Cultural Underrepresentation Is Bad For Business

We’ve all seen the numbers: According to Nielsen’s 2016 study “From the Ballot Box to the Grocery Store,” 50%  of U.S. population growth from 2010 to 2015 has come from Hispanics, and the U.S. Census projects Latinos to account for a full 65% of the nation’s population growth over the next 45 years. This means the U.S. Latino population will more than double, adding 62 million people, and will reach more than 119 million people by 2060.

Culture can be difficult to navigate and even harder to infuse into your campaigns in a seamless, authentic way, yet it is critical for campaigns to resonate culturally.

According to a study by Magna Global, 79% of second-generation Hispanics and 84% of bilingual Hispanics feel their culture impacts who they are today. When ads convey culture, Hispanics are 46% more likely to feel the brand itself represents their heritage

The Digital Lives 2018 study conducted by the Culture Marketing Council (CMC) reinforces this point, as mainstream ads that are authentically diverse and “do it right” have tremendous power to engage — to the tune of 46% more for Hispanics ages 18-49 and 44% more for non-Hispanic African-Americans ages 18-49. When Hispanics feel the brand represents their culture, there’s a greater chance they’ll trust the brand. It’s that trustworthiness and connection to the brand that are the strongest drivers of purchase intent! Lose that trust, and you’ve lost a loyal customer. According to the CMC study, however, 43%of teens and adults ages 35-49 and 51% of millennials ages 18-34 have unliked or unfollowed a brand.



How does this lack of diversity affect marketing campaigns? Take a look at the cultural blunders of, H&M, which had to pull its “coolest monkey in the jungle” sweatshirt after an ad showed a black child wearing it, or  Pepsi, with its controversial Kendall Jenner ad.

We see brands in trouble for things they’re doing with their mainstream efforts. If they had a cultural specialist involved, approving some of those advertisements, they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble.

“Anything that touches our community should be managed by people who understand culture, in-language and/or context. Culture specialists should be involved from the beginning, not at the end with a simple translation,” says David Chitel, CEO & founder of NGL Collective.

Brands that do it right understand the value of culture and have the right team of culture marketing experts at the table.  “Clients need to learn to trust their agencies. We need to cut through the clutter and stand out with our messages. That’s why it’s important to have the right team,” said Alberto Lorente, multicultural marketing director for Sprint, who not only won the 2018 CMC Marketer of the Year but is one of the few companies with Hispanics in top C-suite positions.

We can only hope there will be more diversity among CEOs, CMOs, Chief Creative Officers, as well as senior-level executives on the client and agency sides in the years to come. Regardless of leadership, however, having the right team of culture marketing experts will help brands avoid ensure campaigns connect authentically with their consumers.

1 comment about "Cultural Underrepresentation Is Bad For Business".
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  1. Frank Romero from The Grocer Exchange, LLC, September 11, 2018 at 4:34 p.m.

    Dear Nancy:

    Again, nice stuff.

    Let's chat soon.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.


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

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