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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Happy Spring Equinox, Happy Norooz, Women Are Blooming

We celebrated the International Woman’s Day last week.  Lately, from revolutions in the Middle East, to polarizing political debates in the US, and online campaigns all over the globe, women are at the forefront of social and cultural change.  Yes, women are blooming, and this is a good time to share a bit about our emerging leaders–the Gen Y women.

The Gen Y (aka milllenial) women have a different life path than you can imagine.  Levi’s survey in 2010 reported:

  • 96% list “being independent” as their single most important life goal
  • 87% define success as being able to shape their own future
  • Only 68% say becoming a mom is on their priority list
  • 50% say getting married is a priority
  • Just 43% ascribe much importance to getting rich

Put differently, half of young women do not see marriage as a priority and one third say the same about becoming a mom.  And it is not so much about getting rich as it is about shaping own future.

We all know Gen Y is a wired, digitally connected generation.  But did you know women are becoming more active users of digital media than men?  According to Neilsen’s digital consumer report, women are:

  • 51% of TV viewers
  • 53% of online video users
  • 54% of social network/blog visitors
  • 50% of smartphone owners

These differences are not statistically significant, really.  Plus, I neither believe it should be a man’s world nor a woman’s nation.  But I am hoping that this type of data sharing will help negate stereotypes and dichotomies that are still out there in media and advertising–even politics.  Did you know women control/influence 85% of all major buying decisions?  We couldn’t tell by our media coverage and ad campaigns.  I’ve always believed the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in this country.  And I believe the Gen Y women will change all that…!!!

I’m starting to feel like Farnaz Global is also blooming like this beautiful Spring.  Please take a moment to re-visit my web site and check out the new additions.  I’ve also updated my Twitter and Facebook Fan Page.  Please follow me….I’ll follow you back…!!!

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Spring Equinox, coming up next Tuesday, 3/20.  This is also the Persian New Year.  So if you see or talk to any Iranian next week, say “Eidet Mobarak” which means happy norooz (new day/year).  This is a new day, new year, and The New World Marketplace.

Thank you so much for all your support.  I truly appreciate all the warm notes from everyone last week when I introduced my book.  But there was a lot of confusion about the release date.  To clarify, the official release date is June 5th.  That’s how long it takes for the publisher, distribuor, wholesaler and internet sites to all get on the same page.  However, my book is available on my web site, as well as my publisher’s site.  And you can receive your copy 7-10 days after you place your oder.

 

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At what point Evolution turns into Revolution?

As much as these two words resemble one another, their social and political meaning are perceived antagonistic. You would think that revolution naturally follows evolution, as actions follow the desires to act.  Are they fundamentally the same thing, differing only according to the time of their presence? Are revolutionists the true evolutionists? At what point Evolution turns into Revolution?

Evolution by definition means the change over time and variation causes in one or more inherited traits found in populations and individuals.  Socially and culturally, it means the gradual and continuous development in morals, ideas, beliefs and values.  The fearful word, Revolution, is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a sudden, short period of time, resulting in either complete change or modification of an existing constitution, culture, economy and socio-political institutions.  It implies the sudden change, entailing some sort of catastrophe and pressure from the great masses below. Most speak well of natural progress of evolution in general, until they resent progress in a particular direction that challenges the norms and ideals of wealth, power and comfort of privileged worth preserving.

Seth’s Godin in his blog, “forever recession,” explains two types of recessions:  a cyclical one that comes and goes – and a permanent one caused by the rise of productivity eliminating jobs for good – end of an era and start of another – a revolution.  The industrial revolution fueled economy by massive factories and efficient assembly lines.  The information technology revolution faded the local mass production.  The internet squeezed inefficiencies out of many systems eliminating not only many clerical office jobs, but also enabling the move of interchangeable parts and jobs around the globe for “cheaper.”  Every revolution destroys the last structure before the new one becomes profitable.

The revolutions we are seeing around the globe are not just about job eliminations for efficiencies.  So many people have already shifted gears, training and changing expectations.  People of all races, cultures, ages and lifestyles have access to the same information technology…their own factory.  You would expect that this revolution will level the playing fields.  But it has moved profits generated through efficiencies benefiting a very few, and the wealth of a nation has become sum of its tradable riches.  Companies are holding on to the profit, not spending, not hiring.  It is fueled when leaders are hell-bent on running each other into the ground instead of running the nation.

I spoke at a panel last week and was surprised of how women are still clinging to the old archetypes and mindsets, discussing “shift” of power, instead of partnership and linking.  The social model needs to shift for women, as well as men.  State of abundance replacing scarcity.  Caring and relating more than just ‘networking.’  Lasting outcomes, not just short-term payoffs.  Creating and innovating what makes life better and provide more meaning and authenticity – not just trading power, domination and money.  The incoming tide is bearing us onward towards a future radically different from existing conditions.

So at what point evolution turns into revolution?  When the tide gets stronger and voices are heard….when more people join and believe in the same values, causes and beliefs… .when the monstrous status quo has failed too many, too deserving, and for too long.  Not just because of the rich getting richer, but at the loss of human dignity and sovereignty over one’s own fate to live a good meaningful life.  We are the creators of our future.  To make this a meaningful revolution, we must ask ourselves which human outcomes we want to evolve rapidly.


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Cultural Change Expert Explains How to Make Relationships Work in the Multicultural Present

Atlanta (June 29, 2011) – Walk through the mall, a school or a business office today, and in nearly any city in the country, it will be obvious that “we” is getting trickier to define in terms of race, ethnicity and collective identity. Within relationships, cross-cultural is becoming the norm rather than the exception. This shift from a similar-looking status quo to one that incorporates a plethora of faces, has been referred to as “multiculturalism,” and this typically means both celebrating the uniqueness of each culture and navigating relationships with cultural differences. That might sound nice in an employee handbook, but what does it mean at the bank, at a PTA meeting, on a date or even at a wedding?

Farnaz Wallace, Founder of Farnaz Global and expert in multiculturalism and social and cultural change, has developed strategies and frameworks to help people and organizations find success in forming relationships across all kinds of cultural boundaries. “Multiculturalism should neither be a demand for special rights for minorities, nor a threat to protecting one’s own cultural identity and safety,” she says. “It is a phenomenon of resolving differences and building on commonalities based on values of trust, freedom, respect, equality, justice, dignity, open mindedness and mutual happiness.” (more…)

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