How to Create a Multicultural Marketing Strategy

Multicultural marketing has become a key component of business growth, as the marketing strategies that help a brand gain prominence in one cultural environment aren’t always effective in getting that brand to take off in another.

To take your brand global while also maintaining your distinctive quality, you want a multicultural marketing strategy approach that diversifies each marketing campaign based on who will be viewing it, including all the cultural values that influence how brands work in that community or region. 

A Look Into Creating a Multicultural Marketing Strategy

At first, it may feel like you have to reinvent the wheel in order to make your marketing strategy work in a new culture. But truthfully, there are just a few ways in which cultures respond differently to your product or service. Cultural values can be a major source of information about how to tweak current marketing materials to be more inclusive and reach a wider range of people.

Usually, this process involves choosing potential new markets or subsets of your current market. You’ll do research like you would to create any campaign, but you’ll then set the cultural values you uncover against your current expressions of your product’s value: are they less compelling given what this culture tends to value? If so, developing new slogans, creative assets, and copy can help you to be more effective in generating new customer connections.

Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter: 3 Key Benefits

Multicultural marketing has a strong connection to the overall values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your company. Recognizing that not everyone needs the same thing to be drawn in and connected to a brand helps you to improve access to your products and make customers feel truly heard. 

Sharpen Your Competitive Edge

People who don’t see the value of DEI aren’t noticing just how much growth becomes possible when you become the go-to brand in multiple cultural contexts. If your competitors are keeping their marketing very focused on a single segment of their market, they are leaving a strategic opening for you to gain market share and build loyalty through efforts to make your products and services more appealing to diverse audiences.

Find Untapped Markets

When increasing market share, you’re likely to discover that there are entire markets where, due to language barriers, location, or cultural differences, people aren’t getting the services or products you offer at all. When you get the chance to be the first in your product sector to grow into a new cultural setting, you can set the stage and gain customers rapidly without having to deal with a saturated market. It’s an incredible source of growth. 

Have a More Genuine Understanding of Your Customer Base

When things are going well for your company, it’s easy to rest on your laurels and assume you know why your customers do what they do. But a multicultural, diversity-forward approach to marketing is going to give you a better holistic understanding of what makes people from various cultures connect with your brand.

This information can allow you to anticipate cultural and economic shifts that could have an impact on your brand’s performance, allowing you to look ahead and pivot in both your product line and marketing strategy before your customer base fully changes. True customer base knowledge helps you forecast future growth opportunities as well.

How to Create An Inclusive Multicultural Strategy

Getting started on a strategy for inclusive marketing means you’re considering any and all of the communities that could be touched by your marketing materials. You want to find ways for your message to connect, even if it means having a few versions of your materials that are personalized to multiple communities, rather than one central campaign message.

Don’t Assume: Conduct Cross-Cultural Consumer Research

It’s easy to do a focus group or survey without making sure that the respondents are spread across your entire audience, including each cultural subset you want to reach. The type of marketing you choose, however, might not address key differences in culture and multicultural segments, if you aren’t diving into research carefully. 

If, for instance, you distribute a survey in three target markets around the world, but you don’t notice that 90% of the respondents in this one case were from one market, you might end up with strategies that won’t work in two of your markets.

In many cases, the most appealing approach in one market won’t be as effective in another, so consumer research should be segmented, allowing you to personalize targeted marketing to each cultural community you wish to reach. 

Get People Talking: Foster Community Engagement to Boost Inclusion

Interactive marketing is one of the strongest ways to build brand recognition and loyalty while also getting valuable feedback on your approach. 

When you get new potential customers engaged through efforts like promoting social causes, you learn about how they respond to brands who take strong ethical stands. 

If you create campaigns on social media platforms that focus on discussion and engagement, the way that your new cross-cultural customer base interacts can be telling for whether this approach is really working for them, and whether there might be gains to build upon in the next campaign.

Check That Your Marketing Goals Represent a Multicultural Consumer Base

If you’re still working with a set of overall goals that is situated in a single culture, you may be aiming for metrics that don’t reflect the need in that community. 

For instance, the way that a product or service offers value is often different in individualist versus collectivist cultures. An appeal to how the product helps you connect with family and friends may be less effective in an individualist culture, but a campaign focusing on the individual may appear selfish or just out of touch in a collectivist culture.

Make sure that you realign any goals that are connected to your value proposition when you’re working with a new cultural market. Culture often influences why people purchase in certain ways, so it should be factored in throughout the process.

Personalize Your UX & Embody Your Customer’s Cultural Values

Once you have these goals, factor them into everything, not just a bit of ad copy here and there. Your user experience should be just as good and navigable in one culture as in any other.

If your new cultural market seems promising but is leading to lots of cart abandonment or traffic without purchases, do some testing to see where in the process the experience is going wrong for people from that culture. Even small changes to the UX can make them feel less friction and doubt about the purchase. 

Use Inclusive Images & Creative Assets

People may not consciously choose their products based on whether they see themselves in the pictures and videos in your marketing, but unconsciously, they are always picking up on cues of whether a product is “for people like me” or not. 

