With 2011 turning into 2012, Ad Age gave Big Tent bloggers this request: Share one thing you wish you had done differently in 2011 (in terms of multicultural marketing) that you hope not to repeat in 2012. Here are some responses…
Multicultural Advertising Blogger
I have a secret motto that I try to apply to most projects. It gets me in trouble sometimes, but it’s worth it to me. The motto is: “If you ain’t making history, you ain’t making nothing.” We have to think big, because most African-American marketing is 10 to 15 years behind African-American culture. However, African-America culture is generally five or more years ahead of the general market. This is evidenced by the days-old African-American slang that permeates everything from general-market TV spots, to the evening news, to the dictionary. The marketing often is outpaced by the market. It’s a huge gap.
In 2011 we attempted to push a well-established but languishing brand into “modern” times by proposing new, greener packaging — a much-needed update to where and how the client thought about advertising, its placement and purpose. Our mistake was ignoring the pace at which this client was accustomed to change, although we felt the market was primed and ready for it. Initially, the client applauded our effort. But ultimately the new thinking was forced into a 1980s wardrobe that the company’s marketing team has been high-fiving for the past 30 years. We wound up doing print ads and nearly static banners.
In the future, I’ll make sure to prime the client first. We should have introduced the company to a progressive and a balanced relaunch. We needed to walk them into a clearer understanding of media’s increasing range of platforms and marketing’s growing role of being personal, useful and entertaining to consumers.
executive vice president
Cheskin Added Value, New York
I regret not having a better definition or metaphor to describe the shift occurring in ethnic identity in the United States. We use “new mainstream,” “intercultural new mainstream” and “total market.” Lack of a generally agreed-upon label with a clear meaning is causing confusion and leading marketers and their agencies into turf wars, marketing-spend allocation fights and marketing-process debates.
“New mainstream” describes the rise of ethnic-identity consumers and the growing importance of African-Americans/Hispanics as discrete marketable segments but leaves out the impact of ethnic shifts in the general market. ”Intercultural new mainstream” suggests that ethnic identity is more pervasive in consumer marketing and changing the nature of the general market. While perhaps more accurate, this term is cumbersome to use. “Total market” rolls off the tongue more easily but can lead to confusion. It suggests to some marketers that a “total-market” approach can replace an ethnic-specific effort, or that a “total-market” effort is the “whitewashing” of multicultural marketing.
My hope for 2012 is that we come to a better understanding of what we are observing in ethnic consumer shifts and their impact on U.S. consumer society as a whole, and in the process either create a new term or better definition for one we already have.
senior partner and CEO
GlobalWorks Group, New York
Rather than something that needed correcting, we prefer to call it a resolution for 2012: to press clients to embrace digital solutions more expansively. Multicultural budgets and initiatives tend to be conservative and more tentative in their new-media involvement. The budgets have never been fat, which meant going more for the sure thing than something new and risky. Well, today the risk lies in not going with the new. This year, we expect to push much harder to raise the proportion of client investment in social and mobile channels. If we have to, we’ll hold workshops to demonstrate how much leverage these channels can potentially yield over offline media.
Our mantra: Follow the buzz and the money. Billions of dollars are flowing into online, and the most successful marketers talk about — almost to the exclusion of everything else — how their digital presence is fueling growth worldwide.
Read more here…