New Research Defines Cultural Openness and its Impact on Marketing Strategy

January 13, 2011

by Added Value

Edelman Hosts Cheskin Added Value and The Futures Company Panel Discussion on the Influence of Ethnic Identity on Consumer Behavior.

January 11, 2011, NEW YORK – leading insight firms Cheskin Added Value and The Futures Company unveiled new findings on how the rise in ethnic diversity is leading to shifts in traditional views of racial and cultural identity roles. Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm hosted and moderated an event, panel discussion and Q&A where the new research was announced.

“The next generation of conversation related to multicultural marketing will be defined as the degree to which historic boundaries between ethnic and racial groups are blurred and easily crossed,” said Stephen Palacios, Executive Vice President, Cheskin Added Value. “Such openness allows people to navigate without social constraint within and across different cultural groups, absorbing the elements that work within their preferred lifestyle but not necessarily at the cost of pride and participation in their native culture.”

Palacios and David Bersoff, Chief Insights Officer, The Futures Company presented the findings of the study defining the concept of cultural openness and how marketers can tap into ethnic identity truths to build deeper relationships with a broader range of consumer demographics. Following the study presentation, Frank Cooper, Senior Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer, PepsiCo Americas Beverages; Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications; and Robert Suro, Managing Director, Innovation Lab, University of South California participated in a panel and Q&A discussion.

“Post Census, marketers will no doubt have commentary on the implications of the rising numbers and the imperative to engage and build long lasting relationships with the growing multicultural consumer segment,” said Audrey Ponzio, Senior Vice President, Edelman Multicultural. “We believe that there are inherent gaps in the current conversation about the interplay between general and multicultural markets. The reality is that both are incredibly influential and affect each other in ways that no one is talking about. This is that conversation starter.”

The study shows that increased levels of cultural openness provide greater opportunity for marketers to reach general market audiences with ethnically-focused strategies. Influential consumers are changing their traditional views of racial and ethnic identity roles, and in turn, more are seeking greater engagement in cultural identities other than their own.

Key Findings Include:

80% of the population (Gen Pop- 2010) agrees that one of the best things about America is the cultural diversity you find.

83% of African Americans, 77% Hispanics, and 64% Non-Hispanic Whites, appreciate the growing influence of other cultures on many of the products we use.

82% African Americans, 77% Hispanics, 69% Non-Hispanic Whites agree with this statement: “I have learned many new things from people whose race or ethnicity differs from my own.”

47% of African Americans, 30% Hispanics, and 32% White Non- Hispanics have someone in their extended family that is from a different race or ethnicity.

27% African Americans, 37% of Hispanics, and 23% of Non-Hispanic Whites see themselves as a citizen of the world more so than as a citizen of the United States.

Set against the rise in cultural openness, multicultural marketing can serve as the catalyst in holistic branding campaigns and become the insight driving the overall marketing strategies rather than a sub-segment of a communication hierarchy.

Research Methodology
Phone-study participants (age 16+) were recruited using a random-digital-dial (RDD) sampling technique and were placed into their appropriate self-selected multicultural sample group. They were later interviewed via a two-phase collection process consisting of a telephone/web interview and a self-administered survey that was returned via mail or the Internet, in the language of choice. In total, those who completed both phases of the study included 1,620 African Americans, 1,645 Hispanics, 3,0001 Non-Hispanic Whites, and 937 cell phone only respondents.

About The Futures Company
The Futures Company is a global trends and futures consultancy, formed in 2008 from the coming together of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich. Through a combination of syndicated insight services and bespoke research and consultancy, our mission is ‘Unlocking Futures’ for our clients. By exploring the future needs, motivations and behaviors of consumers, and the broader dynamics in the marketplace, we unlock the future of consumers, categories, brands and companies. The Futures Company is part of the Kantar Group of WPP with offices in London, North Carolina, New York, Buenos Aires and Mexico City, and an established intelligence network spanning 28 countries.

For more information about this study, email Stephen Palacios

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