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When you run out of clichés, it’s better to just be real. That’s what brands are discovering about multicultural marketing, and consumers seem to be responding.

In its “Un Buen Fit” campaign, featuring comedian Felipe Esparza, Honda poked fun at other ads targeting young Hispanics. Esparza asks a couple driving a Honda Fit if they’re going to a party. The girl says they’re going to the movies, and Esparza replies, “I wasn’t expecting that.”

The light and simple dialogue makes Honda’s message clear: The brand understands young Latinos. It isn’t imposing a “down to party” stereotype on them or passing the Fit off as the most exciting car; it’s simply telling them about the vehicle to get them from point A to point B.

No matter what demographic your brand wants to reach, your message will carry more weight if it speaks to that audience in a genuine way.

It’s easy to gather demographic information from Simmons Market Research, Nielsen, and the U.S. Census Bureau, but immersing yourself in your audience’s culture will provide valuable firsthand knowledge to add a layer of authenticity to your campaigns. 

Here are some tips for uncovering those crucial insights: 

1. Browse social media

The digital world offers plenty of opportunities to learn about your audience without leaving the comfort of your desk. By browsing Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, you can learn what excites your target audience, what they find funny, and how they talk to their friends.

2. Become a pop culture junkie

Listening to music, watching TV shows, and reading publications that speak directly to this demographic are great ways to understand who they are and what they find relevant.

3. Hit a local hot spot

Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, movie theaters, and restaurants in ethnic neighborhoods are perfect places to connect. Strike up conversations with owners, cashiers, and bartenders — anyone you can — for a more intimate look at that demographic’s attitudes and preferences.

4. Make friends in the community

Get involved in your community through volunteer work. Not only will this enable you to make genuine connections and understand your audience more deeply, but your brand will also contribute to a good cause.

Make Your Research Count 

To truly understand your audience, you have to know what to look for. When studying your target demographic, pay attention to: 

  • Media consumption habits. The medium you deliver your message through is nearly as important as the message itself. If you don’t understand the media your audience consumes, you could miss out on potential customers. For instance, first-generation immigrants tend to consume media in their native language while second-gen consumers usually mix in mainstream media.
  • Language preferences. Just as media consumption habits may vary across generations, language preferences can, too. If you get it right, you have the chance to instill a strong affinity for your brand. Last year, AT&T launched its #BetweenTwoWorlds campaign to appeal to young Latinos, interviewing young people in a mix of Spanish, English, and Spanglish. 
  • Religion and traditions. How your target audience was raised can directly impact how and when you communicate. Make sure you understand the intricacies of your audience’s culture so you don’t commit any social faux pas or offend.

Last summer, DKNY launched its Ramadan collection, which featured chic but modest looks styled by two Middle Eastern women. The collection was applauded for featuring garments that adhered to Muslim etiquette yet still looked modern and glamorous. The launch was strategically timed — many Muslims view Ramadan as a season to buy new clothing for themselves and their loved ones.

  • Passion points. By understanding what your demographic is passionate about, you can uncover the selling points that will spark their interest and get them to engage with your brand and its products. In AT&T’s spot, for instance, several people mentioned that food makes them feel connected to home and family.

Your audience is more than a collection of stereotypes and anecdotal evidence — you need to understand how they speak and what they care about to reach them on a personal level. If you do, they won’t just remember your ad; they’ll reward your brand with lifelong loyalty.

About the Author

UntitledYuriy Boykiv is the co-founder and CEO of Gravity, a full-service advertising agency that helps brands connect with cultural and international consumers. Connect with Yuriy on Twitter.



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