September 1, 2010: IABC-LA, PRSA-LA and HPRA Presents “Marketing to the New America: Gaining a Share of the Trillion-Dollar Multicultural Economy”

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On September 1, 2010, IABC- L.A Chapter teamed up with PRSA-LA and HPRA for a powerful evening to discuss the new multicultural “general market” with expert industry panelists on the research, client and agency sides.  This event was held at the upscale Twist Restaurant & Bar at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.  David Ono, ABC7 Eyewitness News Anchor, moderated this exceptional evening to hear from the industry’s most knowledgeable multicultural experts.  Sponsorship of the event included Nakatomi & Associates and Farmers Insurance.

After drinks and hors d’oeuvres, Ono’s opening remarks on diversity began with the ABC7 News station.  ABC7 was the first news broadcast to fully embrace and create diversity by hiring multicultural news anchors and reporters after the Walter Cronkite years.  It was very important to ABC7 Eyewitness News to create a viewership that felt represented.

Panelist David Morse, President & CEO, New American Dimensions, compared the record number of immigrants at the turn of the 20th century to the current influx today.  In the early 1900’s, U.S. labor demands brought southern and eastern Europe  immigrants, as well as Chinese who helped build the transcontinental railroad. Today, a record number of Hispanics and Asians are creating a revolutionary nation of immigrants all over again.  There are now 50 million Hispanics compared to 2.2 million in the 1970’s.  “No one knows where we’re going,” says Morse. 

Meanwhile, the African American and LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) population are also changing buying power in the U.S.  Morse’s statistics also stated that African Americans have been viewed through the lens of history the last 100 years as either being ignored or represented as gross stereotypes. 
 • Barack Obama’s election has been part of the new American revolution.
 • There are now 17 million in the LGBT market segment.
 
Kimberley R. Thompson, Senior Project Manager, Global Diversity, Starbucks, stated Starbucks aims to be the most inclusive, equitable and diverse company through its partners, customers, communities and suppliers.
 • Kimberley presented a Starbucks marketing example of a blended Frappacino beverage, most popular among African Americans. 
 • Starbucks analyzes customer food attitudes and behavior, partners with companies that hold the same views on diversity to create integrated marketing solutions.
 • “Listening to their voice!” is a huge part of Starbucks’ and Kimberley’s action plan.
 
Panelist Luis Sahagun, Director, Media & Public Relations – North America, Farmers Insurance Group stated the Hispanic market is growing faster than the overall U.S. general market! Sahagun stated most companies today are not doing nearly enough to keep up with Hispanic market.
 
 • Hispanics put their trust in Spanish-language commentators who have smaller, more concentrated audiences, rather than general market social and political commentators such as on CNN.
 • Farmers Insurance sponsored a Jorge Campos and Mexican soccer tour.  Instead of utilizing expensive general market strategies, Farmers invested in Spanish-language advertising.  Results produced a much higher return at a fraction of the budget.

Sponsor and panelist, Joni Byun, Senior Vice President, Nakatomi & Associates, presented pithy statistics and research of the emerging Asian American market from decades ago.  Asians now have $600 billion in buying power!  Asian Americans focus on education, family and health.
 
 • Some of the highest and lowest statistics criss-cross in hot-button issues like teen pregnancy in the multi-segment Asian American population.
 •  Cultural differences produce a laugh: “tobacco-free environment” translated to some Asian Americans as free cigarettes! 
 • Asian American culture has influenced the trendy general market: Think “Kogi” food truck!
 • Asian Americans are gaining more roles of substance in the entertainment field.
 •  Multicultural research has taught U.S. companies like Chase Bank, Farmers Insurance and Southern California Edison to use the word “qualified” when marketing to lower-income Asian American families who would rather not be referred to as “poor” or “lower-income.”

Finally, Stephan Roth, Principal, OutThink Partners, presented statistics and information on the LGBT market.  The LGBT market is currently a $750 billion market growing to $845 billion by 2011.

 • There is lots of LGBT  income with predominantly double-income and no kids.
 • LGBT market is a great “influencer” market: first to adopt new technology, read and write blogs, involved creatively in business such as design, PR and advertising.
 • Brand loyalty: tremendous brand loyalty…however can backfire if bad press against an LGBT issue.
 • LGBT market travels more which allows more sponsorships and partnerships.
 • Trends/insights in the LGBT market show more mainstream integration: marriage rights as well as having babies.  Optimism is also a big trend among this population segment. 

Corporate America and communications pros have been shaken up in how we must collectively embrace multicultural marketing, PR and advertising.  We received information on multicultural trends that have reached way beyond a temporary phase, now a new American reality: a trillion-dollar multicultural economy reality. As communications and PR professionals, it is our responsibility to actively listen to the multicultural voices. 

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