Many companies are going beyond just photos and actors in video: using well-recognized Spanish-language music, for instance, is one way that companies are appealing to their US-based Hispanic audience, making their creative assets more comprehensively attuned to the market they want to reach.

When you opt for more multicultural images that reflect a global brand rather than images that only show people from a single culture, you open yourself up to finding customers all over. When your wider creative assets address the role of your product or service in different cultures, people are much more likely to see that product as being for them. 

Be In the Right Places With Omnichannel Communication

A strong omnichannel communication strategy means that you actually can get your advertising and marketing work in front of customers around the world. The globalizing effect of the internet means that, if you are willing to learn what the dominant programmatic platforms are in different cultures, you can reach people all over the world by adjusting your digital marketing tactics.

Once you’ve put in the work and collaboration with experts to create these cross-cultural messages, images, and creative assets, use a strong marketing agency like AUDIENCEX to make sure they are reaching the wide range of audiences you want to see them via all relevant marketing channels. A strong emphasis on analytics and data ensures that you’re achieving maximum reach for the best value. 

Be Inclusive With Your Own Decision-Making Team

The past few years have revealed that some companies fully embrace a stronger understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and others still have a long way to go. As you work on your approach to multicultural marketing, make sure to walk the walk by being inclusive of ideas within your team.

Your team brings a variety of perspectives and even though you cannot put every idea that every person has into practice, strong listening skills and collaboration efforts are essential to keeping your whole team speaking up and contributing. This means working with diverse communication styles and really drawing out feedback from every team member, but also deliberately recruiting diverse hires that will bring the perspectives your team doesn’t represent yet.

Only with the continuing contribution of your whole decision-making team can you make the best possible variety of choices for your company.

Get Inspired: Examples of Multicultural Marketing in Action

A great way to see how finished products can look with these key efforts to reach multicultural audiences is to look at multicultural marketing examples. Consider the way that Target’s holiday campaign in 2021 addressed many cultural identities that include holidays with their slogan “The holidays are meant to be shared.”

The glimpses into home life that are shown in the scene feature Target products used in celebrations of multiple religious holidays from various cultures around the world, but also combined traditions and non-religious celebrations, like making gingerbread houses with friends or waking up to look out at the snow. 

By choosing actors and actresses of multiple ethnicities, nationalities, and family structures, the ad chooses to focus on diverse imagery, all focused around the company’s value proposition: instead of just providing, for instance, a Christmas section in their stores, they are positioning themselves as a company that provides the supplies you need to create positive memories with the people you spend time with. 

Instead of stating a list of holidays or cultural traditions that can be celebrated with the help of Target products, they focus on the idea of traditions and sharing more broadly, which means that even a family structure or cultural tradition that isn’t mentioned could still find themselves reflected in the overall variety of the ad.

While this ad is only 30 seconds long, it’s clear that research went into every scene and setting to make sure that when someone saw even a glimpse, they’d start to see things they personally recognized and connected with, a real multicultural effort. 

A great example of how a company has dovetailed product line expansion with marketing is the way that Nike has taken the approach that all people are athletes, not just elite or high-performance individuals. 

Their “One Day We Won’t Need This Day” ad showcases women of various sizes and ethnicities, making it clear that Nike’s product line isn’t only for particular body types or cultural backgrounds through the presence of, for example, sports-ready head coverings. 

The ad’s tone and focus are on International Women’s Day and about making progress in women’s rights, but its marketing focus is subtly pointing out that you don’t have to fit past perceptions of what athletes look like and where they come from in order to find products from Nike that work for you in how you move your body.

This expansion makes it possible for Nike to grow their market share, combining imagery that focuses on top athletes and women that have been making waves in the world of sports throughout the decades with images of ordinary women. The copy is carefully attuned to a future focus that helps all kinds of women see themselves as included, making it a valuable international marketing example.

These kinds of advertisements are part of a broader strategy to find the kinds of marketing messages that will garner respect and connection from as wide an audience as possible, even if in cases like Nike, this particular ad didn’t work to attract male viewers. The combination of expansive messaging with the option to make other ads and messages to create an overall broad reach is a valuable strategy for eventually reaching entire multicultural audiences.

How Could Your Marketing Efforts Be More Inclusive?

The first question to ask as you embark on more inclusive marketing is simply to consider who is absent from your customer base these days. True diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts should help you connect with all the potential customers in your area of influence. There are times when people simply don’t use your products or services because they aren’t relevant, but other times, they simply haven’t been presented with the way that the product fits into their cultural value system.

Your next campaign can be more diversified and personalized if you opt to learn more about the cultural communities into which you’d like to expand. Listening via research, focus groups, and surveys can help you learn how your product line could fit into the lifestyles of a new market, boosting your appeal.

If the idea of expanding your marketing to be truly multicultural sounds daunting, you don’t have to tackle this challenge alone! AUDIENCEX offers expertise in multicultural marketing strategies powered by deep audience insights, all leveraged across our fully integrated omnichannel platform. Reach out any time if you’d like to find out how our holistic approach can help you create a wider reach and authentically connect with new audiences.