Multiculttural Marketing to Passions by Mac SelenaMarketing to passions has never been more important. It has been proven to enable brands to break through the clutter among target consumers who engage with content on multiple devices at the same time and with short attention spans. Technology and consumer behaviors are rapidly evolving, yet one thing remains true: people choose to spend more energy, time, and money on what they love, especially if they can get the level of personalization and self-expression that they have come to expect.

Despite the population and buying power growth of U.S. multicultural groups, many companies still lag on finding out whether their brands are remaining relevant among diverse audiences and developing a plan to address any deficiencies. According to a recent CMO Council white paper, close to half of the 150 marketers surveyed did not have a multicultural marketing strategy in place simply because it was not a priority. But it does not need to be that way if marketers just treated multicultural marketing as part of the overall goal of reaching consumers while engaged with their passions.

Below are four examples on the multicultural marketing to passions trend that I learned about at this year’s Internet Week and Integrated Marketing Week with my thoughts on how to embed multicultural in the process:

  1. The Rise of YouTube Celebrities. Google’s “brand lift surveys” found that the higher the passion, popularity, and engagement with a given YouTube channel, the higher the ad recall. And it’s not just among teens—a study among U.S. adults by the University of Southern California (USC) found YouTube stars to be up to five times more influential and believable than traditional celebrities. Both Google and USC tie YouTube’s influence to the audience’s participation in content creation, which deepens their commitment and causes them to perceive the stars as real people (or even as friends) which makes them more trustworthy.

User-generated content is even more important to the multicultural audience, which seeks to connect with communities where they share identities and their voices are relevant. Even Univision recognizes that their standard programming is not fully reflective of the diversity of the Hispanic experience. Timed for July’s 2015 VidCon, they announced partnership deals with a dozen high-profile content creators on YouTube, Vine, and other platforms for the Univision Creator Network.

When I reviewed the content of Hispanic influencer partners chosen by Univision, I noticed that it does not always overtly speak to culture, and a lot of it is in English. So, what really matters is the degree to which the YouTube star is engaging the multicultural audience—data that Google should be able to provide to any marketer leveraging YouTube celebrities whether or not they are multicultural. Another option is to orchestrate collaboration between mainstream and multicultural YouTube influencers, as in the politically incorrect video “How to Get a White Girl” by Univision Creator SUPEReeeGO. It featured a very influential YouTube star, Jenna Marbles, which garnered almost five million views.

  1. Complex Media by Marc Eckō. Fashion mogul Marc Eckō discussed the need for media planning to shift from “look alikes” (i.e. targeting by demographics) to “like alikes” (i.e. targeting by interests). He founded Complex in 2002 because he was dissatisfied with his ability to reach the product and style oriented, influential male through one publication that spoke directly to their specific interests.

Complex centers around urban, hip-hop, skater, and sneaker culture, which draws a broad audience while being high affinity interests for young multicultural men. Currently, Complex gets 1.4 billion page views a month, over 250 million unique visitors monthly, and more than 500 million social media impressions a month. Its YouTube channel has more than 157 million views and more than 400,000 subscribers.

The lesson here is to identify broad interests that also have a high multicultural appeal. As discussed in my post on launching Hispanic targeted products, L’Oreal turned around its HiP Cosmetics business by evolving its positioning from “for women of color” to “for women who love color.”

  1. MAC Cosmetics “Selena” Line. Fans of the late Tejano Queen Selena Quintanilla embarked on a campaign to encourage MAC to release a limited edition Selena line in honor of the 20th anniversary of her death on March 31, 2015. It started after a super fan and makeup artist, Jose Antonio Figueroa, got creative with Photoshop three months ago and posted a mock-up tube of lipstick in Selena’s signature rojo. It evolved into a petition that garnered over 37,000 supporters and ended with MAC announcing just a few days ago that they would launch a “Selena” line in 2016.

Multicultural Marketing to PassionsClearly MAC Cosmetics did the math and figured out that if a sizeable portion of Selena’s 2.7 million Facebook fans enthusiastically support the line as these women expressed on twitter, a special collection would be worth the time and effort.

Marketers can explore introducing new products and sponsorship ideas within crowdfunding platforms to assess passion around it, thus paving the way for a successful launch. In addition, they can employ social listening to compare the conversations of the multicultural audience to those of the overall target market, leading to new ideas for properties and products to get involved with.

  1. Kellogg’s “Pop-Tarts® Crazy Good Summer” Pandora Station. While this initiative was focused on teens, it was driven by their passion for music, which mirrors the likes of multicultural consumers.

Kellogg’s created an exclusive branded channel to leverage Pandora’s reach of the audience and ability to deliver targeted content, extending the platform to a live concert series. Plus, they partnered with Nielsen Catalina Solutions to measure the impact of the program. Their research determined that consumers who were exposed to the campaign spent an average of $4.09 in-store, compared to $3.81 spent by those not exposed. This translated to an impressive 7% lift in incremental sales for Pop-Tarts, outperforming Nielsen benchmarks by 190%.

In conclusion, multicultural marketing is simply another form of marketing based on interests, and celebrating culture is one passion shared by a sizable market in the U.S. Given the proven return on investment of marketing to passions, there is no reason why companies should not simultaneously tackle the challenge in a way that simultaneously addresses mainstream and multicultural consumers.

What are your challenges when seeking to market to consumers’ passions? Why is it (or isn’t it) possible to address multicultural needs as part of the process?