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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My Book Coming Soon….Value of Service


Happy New Year! Yes, I know….I am late for both my happy new year wishes and bimonthly blogs. Truth is, I’ve been busy finalizing production details with my publisher and gearing up for a busy season of consulting and speaking. But I wanted you to be the first to see the layout of my book cover: “The New World Marketplace – how women, youth and multiculturalism are shaping our future.”

I am super excited and will be rebranding my social media platform once the book is in the market in a month or so.  I will also provide updates on book signing events and speaking gigs, and hope to see you in my travels.

In keeping with my commitment to share a New World Marketplace update in each blog, I’d like to tell you a bit about how constant cost cutting during economic challenges can drive new product innovation and quality of service into the ground. While cost cutting is an important discipline in any business model, it should never be at the expense of quality and service—which are the revenue drivers. You can choose to drive profits from the front end, or the back end. Your call. But if you choose the latter, remember your competition is putting new products out in the market faster, and offering better quality and service. At the very best, you’ll end up as a mediocre company with mediocre products and services.
And how long do you think that will sustain you during a recession?

Earlier this month, I decided to end my 7 year love affair with my Audi TT and get a hybrid car. So you can just imagine the pushy sales tactics that I had to overcome online, and by phone just minutes after a click, before I even entered a car lot. I ended up with a Lexus hybrid CT 200h. Sure the product and price was the best fit for me, but it was the service that sealed the deal. Lexus products and prices are not that different than other high-end competitors, it is the service that is their strategic differentiation. Think about this: what type of price or cost do you allocate toward great service? OK, Audi didn’t have a hybrid, but I left because of their inferior service to begin with. Do you think I’m really that unique? And what if low-mid price brands offered luxury service? Wow…that will be one recession-proof brand….!!!

Gen Y’s strong affiniy for hybrid cars are leading us away from traditional vehicles. They also prefer cars that are an extension of their social media and digital lifestyle…and willing to pay for it. This is good to know regardless of what products you sell. It’s about keeping up with the pace of the New World Marketplace.

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Chain Leader: April 2009: Church’s Chicken Hatches Twitter-Follower Challenge

Chain Leader discusses Church’s joining the social media trend by joining Twitter in its article, Church’s Chicken Hatches Twitter-Follower Challenge.  Farnaz Wallace is interviewed on her opinion about Church’s jumping on the social media band waggon.  Farnaz says, “Church’s Chicken has never left the neighborhood by catering to the cross-generational multicultural families that have come to know and love us; and now our brand strategy translates digitally through popular social media platforms where our secondary and growing customer base, multicutural urban youth, works and plays.  Pioneering brands can measure the reach and influence of messages and how well they resonate within an emerging and rapidly growing online community.  Word of mouth, a great form of communication and ‘real’ endorsement, has not only gone electronic but truly global with techno-savvy customers leading the charge.” Download the PDF.

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Facebook and Social Media

Companies are becoming more aware of the impact of social media in people’s lives and seeking professionals savvy in social media strategies.  Social media has traditionally been a way of life for the younger generation, but we see more and more people of all ages engaging in social networks, such as Facebook, to build and keep up with relationships.

Relationships, let’s not forget, are key in marketing strategies.  While companies certainly want the one-time buyer, it is far more profitable to have a long-time loyal customer.  When you establish a relationship with your customers, you know they will turn to you for more services and new products.  Repeat business is easier – and cheaper – to get, versus constantly churning the new business wheel for new customers and re-inventing your brand.

Facebook is a great place to reconnect with high school friends and stay in touch with relatives, former co-workers and business associates.  Facebook, with its 400 million users, is a new and surprisingly ideal way for a business to start and maintain a relationship with consumers. (more…)

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Who are Early Adopters?

Early adopters are defined as the first consumers who use or buy a product…. those who absolutely must have the latest product, technology, look and lifestyle.  They take their self-appointed roles in society very seriously, and express their opinions about brands and products through blogs and social media.  They are opinion leaders in a society.

Approval from early adopters can help a product or service gain traction and find success in the mainstream.  This group can be identified by their social status, better education, and higher income.

Companies heavily focused on new innovation should take early adopters very seriously.  With 70% of adults using social media sites, blogs or videos, the influence of early adopters is growing.  Technology brands, for example, use this group in critical roles including test user and feedback loop. (more…)

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