A Social Impact on the Future of Multicultural Marketing

  • After a few years working as a content writer, I've spent the balance of my career multicultural marketing agency. Working with people with diverse accents, colors, and backgrounds every day is energizing. It can be perplexing at times, but it's always entertaining.

     

    Multicultural Canada has always been the most remarkable marketing experiment I've ever seen. I saw it as a chance to influence the tone of a country within a country.

     

    I saw the seeds of a significant cultural shift when many prominent agency directors in the late 1990s and early 2000s considered the markets a second-class business not worth bothering with. It was clear to me that future pop culture will emerge from the grassroots of our minority populations.

     

    Multicultural agencies: do they have a future?


    Ironically, as the country gets more diverse, any client, agency, and tech firm will be able to hire a varied range of creative and intellectual talent from various colors, ethnicities, genders, and cultures, turning multicultural "expertise" into a commodity.

     

    Do multicultural agencies have a future? Absolutely. However, selling one more burger or wireless plan cannot be the future. I believe that the most relevant and essential work is yet to be done: Social impact.

     

    If communities of color drive the country's growth, brands must ensure that their future consumer and talent bases are educated, healthy, productive, and financially secure. That is where we must concentrate our efforts next.

     

    This type of labor is in high demand in our business i.e. ethnicity multicultural marketing + advertising. For the past few years, Cannes and the world's most prestigious advertising festivals have recognized campaigns that attempt to make a difference. There are numerous examples of huge organizations and advertising agencies trying to produce meaningful work. "The Talk" by Procter & Gamble tackles racism head-on, whereas "Do You Hear Me?" by Blue Cross Blue Shield discusses racial disparities in public health. However, these and other campaigns continue to feel like one-off endeavors.

     

    There are two major roadblocks to performing social impact work for our minority populations on a sustained basis:

     

    The first is that many significant issues that need to be addressed may quickly become politicized. In a still politically divided country, brands and agencies are wary of the causes they choose to work on. For example, nobody talks about teen pregnancy in Texas, a widespread problem that threatens the lives of thousands of Latina girls. A communication problem needs to be solved creatively. Still, the state's abstinence policy and conservative values make finding companies willing to invest in a solution difficult.

     

    The second impediment to social impact work is the lack of an immediate return on investment. The findings will take a long time to appear. The consequences of a planned financial literacy effort for Black and Hispanic children will take a generation to observe.

    Investing in minority communities' quality of life in Canada is an investment in the country's future.


    Multicultural marketing must be action-oriented: we must begin doing something rather than marketing something.