New America: Growing Up Polycultural

This week, our partners at The Futures Company – a strategic planning, insight and innovation consultancy with unparalleled global expertise in trends, foresight and futures – stopped by Moroch to present the importance of understanding the new America: Growing Up Polycultural.

So what’s the difference between multiculturalism and polyculturalism, and what does it mean for us?

Multiculturalism:

  • At the individual level: Synonymous with “ethnic,” among those with a background in only one race or ethnicity.
  • At the societal level: Not ethnically homogeneous.

Polyculturalism:

  • At the individual level: Refers to being the product (in terms of attitudes, values and lifestyle, not genetically) of many different cultural influences.
  • At the societal level: Means that diversity has reached a point where it has become an inescapable part of the everyday fabric of daily life.

When it comes to advertising to multicultural consumers, rather than targeting different ethnic groups as an afterthought at the end of a campaign strategy, it’s important to incorporate ethnic insights at the beginning and work towards being a culturally intelligent brand.

A good example of a brand who has found a way to embody “cultural intelligence” is Christian Louboutin. Last year the red-soled shoes launched The Nudes Collection, a collection of five shades of nude shoes that all women, no matter what ethnic background they come from, can wear and feel good about.

Although it’s important for brands to be “culturally intelligent,” they also now have to be “color brave.” While race issues used to be an area of corporate social responsibility, it has now become top-of-mind in brands’ integrated communications plans as consumers are making purchases based on a brand’s values and how they are communicated to the public. And even though some brands may feel uncomfortable taking a stand on racial divides, 87% of ethnic consumers want to know what values a brand stands for.

So when it comes to our next Moroch marketing campaign, we need to push ourselves and our clients to plan for the new American. It’s not enough to use ethnic talent in a commercial spot anymore, it’s about understanding where consumers are in terms of cultural orientation, marketing to unmet needs of ethnic consumers and being a culturally intelligent and color brave brand.

Thank you to Dr. Tope Mitchell, Valeria Piaggio and Adi Kurian from The Futures Group for providing our agency with these key insights!

Tope Mitchell
Dr. Tope Mitchell
posted on
June 25, 2015
written by
Monica Esposito