Farnaz on Featured, Multicultural Branding and Marketing, Negating Stereotypes, Redefining Archetypes, New Face of America, New World Trends, New Realities

The Emerging Middle Class Culture In America

We are about to redefine the culture of middle class in the US, and most people and companies are not aware.  Some of us who are, ignore it or simply not happy about it.  Just the word “multicultural” draws in polarized reactions.  This is one of the three macro trends that I define as imperatives for business and social success in the future.  And it is shaping the emerging middle class in America.

I remember the marketing days when Latinos were primarily segmented into the lower income category.  But that is no longer the case, is it?  According to a new Nielsen report published last month, Latino’s income growth during the past decade has significantly surpassed the nation’s average.  Although 43% of Latino’s still earn below $35k/year (versus 35% total), 36% earn $35-75k (at par with 34% total) and growing at a higher rate.  What may be even more surprising to most is that 10% earn $75-100k, which is a 31% growth since 2000…. and 11% over $100k per year, which is a dramatic 71% increase.

Over 52 million strong, or 1 in 6, Latino buying power of $1 trillion in 2010 will change to $1.5 trillion by 2015.  You can expect Latino population and buying power to continue growing even with the decline in the immigration numbers.

Let’s put this into context… There are more Latinos in the US than Canadians in Canada, Malaysians in Malaysia, or South Africans in South Africa.  Latinos in the US represent second-largest Latino nation, right after Mexico, and before Spain, Columbia and Argentina.  If a standalone country, the buying power would be one of the top 20 economies in the world.

In my November blog, how to reach the fastest growing Asian market, I explained how the Asian market is over-indexing the US national average in just about every meaningful consumer category—specially in income, education and family size.  With this recent study showing Latino income on the rise, we can safely say that the landscape of American middle class is rapidly changing into a multicultural mosaic.  We are about to redefine the culture of middle class in America, which will in turn redefine every aspect of the pop culture, consumerism, politics, economy and business.  Just think of how branding strategies will have to shift for retail, residential buying, food, education, financial services, transportation, entertainment and media.

American marketers have never relied on a broad-stroke depiction of White consumers.  They should keep the same mindset when it comes to Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups.  Stereotyping the Latinos or Asians in the US will not be any different than stereotyping Caucasians.

According to Census, among US children, Hispanics are already 1 in 4 of all newborns.  Hispanics, Asians and multi-racial children accounted for all the US youth growth in the last decade.  Think of how this will define the next generation of our country.  The multi-racial children are clearly the result of inter-racial marriages.  Marriage across racial and ethnic lines has doubled since 1980, with 41% of all intermarriages in 2008 between Hispanics and whites, 15% between Asians and Whites, 11% between blacks and whites, and 16% in which both parties are non-white.

Contrary to the popular belief on language barrier, Neilsen particularly notes that Latino consumers’ usage rates of smartphones, TV, online video and social networking/entertainment makes this group one of the most engaged in the digital space.  During February 2012, Latinos increased their visits to social networks/blogs by 14% from a year ago.  This is also true for all multicultural population as Gen Y is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in American history.  Unlike the ethnic groups in previous generations assimilating in the mainstream culture, the new and young multicultural populations take big pride in their ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and are considered acculturated.

This article is not intended to be an advertising campaign for Hispanic media and agencies.  For me, it is critical to add that older, white males are just as much part of the multicultural societies as any other ethnic groups.  I define Multiculturalism by a mosaic of different cultures in one platform, and a society that is ethnically and culturally diverse.  That does not mean excluding Caucasians or implying ethnic minorities only.

So, how are you defining or stereotyping your multicultural initiatives?

 

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A Different Look at Gen Y

If I was born from 1982 to somewhere close to 2000, I’d be feeling pretty unique and awesome by now.  Let’s look at some Gen Y characteristics that are stereotyped:  idealistic and socially conscious, confident, ambitious, achievement-and-team-oriented, authenticity seekers, attention cravers, culturally liberal, virtual relationships, engage or loose me, ask and guide me, immersed in the digital world from an early age….  This is known to be a generation of self-confident optimists due to years of helicopter parenting and unconditional positive reinforcement from work-centric and goal-oriented Baby Boomer parents who over-compensated for how tough they had it.

While all that may be true, when was the last time we asked a Hispanic, African American, Asian or multiracial Gen Y if these so-called core traits apply to them?  Did they have helicopter parents hover reassuringly above them?  I’m not convinced that socio-economic groups other than white affluent teenagers display the same Gen Y attributes we read about.  It’s not that multi-and-cross-cultural parents don’t want to treat their kids as special, but they often don’t have the social and cultural capital, the time and resources to do it.

