U.S. Multicultural Tipping Point – Corporate America Forgot the Fireworks

U.S. Multicultural Tipping Point

Culture became the most important marketing buzzword last Friday, Aug. 22, at 6:46 p.m. CST, but Corporate America forgot the fireworks.

That’s the moment when the U.S. reached a Multicultural Tipping Point, according to EthniFacts CulturEdgesm Countdown Clock; mainstream U.S. culture from this point forward will be more influenced by cultural diversity than by one dominant culture.

While U.S. Census Bureau projections say America won’t officially become majority- minority from a demographic standpoint until somewhere between 2038 and 2050, EthniFacts views the data in a different way, focusing on cultural influence by leveraging other demographic markers including multiracial populations, intermarried couples, cohabitating households, and residence location in multi-ethnic areas. EthniFacts believes their proprietary Interethnic Proximity Index serves as a truer indicator of the multicultural influence on mainstream U.S. culture. Influence of Culture

Cultural Influence

At MarketVision, where we spend our time exploring the evolving influence of culture on consumer behavior, attitudes, and beliefs, we agree.

Consumers today increasingly seek authentic cultural experiences, learning from other cultures, and embracing the benefits of raising their children amid rich cultural diversity. “In our new global economy, being ‘book smart’ is no longer enough to guarantee success,” a recent Forbes Northwestern MutualVoice article says. “Today’s children also need to be ‘culturally intelligent,’ meaning they need to learn how to succeed in a highly competitive, increasingly diverse global village.” (The advice comes just in time; this fall, minorities will outnumber non-Hispanic whites among the nation’s public school students for the first time, U.S. Department of Education projections show.)

Cultural thought leader Robert Rodriguez gets that culture is part of the American experience. His new El Rey TV network has a hyper-focus on the millennial consumer that’s inherently influenced by Latino culture. The network’s programming reflects America’s diversity, and uses English and Spanish, as well as mainstream U.S. and Hispanic cultural cues, to increase relevance to both Latino and Total Market millennials.

A corporate thought leader, our client Mondelez, has taken the bold step of sourcing Latino culture for innovation in brands and products that have been deeply woven into the U.S. consumers’ upbringing.

Multicultural Tipping Point and its Significance 

Unfortunately, many execs in Corporate America are still missing the significance of the Multicultural Tipping Point. After the 2010 Census set in motion a wave of projections about the growth and size of “minority” populations in the United States, brands that had always relied on the traditional marketing approach of General Market + Ethnic Niche Marketing began to question its efficiency and effectiveness. Their new buzzword became “Total Market,” but four years later, they’re still struggling with how to apply “Total Market” strategies internally and across their agencies.

Here’s what’s missing: Culture. It has to be the critical component in Total Market strategies. Culture inspires stronger communication and leads to fascinating innovation and perspectives on what drives our consumer and shopper targets. Culture-inspired marketing helps brands connect with consumers at a deeper level – accelerating relevance among both Latinos and the Total Market.

Note to brand leaders: You’re overdue for growing your brand by making culture a source of inspiration for your Total-Market strategies. The multicultural clock is ticking.

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