Remember the era of the “Soccer Mom”? The term represents one of the most effective trends in marketing and advertising. A movement that connected with a very specific, a very large and very predictable group. The height of mass direct communication. As a result, gains in market share were extraordinary and it didn’t take long for marketers to expand their campaigns to include not just soccer moms, but all women.
Fast forward to the era of gentrification, social media, globalization and we see the movement is being shifted toward a highly diverse and inclusive narrative. In this new world order, when individuals can go viral, share and connect thoughts with like minds in any format and in any country, communication between brands and consumers is more than a transactional exchange, more than a saturated slogan. The new target demographic is elusive and share just as many motivating factors as opposing tastes. We call this group, Poly-Ethnic Urbanites, and communication with them is based first and foremost on authenticity.
Businesses, municipalities and institutions that thrive in this new advertising age know that a 23-year-old African American man from Brooklyn may likely have more in common with a 25-year-old Vietnamese man from San Francisco than another black man the same age from Birmingham, AL. These Poly-Ethic Urbanites often share similar political ideology, social aspiration, consumption habits and even style trends. Case in point; the recent Pepsi commercial that painted a mystical story of urban conflict between citizens and police being solved by sharing a Pepsi. Black Lives Matter supporters, Women and Muslims stood with a full spectrum of Americans who expressed their outrage. Urban Americans of multiple races and ethnicities mobilized via social media in a massive attack on Uber in response to the company’s CEO taking a position on Trump’s business council. Both brands realized the power of this demographic’s social position and buying power.
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is a real, core competitive business strategy that if not thoughtfully employed by your marketing team or agency, suggests you are irrelevant and out of touch with your target audience, or worse. In dealing with race, culture, religion, socio-economic status, sexual-orientation, geography and the next five trending self-identifiers, we realize the notion of cultural representation among the ranks is not mono a mono. Who was in the room when the Pepsi commercial concept was in development? It doesn’t matter, because everyone is at fault. Every member of the team responsible for messaging must be sensitive to all variables—not just for PR, but more importantly for sales.
The Poly-Ethnic Urbanite is more woke on social issues and tracking corporate citizenship than the soccer mom who was once more focused on convenience. Nowadays consumers vote with their dollars and share opinions online. In response, brands must wake up and respond to the evolving cultural landscape with effective D&I policies. Think of when the iPad tablet hit the market. Or when having a Facebook page for your business became the norm, even for the most traditional brands. There was a flashpoint when the novelty passed and those once emerging tactics took the lead. No matter how cool or trendy, efficiency and revenue are always the driving forces. The bottom-line is the bottom-line and Poly-Ethnic Urbanites are one of the demographics drawing that line.