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What are clients looking for when they come to you?
There are a lot of nuances within different communities. So clients come to us for the ‘not obvious’. It is a thin line between ‘insights’ and ‘stereotypes’. Many times communities are treated as ‘cast’ when a script is written.
Our business and experience are based on insights about a culture. If you are part of a certain group they resonate in a special kind of way, if you are not, you still get the message.
Are there any marketing trends you observe within different groups?
The African-American community is becoming more affluent and we see a bigger representation in the banking and financial sector. With Tiger Woods for instance we noticed a rise in country club sports.
Where do African-American women stand in terms of being marketed to in the financial and beauty sector?
For starters, African-American women have more buying power. In terms of body image, the big movement right now is going back to natural, curly hair. They are using less straightening products, which is in itself, I would say, almost a statement. You can see that happening through any income classes.
In terms of body type, not much has changed. Being curvy is always a good thing. It is not about being really thin but about being healthy and taking care of your body, which is trending really well.
Where do you think this trend towards being more natural came from?
I would say it stems from a bigger sense of confidence which can be related to Obama being president. Also, African-American women occupy more power positions. Being comfortable with yourself means greater freedom to stand out in terms of mindset. If you are not dictated by other people’s perception of you, then you are inclined to express yourself more.
What role does social media play in marketing to communities?
Social media is giving the individual the opportunity to be expressive the way they want to be. It is the ultimate ‘cultural globe’... It actually allows more people to find others who are like themselves, regardless where they live.
You are not stuck in your backyard anymore. And you get more of an idea about other people’s thoughts and perceptions but it can also work in the opposite way - in that you can go and find specific people that only relate to you. People go to places they feel comfortable in.
Is the LGBT community becoming more of an opportunity for brands?
It depends on the brand really and how much they are willing to reach out. I think it is a great opportunity to empower that conversation. And obviously some brands do too because they are jumping on to it. However I often feel the bigger the brand the more they have to lose.
What is your experience in marketing to the baby boomers in different communities?
Right now they might have more economic freedom than many other people have. Their houses are paid off...
Before, old age meant staying at home but now as they have money in their pocket they travel. Interestingly, they are also more involved in social and political issues, because they are more engaged online.
Do you think the internet will help to amplify diversity?
America has a rich history with regards to diversity. I don’t believe that we will all ‘melt into one’ but it will change with the next generations to come.
There is this interesting dichotomy with people: on the one side they like to be part of something but they also like to stick out. I believe that diversity in North America is a topic that will be as strong as it is now.
To browse a selection of images reflecting multiculturalism, click here