Over the past few years, U.S. demographics have been constantly changing. Slowly, the minority is now becoming the majority. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one in ten U.S. counties has more than 50 percent minority residents. With the change in demographics, PR professionals must realize that the generalized campaign message will no longer work. In order for your message to be truly effective, you must take a cultural approach and tailor your message for your target demographic using the concept of multicultural PR.
Since the U.S. population is so diverse, one generalized campaign could exclude groups because the campaign may not be consistent with the values or lifestyle of that group. Furthermore, a generalized campaign may not come across the same way for one demographic or culture as it would for another. In essence, your message could become lost in translation, completely missing people groups that could be important to your campaign.
Some companies are beginning to realize the importance of multicultural PR and understanding the changing demographics. Kimberly-Clark recently launched a campaign taking the cultural-targeting approach. Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies and Pull-Ups “Tren de Vida” (Train of Life) campaign aims at connecting with Hispanic mothers. Efforts include face-to-face meeting at events like the Mexican Independence Day Festival, radio broadcasts and the recent launch of HuggiesEnEspanol.com. According to Sergio López-Miró, president of Hispanic PR, the campaign is built on the cultural experience of many Latina mothers relying on extended networks of aunt, sisters and grandmothers to help raise their children.
There’s an article entitled “PR Technique: Multicultural campaigns: the sum of the parts” by Anita Chabria that offers some great tips about multicultural PR campaigns. It is a few years old, but still very relevant today.
Here are Chabrai’s tips:
- “Do in-depth research on the target demographic to understand cultural nuances and preferences that could impact the message.”
- “Do reach out to smaller publications and institutions with clout in the community, such as neighborhood papers and churches.”
- “Do consider using a visual theme to tie together a campaign for various minority or ethnic groups.”
- “Don’t assume an outsider can understand the culture. Take the time to speak with members of the group you are targeting.”
- “Don’t limit your placements. Especially in the youth market, kids often cross demographic lines in areas such as music and pop culture.”
- “Don’t underestimate the power of language – reaching out in the target group’s native tongue is critical.”
As our country continues to grow, it is vital that PR professionals think beyond the general population, and develop more culturally and lifestyle-driven campaigns.