The latest Census information, pop culture, and everyday observation serve as reminders about the myriad ways that the U.S. is diverse. In today’s guest post, Coltrane Curtis, founder, owner, and creative director of Team Epiphany, a New York-based firm with clients like EA Games and Timberland, suggests that there’s still another way to look at multiculturalism and diversity.
In today’s guest post, Curtis discusses how consumers are identifying themselves, and who’s influencing these groups. Feel free to continue the conversation in the comments and @PRNewser on Twitter.
Defining Influence for the New Multicultural Audience by Coltrane Curtis, Team Epiphany
Defining audiences by cultural demographics is simply archaic. In today’s marketplace, consumers, particularly millennials, align themselves by psychographics rather than demographic similarities. In that sense, a “multicultural” audience is one that utilizes a set of diverse cultural references to define themselves.
These multicultural consumers have purchasing habits that are driven by personal testimonials from trusted disseminators of information pertinent to the target. Effective word-of-mouth, “grassroots” marketing programs of yesteryear, has now yielded to social media strategies that connect thought leaders directly to consumers and vice-versa.
Now, more than ever, brands are struggling to identify, connect, and communicate with this consumer segment that influences their business. To do that, brands must harness the power of global influencers who emanate offline and resonate socially online. Influencers are the people behind the scenes who create the energy and organic brand messaging that gets adopted by the masses.
One is not simply an influencer because they have a lot of Facebook friends or Twitter followers. An influencer is an individual who designs the lifestyle that we adopt as our own. Are they stars? Not really. However, they are the people that allow stars to push the boundaries beyond what is considered mainstream.
The foundation of influence begins offline, resonates hyperlocally, and is validated by social media. Because of social media, WOM now has a direct ROI, which makes influencer marketing and communication strategies a science.
Who are some of these unique cultural creators, influencers and brand-breakers? People like celebrity stylist Mariel Haenn, designer/entrepreneur/owner of street wear store UNDEFEATED James Bond, and CEO of Grand Hustle Jason Geter. They read sites like Freshnessmag.com and Lateboots.com.
How do brands play ball? Be humble, have some respect for the network’s power, and include the influencer community in your brand’s development and marketing process. Influencers that have a vested interest in the success of a brand are more apt to support it post-launch and will help to engineer organic sustainable growth.