The Multicultural Layer
Marketing to someone who doesn’t look like you | Multicultural marketing is nothing new, yet it’s amazing how many entrepreneurs don’t even think about this dimension in identifying and knowing their target consumer. Well, maybe we think about it, but then we immediately get overwhelmed and just put it on the backburner… or think it doesn’t apply to us. But I would say for 99% of us, understanding how different races/ethnicities/cultures respond to our businesses is absolutely critical. Playing ignorance can cost you sales and opportunities.
Below are some areas of our business that we must assess when it comes to multicultural marketing:
1. Target Audience: Whether your target audience is inclusive of all cultures or focused on a particular audience (i.e. African-Americans), it is absolutely important to address this in identifying your target audience. You’ll see why in a minute…
2. Brand Name: Does your brand name resonate with a particular audience, but make absolutely no sense with another audience? That may be ok depending on your target audience; however, I find that many times when you’re looking for sponsorships or alliances, those check holders may not look like your target. So, you need to figure out how to articulate your brand name in a seamless way.
3. Content: What you talk about (and how you talk about it) has to be relevant to your target audience. This may feel like a duh! but often times we forget to have this lens when we are marketing to someone that doesn’t look like us, or that didn’t grow up in our culture. The goal is to not offend, or come off ignorant, so do yourself a favor and think bigger than yourself when you start working through your website, blog, or social media content.
4. Imagery:This is clutch. If your target audience is inclusive of all ethnicities, yet the imagery you have only look like one type of person, you may run into challenges capturing a bigger audience. Again, for those that are more targeted towards race/ethnicity, narrowing your imagery may be perfectly fine and smart – but you still want to ensure you are capturing the depths of that target (including skin color, hair, style of dress, etc.)
These areas are just a start. The reality is whether you’re a big Fortune 500 organization, or a 1-woman consulting business, multicultural marketing is a layer of your business that takes education, time, energy, and empathy. If it was simple, everyone would be doing it right. But we know that in today’s (sensitive) society, there are many companies that are doing it wrong. The great news is as a small business owner, you can embed it in your business from the start.
Here's a key pointer. Get a "Board of Directors" for your business that is diverse and direct! It really can be that simple. Run ideas by them. Have them check out your website/social media every now and then. Ensure their critical eye and viewpoint is a part of your strategy.