In recent months, a number of large companies have introduced multicultural campaigns: Coca-Cola's Spanish-language version of its “Open Happiness;” Colgate hosted a Hispanic-focused Oral Health Month; and State Farm promoted the Billboard Latin Music Awards. Beyond Hispanics, companies are spending significant money to reach blacks, Asian Americans, and other diverse groups.
Although multicultural budgets are known for being smaller than mass market ones, organizations are smartly recognizing that these audiences can provide important revenue streams, which is particularly worthwhile in a recession. To foster those good relationships now, companies and firms must not delay in putting together relevant communications strategies to reach these audiences, be it Latina moms or twentysomething black men.
Not surprisingly, multicultural PR firms and global agencies are telling PRWeek they are seeing significant increases in new business opportunities in this sector. A general market agency that does not have a plan in place for multicultural services is in danger of losing work, missing out on RFPs, and being perceived as behind the times. To create a plan now, an agency should consider whether to develop a strategic partnership with smaller, multicultural firms, or to build out its own specialties. Companies, too, are appointing internal communications pros that focus on media and issues specific to these groups.
Whether standing on the agency or corporate side, a multicultural strategy requires more than just hiring a few diverse pros and or adding a dedicated Web page. It is a sector that requires cultural sensitivity, contacts within non-English-language media, understanding nuances of ethnicities, and, often, fluency in another language. Though it will take strategic thinking, waiting any longer to find a place in these markets is foolish.