Why purpose matters with multicultural audiences

As the nation's fastest-growing population evolves into the new mainstream, now more than ever brands must determine ways to drive brand loyalty and long-term sustained ROI.

As noted in my previous blog, today more than ever, the expectation of multicultural consumers is for brands to have meaning and stand for something.

For example, more than 85% of multicultural consumers expect brands to make a sincere effort to be a part of their community, and a full 70% believe brands rarely tackle the real issues or concerns that matter to them. As the nation's fastest-growing population evolves into the new mainstream, now more than ever brands must determine ways to drive brand loyalty and long-term sustained ROI.

Over the past five years, the Egami Consulting Group team had the opportunity to work with leading Fortune 100 brands to deliver exciting purpose-driven platforms to multicultural audiences. Here are some key nuggets to keep top of mind:

Purpose starts from within
What is behind every purpose-inspired program? Purpose-driven employees. Many leading purpose-driven engagement platforms connecting with multicultural audiences start from within, for example Procter & Gamble's “My Black is Beautiful.” As you think about developing a purpose-inspired idea, it's vital to remember your most valuable asset: your own diverse employees. Purpose-inspired programs offer a great way for them to connect the dots between their profession and their personal purpose of giving back to their own communities. These people are key resources who know what's going on, possess unique insight, and can effectively share across their network. So remember, purpose starts within.

Mindshare versus wallet share
A key point of discussion is that brands must place a priority on mindshare versus the immediate ROI. In order to build an authentic multicultural purpose-inspired platform, it's important to build authentic programs that resonate and meet a sincere need and that connects to insight. As noted in previous blog entries, the priority is to master how your brand-purpose best aligns with a consumer need. Through cultural competency, make an effort to understand and know your minority audience beyond the obvious points of difference such as race, language, sex, etc. Instead, aim for a deeper understanding of what's important to the multicultural sector, what's important to them, and what matters most. It's through this deeper understanding that you can best serve this audience.

PR as a driver to engage
Public Relations can be a powerful vehicle when it comes to engaging multicultural audiences. Remember: these audiences are connected 24/7 and engagement will require a media strategy that places a priority on cultural messaging across a range of media channels. We call this a “360 diversity surround sound approach.” Also important to note is that multicultural audiences are a part of the mainstream, so do not omit mainstream outlets. Lastly, there is no VIP in media; passionate purpose-inspired influencers, celebrities, and bloggers who are serving their community can be your most valuable asset. 

Long-term versus short-term
If we take a look at platforms that are leading the way with purpose initiatives, such as P&G's “My Black is Beautiful,” there is no short-term strategy. The name of the game is long-term engagement — not “here today, gone tomorrow.” Too many times, brands show up briefly and then pull out, but if you look at programs such as McDonalds 365, it's there, as its name says, “365” and not pulling out. Be willing to meet the same kind of long-term commitment yourself.

These are just a few points to keep top of mind. Now is the time for you to bring your brand purpose to the lives of these consumers. They want to know: why does your brand exist? How does it serve them uniquely? Answer that question and then get really creative about how that comes to life as a PR or marketing program. P&G's “Mean Stinks” answered the question, Disney “Dreamer's Academy” answered the question, and now so can you. As we enter into 2013, lead with purpose!

Teneshia Warner is founder of Egami Consulting Group, the strategic diversity partners for MSLGroup, and author of Profit with Purpose: A Marketer's Guide to Delivering Purpose Driven Campaigns to Multicultural Audiences.

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