Taking Multicultural Beyond Ethnicity


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Abby Auerbach, Executive Vice President &  Chief Advocacy Officer, TVB

TVB June 2013 Vlog Stacey Schulman

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Defining a culture means more than just looking at a native language or country of origin. Today, we live in a society that has many self-selected cultures that aren’t strictly defined by age, sex or ethnicity.

For example, it might be hard to find a more tight-knit group than Working Moms. We form Mommy Networks, share carpool duties and create online communities. Above all else, we accept, advise, and defend one another based upon the simple

status of being a working mother. We are often each other’s most trusted confidants – and that creates a substantial branding alliance. Moms advocate for what they trust, and moms trust other moms. A brand that earns our trust can be a brand of a true culture that has no true demographic. Working moms come in all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities.

This dynamic can be applied to a variety of groups that share strong common bonds. Sports Enthusiasts, Music Buffs, Surfers, Car Guys, Sci-Fi Fans, each have their own particular community that binds them.

Yet they are very much a product of their location. Moms trust other moms. They not only tell them which brands and doctors they trust, but more importantly where to find them. Sports fans can certainly talk sports across the US, but they’ll have a local team that’s almost family. And anglers speak their own language, but it takes a local to know where the fish are biting.

Expanding our meaning of “multicultural” may be more akin to understanding behavioral targeting. Cultures develop and thrive on their togetherness. And that’s why defining these archetypes is often a local opportunity.

It all comes down to belonging. You don’t find kinship to someone merely because they share your same age and chromosomes. But you might find it with someone who shares your love of gardening, in the same sandy soil.

For marketers, leveraging local geography gives you a unique opportunity to zero in on great concentrations of consumers of a common culture. Did you know, you can reach 50% of gardeners with just 28 of the 210 markets in the US; 50% of people who go to pop/rock concerts with 27 markets and half the people who do yoga with 31 markets? It’s as important to understand the where of these groups as the what that makes them homogeneous.

Cultures come in many flavors. To reach their unique members, don’t underestimate the value of talking to them where they live, garden and carpool. Connecting with a Multicultural target might mean expanding what you think of “Multicultural” – and how local markets can give definition to these otherwise borderless communities.


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