Analysing the fusion of cultures and influences in brand communication

In 2013 we learned that 232M people lived outside their country of origin, with each successive generation becoming more multicultural.

Millennials are the most diverse generation in history. Only 59% are Caucasian and 27% have an immigrant background (Deloitte 2015). So it’s no surprise they’re causing a huge shift in attitudes to diversity and inclusivity.

Ggroup of young friends at urban scene having fun

Once, the diversity issue was moral, and brand responses were tokenistic. Now, millennials see it as empowering. They define it by how it relates to a mix of unique experiences, identities, ideas and opinions. They expect brands to reflect this ‘omnicultural’ mind-set in their media and marketing.

80% of parents say they like seeing diverse families in marketing. 41% of millennial parents are more likely to buy products from brands that use diverse family types in their advertising.

Mother, father and daughter sat around a table smiling and looking at a computer. Okayama, Japan. March 2016

In the past, the term inclusivity primarily implied acceptance and tolerance of gender, race and ethnicity. Now, the focus in on using collaborative tools to drive business impact. Multicultural consumers see themselves as part of a new mainstream. They have access to an infinite combination of choices and products to suit their lifestyles and tastes.

There is now a higher value placed on teamwork – millennials value a culture of connectivity. They feel empowered when they believe their employer fosters an inclusive nature.

They love to share their experiences and explore the cultures of others. In doing so, they influence mainstream consumers and expand the multicultural market opportunity. Their increased social media and technology adoption has accelerated this.

Brand implications

Multicultural consumers tend to gravitate to brands, products and activities that reinforce their cultural roots but also allow them to explore new identities.

Millennials are demanding that brands, assets and campaigns are more creative, provocative and challenging. Brands, therefore, need to recognise that inclusivity starts in-house. They need to deviate from accepted story lines around identity, for example.

Brands can go further than just reflecting a broad range of identities in their advertising. There are huge opportunities in constructing a narrative around a ‘no normal’ mindset. Brands are increasingly representing disabled, homosexual and gender fluid consumers in their advertising.

A great example is US bank Wells Fargo’s #WhyIWork campaign. Their ad featuring a lesbian couple learning sign language before adopting a young deaf girl garnered 1.6m views on YouTube.

A year later, Channel 4 launched its ‘Superhumans Wanted’ initiative. It encouraged brands to creative innovative advertising featuring disabled people. The winning ad was shown during the first ad break of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Finally, OMD was proud to broker a partnership between QuidCo and LGBT+ publication Attitude earlier this year. Timed to coincide with London Fashion Week, it provided Attitude’s readers with a new way to get the catwalk look for less.

attitude

Want to explore this talking idea more? Contact us at emea@omd.com

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Nick Smith

Nick works in the EMEA Insight team, ensuring efficient management and delivery of insight products and thinking to clients.

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