Up to the Challenge of the Fast-growing Multicultural Market?
Alex Duplan | VP, Creative Director of Multicultural

Whether some (ahem) agree or not, America has always been a “Melting Pot,” and that’s particularly true today. This country is perhaps the most diverse in the world with influences from thousands of cultures touching us all in the home, at school and on social media.

Hispanics are no exception as more than 50 million people in the U.S. identify as Hispanic — some 17 percent of the total population. In 2015, the Hispanic population generated $1.5 trillion in buying power, and it’s expected to generate $1.7 trillion this year.

Notwithstanding the buying power, the growing diversity is the key to the multicultural market. Brands must be smarter and consider multicultural diversity if they wish to connect with a broader audience. In the past, language was the focus of many multicultural campaigns. Translating content from English to Spanish was cheap and easy. But it’s not enough now.

Just because something is written in Spanish does not mean consumers will have an emotional connection to it. There are nuances — many small things go into reaching someone in a real way. Hispanic people come from many countries — each with its own distinct national identity and history. Brands need to tap into those subtleties including food, fashion, family, even where young people hang out after school, if they wish to be successful.

Language isn’t the only multicultural trap door. Pandering to stereotypes by swapping in a darker skin tone isn’t going to automatically make a connection, nor does playing Mariachi music. Yes, it is traditional for many Hispanics but it may not be what consumers are interested in now. Multicultural audiences are far more savvy and acculturated than ever. They’re exposed to more media and more choices, so reaching them will take more than superficial or stereotypical efforts.

There are some brands, however, that have done well in connecting with the multicultural market.

Take Coca-Cola, for example. They’ve created an inspiring and approachable concept about happiness. But they apply it in a very multicultural way, so each market has some version of happiness. That’s what makes it successful.

Avocados From Mexico has also been successful. The general market consumes avocados in a way that the other part of market doesn’t. Hispanics consume a lot of avocados, too, but they don’t have the same necessities. That’s why the brand has worked hard to communicate with each group.

Most brands are certainly doing better than they once did, but there can still be resistance to looking beyond the general market. Some still underestimate the the multicultural market and its potential because nobody’s shown it to them. They simply haven’t worked with experts who know the market.

That tends to change when you breakdown the numbers and consider the buying power of the Hispanic population. It’s not surprising that an estimated $1.7 trillion will change some minds. A 5 percent increase in business probably seems great until you realize you could grow 20 percent by making that emotional connection.

Brands and agencies must look inward, bringing in more diverse minds that benefit your multicultural campaigns. You want people with different points of view who are familiar with the consumers you’re trying to reach. You’ll generate more choices and more ideas around one topic, which could be more valid for the consumer.

Now’s the perfect time to capitalize on this growing market. Are you up for the challenge?

Alex Duplan

Alex is a recognized multicultural marketing thought leader who directs the Elasticity Multicultural practice group from the agency’s Dallas-area offices.

This Mexico City native has built up two decades of experience with leading agencies, such as Ogilvy México (in Mexico City), Dieste (in Dallas) and Richards/Lerma (also in Dallas), and Alex has led integrated multicultural marketing initiatives for brands including Kraft Foods, Pepsi, Levi’s, Pizza Hut, HBO, Hershey’s, Avocados From Mexico, Jose Cuervo, Nissan, Bud Light, Budweiser Chelada, Duracell, Procter & Gamble, Gatorade, Mattel, Dr. Pepper and countless others.

Nominated in 2005 as best creative director in the U.S., his award-winning international work — which has garnered FIAPs, Clios, honors from the New York Festival and accolades from the London International Awards, to name just a few — stems from his breadth of experience across all aspects of multichannel marketing. With experience in developing campaigns that integrate digital strategy and social media, direct mail, activations, promotions, TV broadcast, radio, print and content creation, Alex knows more than just how to translate content to reach a multicultural audience; he knows how to decode it, making sure every nuance is translated well and authentically.

Check out some of Alex’s work here:

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