The multicultural vote will decide if you win or lose

Last week, we all watched election 2012 coverage. As the voting results were tallied, the nation realized the real electoral vote was that of multicultural America.

Last week, we all watched election 2012 coverage. As the voting results were tallied, the nation realized the real electoral vote was that of multicultural America. 

In the weeks and months after the election, pundits will analyze what ultimately worked and did not work. As a multicultural marketer, I was amused as “the new face of America” aha moments have continued to unfold across networks.

Ultimately, I think it's safe to say all parties now realize that it is mandatory to engage the fastest-growing group in the nation: multicultural audiences. Was the multicultural audience vote the deciding factor? According to Reuters/Ipsos polling, about 80% of Latinos, blacks, and other non-white voters cast their ballots for President Barack Obama, compared with less than 17% for Mitt Romney. Obama also won about 63% of total voters age 18 to 34. Simply put, the candidate who won with multicultural and young adult audiences won the game.

So in 2013, what is your agency or brand strategy to obtain the multicultural vote? As you start developing your plans, here's some food for thought to keep top of mind.

Separate but equal is dead.
Although the notion of “separate but equal” is most often referenced in history books, our approach to communications and marketing is sometimes as historic as this concept. In 2013, it's time to retire the idea of approaching the general market and the multicultural market in separate silos. PR and marketing experts who embrace the concept that a winning general market plan involves a multicultural strategy will lead our industry in the future. So what does this mean, to integrate multicultural into all of your communications and marketing efforts? To do this successfully, multicultural cannot be viewed as an afterthought or an additional build, but instead a core ingredient to a winning plan.

Cultural competency.
So now the question becomes, how does an agency or brand develop a winning multicultural strategy? Through cultural competency, make an effort to understand and know your minority audience beyond the obvious points of difference such as race, linguistic, sex, etc. Instead aim to for a deeper understanding of what's important to the multicultural audience, what's important to it, and what matters most. It's through this deeper understanding that you can best serve this audience.

Define your brand purpose with multicultural audiences.
Purpose-driven communication platforms are the best-kept secret when it comes to building brand loyalty among multicultural consumers. Multicultural audiences want to know your brand purpose - how does your brand fit into their life? And how does your brand uniquely serve and enrich their life? The gateway to a winning multicultural purpose-driven plan is the ability to connect the dots between cultural competency, the needs of multicultural consumers, and how your brand can uniquely serve them. Some brands that are leading the way with multicultural purpose-driven platforms are programs such as Disney's Dreamer Academy,  P&G's Orgullosa, and General Mills' Box Top for Education, to name a few.

So as you think about devising winning 2013 strategies, keep the aforementioned points top of mind. Let's take a key learning from the 2012 Election - the multicultural vote is essential to winning.

Teneshia Warner is founder of Egami Consulting Group and author of Profit With Purpose: A Marketer's Guide to Deliver Purpose-Driven Campaigns to Multicultural Audiences

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