ads showcasing the growing number of biracial couples and families in the United States. These well-publicized, narrowly-focused assuagememts are nice to have but they do not address the broader point about creating cultural-relevant marketing for the masses of people who lead unique and rich lives often not reflected in mainstream advertising. When it comes to reflecting America as it remakes itself once again, unfortunately advertising has rarely been in the lead here and has mostly been playing catch-up to other art forms whose efforts have been more impactful.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 29, 2018 at 3:51 p.m.

    What does a family of 4 with less that a gross HHI of $50M or $35M buy? Or lower income people ? This is more than half the country.  Adverisers hide them. There are more differences by financial class than even cultural. 

  5. Charles Jamison from Footsteps replied, August 29, 2018 at 5:52 p.m.

    For one thing just about everything that P&G sells is what a family of 4 with less than a gross HHI of $50M or $35M.

    As for the comment that there are "more differences by financial class than even cultural," I am not sure what that specifically applies to in this context but if you are talking about brand choices in America, there are far too many studies available since the early seventies that has proven that not to be so.

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