Since the 2000 Census allowed people to select more than one racial group, Gen Ys have asserted their rights to have all their heritages respected, counted and acknowledged. 2010 Census showed 32% growth in multiracial category from 2000, and on track to grow another 25%.

I think we can look for cross-cultural commonalities and find these shared values and characteristics:

  • Yes, first era of reality TV, rise of dot-com, virtual relationships
  • Change is mandatory, make it meaningful
  • Demand for authenticity and honesty
  • Culturally liberal, color and gender neutral if it weren’t for parents influence & 9/11
  • Family centric with much closer relationship with parents, unlike the “individualistic” Gen X’ers
  • Delaying some rites of passage into adulthood (for more on this, click here)
  • Love flexibility and work-life-balance even more than Gen X’ers
  • So, yes, perceived as a bit lazy by workaholic Boomers
  • Less employed than any other generation due to the economic situation starting up in
  • More educated, purchasing power rivals that of the Boomers
  • Leverage the digital world to connect, engage & motivate – but want it personal & real
  • Freedom, equality, opportunity, inspiration & honesty are cross-cultural shared values

How do you think all this will re-define Corporate America as Baby Boomers start to retire?  You’d have to be willing to make a difference to make a living.  Think of Lady GaGa and her message of “be who you are”, and Black Eye Peas, a group as multi-culti as you can get.  Cross-cultural messaging through commonalities works.  Start now.

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Are American Businesses Behind the Curve or Ready to Shift from Prejudice to Profit? 2010 Census Data Reveals New World Marketplace Has Already Arrived

Atlanta (May 2, 2011) – There is a $2 trillion marketplace that is up for grabs, and according to the 2010 US Census results, this market can only be defined as multicultural. The question is whether US businesses are ready and willing to make the changes necessary to take advantage of this critical demographic shift. From an aging white population to a growing youthful multicultural market where women have become key players, businesses that can adapt to this “New World Marketplace” will find themselves leading the way, while those holding onto traditional prejudices will falter. (more…)

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Are you leading with the New World Marketplace mindset?

You have heard quite a bit about multiculturalism recently from me, and other media sources in light of the recent 2010 census data.  But are you leading your businesses and personal lives with the New World Marketplace mindset?

And I’m not just talking about how companies leverage the power of social network or provide latest tools and technologies.  This framework should use this emerging technology with new ways of working, relating and engaging with people across all generations and demographics.  Without a deep meaningful understanding of this New World Marketplace, the greatest technological tools can misfire your messages.

Work place of the future is being morphed and shaped today.  Family dynamics and gender roles are changing.  What is “personal” is also changing – but it still mirrors human dynamics and the multi-dimensions of each individual’s life.  So, yes, leverage the digital world to help connect and drive higher levels of engagement and motivation, but do it in a personal way.  You have to be and act personal.  Whether you are talking to your customer, your stakeholder, or your family and friends, responding to concerns, needs and aspirations drive engagement and emotional connection with each experience.  So, perhaps the good old saying of “think global, act local”, should really be “think global, act personal.”

Today’s leadership should have the ability to influence and lead through persuasion and attraction, by co-opting people through commonalities, rather than coercing them through power differentiation.   The New World Marketplace leaders breed trust, set the pace and shape the new path.  Today’s Gen Y is learning to become our future leaders by experiencing the world through travel and cultural understandings.  What a great way to start bridging the cultural gap.

In keeping with my commitment to share latest trends, here are a few facts that support “women” are the next global emerging market:

  • Women control 65% of global spending, more than 80% of US spending
  • By 2014, the World Bank predicts that the global income of women will grow by more then $5 trillion
  • Globally, women consumers control $20 trillion in consumer spending.  They make the final decision for buying 91% of home purchases, 65% of the new cars, 80% of health care choices, and 66% of computers

….and yet, women continue to represent such a small percent of C-executives and board seats, where all the decisions are being made.  I can’t figure this one out, can you? (also read Women Are EntrepreneursWorking Women, Working Force and Economic Impact of Women Owned Businesses)

As always, please forward to anyone on your list who may benefit from my content.  And, if you are seeing micro or macro trends in your business that you would like to discuss, I’d love to hear from you.

PS…. I had a Q&A interview with Rebecca Patt, VP of development at Wray Search, which may have a few useful tips for you, specially for those of you in the restaurant business.  Click here for more.
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