We all are a part of a culture. Culture is what we have learned through life experiences and/or by the groups of people we associate with. It’s dynamic and changes with context. In a country where one in four Australians are born overseas and 46 percent have at least one parent who was born overseas, diversity and inclusion practices are imperative to provide social and economic value to society. Not only does it do good, it gives business outcomes of better customer trust resulting in retention and loyalty.
Each day consumers are met with thousands of advertising and marketing from companies. Many Millennial consumers, as per a survey of 11,500 global consumers conducted by McKinsey, take greater notice of inclusive advertising when making purchasing decisions. To effectively practice diversity and inclusion, brands must look to first understand their audience’s culture to better connect with them.
Cultural consumer data goes beyond demographics (geographical location, sex, and age) and looks at the beliefs, values, and principles that govern an individual's decision-making to help them live a more fulfilled and purposeful life. Each group has its own set of cultural beliefs and values that can at times overlap with others and/or pose starkly different practices.
Value and convenience are still important factors in consumer decision-making, and mustn't be ignored. Though, by integrating culture data into existing marketing strategies, the outcomes benefit brands at a business growth level and corporate social responsibility level. A win-win.
Below I have listed some of the many ways culture can influence business growth and create opportunities.
For companies looking to grow their consumer base, expanding into new markets is accessible now more than ever due to globalisation. Entering into new markets must be done carefully by overcoming linguistic challenges and being aware of cultural norms whereby the product/service connects with the end-user at a level greater than price and convenience. Companies must also be aware of cultural or religious holidays.
Connecting with audiences through culture may seem obvious on occasion. I.e some cultural groups do not consume particular food or drink or cultural factors dictate their fashion preferences. These obvious indicators make it easier for brands to connect with target audiences and segment at a cultural level, rather than just on age, gender, or location basis.
Although, some cultural indicators can be subtle or nuanced such as gender roles in families, key financial decision-makers, and/or preference of shopping experience. For example, Chinese, Latin American, African, Arab, and Native American cultures have polychronic orientations, where they perceive time as flexible. This in turn influences purchasing behaviours as these cultures like to build trust and social interaction with brands prior to making a purchase.
These factors place heavy emphasis on segmenting target audiences using culture to ensure they will connect with brands in the way they prefer.
To become an industry-leading brand, CSR plays an important role. This is the balance between people, the planet, and profits. Most people want to be connected in a way they feel appreciated and understood. Unfortunately, no amount of creative messaging can enable a brand to overcome the challenge of being labeled disingenuous. However, applying diversity and inclusion practices by understanding the cultural values of your audience in a way that is measurable, will ensure the impact is not just checking a box but creating authentic, measurable outcomes.