Imagine for a moment that you’ve decided to purchase a new bed. What determines your first steps in the buying journey? Where do you go to get the information you’re looking for? How do you determine your budget? What website would you visit to purchase your new bed? How would you prefer to shop? In the past, visiting a brick-and-mortar business was the only way to purchase a mattress. However, there are several online-only brands that offer in-home trials and free returns, so now you have the option to shop online even if you don’t opt for major mattress brands websites.
These are just a handful of questions that normally come up when you make the decision to buy something. As a marketer, it’s important to remember that for each of these questions, consumers will provide different answers. A lot of our decision-making depends on individual experiences and our cultural background.
Successful international advertising and marketing require an understanding of how customers make decisions. It is also crucial to realize that people in different areas may not have equal access to Internet sources because they face different life challenges and prioritize their goods and services differently.
Research indicates that social media preferences vary by race and ethnicity. Hispanic Americans and African-Americans are among the most active users of mobile devices, radio, and TV. Multicultural millennials are the highest content consumers, with the top four being blogs, radio, TV, and smartphones. It’s because of this marketers have started to develop multicultural content personalization. With it, brands are able to address people of various cultures and ethnicities more effectively.
Aim to Empower
Ideally, you should create a sense of empowerment. Go beyond your brand. Recognize the strength of a group and involved the culture to do more than just purchase a product. Using empowering campaigns not only encourages people to be proud of your brain that helps to establish a positive relationship with your potential customers.
Nike ran a Black History Month ad, “Be Bold. Be True.” it was released for Black History Month in 2019 and features a spoken word piece by Joekenneth Museau paired with images of people being bold. It is subtle in that the connection to Black History Month comes only briefly with the hashtag #BHM. Which allows the message to become more about empowerment.
Include Variety in your campaigns representing the backgrounds and experiences of everyone in your target market, not just one particular cultural subgroup. Looks to Coca-Cola’s America is Beautiful advertisement for inspiration here. This ad in particular highlights The melting pot of cultures that exist in America, representing America the Beautiful being sung by different people in many languages. Though there are arguments for and against using the total market trends, inclusivity works when done well.
Culturally-focused topics are often sensitive. It can be easy to make mistakes and get negative reactions as a result. As such, you must be able to predict potential ripples of impact for the campaigns and be able to address any negative feedback.
You must research, evaluate, and evaluate everything before executing cultural campaigns of any kind.
Tug on the Heart Strings
As humans, we are fairly emotional. Audiences can be moved even by a slight tug on the heartstrings. This is especially true when you add in cultural factors. Our culture identifies humans as individuals, nations, families, and more. Therefore, people are strongly and sentimentally linked to their culture.
Recognizing a particular culture’s quirk and bringing it to light in a humorous and kind way can give you better customer engagement. Campaigns of this nature tend to focus on a particular cultural trait that if the cultural group was hanging out together, they would poke fun at gently. When it’s done well, meaning that it avoids stereotypes, it usually gives you higher responses, views, and purchases.
Want an example? Take a look at It’s a Southern Thing. Any southerner will tell you how accurate these videos are. A friend of mine who was born and raised in western North Carolina, currently living in Clemson, South Carolina, personally attests to the accuracy of this video on bad weather and this video on how to tell if a southern woman is mad at you.
Understand Cultural Intricacies
Inside multicultural segments, and you’ll run into a variety of changes and varieties that will affect your campaign. Being aware of these can save face, resources, and time.
Take time to carefully study all of your cultural targets for each campaign and adapt your campaign accordingly. If for instance, you want to create a campaign around the Chinese New Year, look at recent census information. It tells us that Asian markets are the fastest and largest growing populations with concentrated geographic locations. Thoughtful marketing campaigns generally find success during each Lunar New Year because they focus their campaigns around that Year’s Chinese zodiac symbol.
2015, for instance, was the year of the Sheep. If in creating a campaign for the 2015 Lunar New Year, you weren’t sure what it meant, it is crucial to learn the cultural intricacies of that audience. The year of the sheep, unlike other lunar year symbols such as the dragon, is generally looked upon with less enthusiasm. Chinese birth rates declined severely in the year of the sheep because it carries a multitude of unflattering issues, one of which suggesting that women born in the year of the sheep don’t live long. Because of these attitudes and the general disposition of the Sheep, it’s not a year that’s often good for marketing.
See how not understanding that cultural intricacy could have made your campaign bomb? The year of the Rat begins on Saturday, January 25th. The rat is the first of all zodiac animals and in Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of surplus and wealth. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.
Presenting your brand as all-inclusive and suitable for everyone regardless of culture and background can be great for sales and customer relationships, but must be done with care and precision.