Expert Insights


January 8, 2020

By: Cristy Verdeja Zaldívar, Director, Bridge Chief

The U.S. population continues to diversify at a quick pace. African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanic-Americans represent 138 million people, approximately 40% of the population. According to the U.S. Census, the U.S. will be a multicultural majority nation by 2044.

This increase in multiculturalism further solidifies the important role the population plays in the U.S. market and abroad. Following are five trends to watch in 2020 to help inform opportunities and communication campaigns.

Why this audience? The cycle of spend.

The multicultural minority-near-majority translates into purchase power. This segment holds an impressive spend power of $3.2 trillion. If a brand isn’t focused on this, then they’re overlooking more than half of potential customers. Brands need to be advocates of diverse groups of people. The size of the multicultural segment = money = power.

How to reach this audience? Through authenticity. 

To start, we must ask: Who is our multicultural consumer and what motivates them?

This consumer includes native-born, immigrant, multilingual (or not), straight and LBGTQ audiences. Multicultural = multidimensional = multiple touchpoints for brands to connect. Reaching these consumers requires culturally-nuanced and authentic engagement. So, it’s crucial to do it right. Get the right folks in the room when working through opportunities and strategies to bring a diversity of perspective.

Taking it up a notch with personalization. 

Getting personal means to look at multicultural audiences on an individual level to understand their needs. Many brands have focused on mass customization, but the opportunity now is to shift to personalization. So what’s the difference? Customization allows a customer to tailor their experience but the result is still a mass-produced product. Personalization shifts this interaction to start with the individual in mind whether through the product, the experience or both.

How do we get there? How do we move from customization to personalization? Move in progressive stages that utilize insights to engage and create a cycle of connection (for example, from a customer to a loyal follower, from an acquaintance to a friend, from a colleague to a confidante).

Understanding the role cultural pride plays.

Cultural pride comes from food, music, family, events and more. It’s the welcome opportunity to showcase heritage through the passion points that remind a person of their culture. Cultural pride remedies the distance from ‘home’ and fosters a celebration in sharing of culture and identity. It also brings people together that share the same background.

Why is it a trend in 2020? Because it’s always a trend. To belong is ‘on trend’, to recognize who you are and where you’re from is ‘on trend’, to have acceptance and understanding of those points is ‘on trend’.

The fact that the world is taking note, is the difference. We’ve moved from a business practice of marketing dollars toward a siloed segment to an ethos that is inclusive. And while cultural moments are important to celebrate, acknowledging the importance of multiculturalism throughout the year shows true understanding and commitment.

Remembering who we’re speaking to: The Hyphenated Life

Multicultural is an integration of cultures. It is the joining of ethnicities and groups of people, it is the combination of identity, it is assimilation. We see that by the very nature of how we refer to those that fall under the multicultural umbrella including African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.

Toggling between the hyphen is where multicultural people live. It’s what separates these groups of people and yet makes them the same. African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic-American are monikers that represent a group of ethnicities from which a multicultural person can identify with. In each group, there are overarching themes that are points of commonality. Yet, to those that are part of the represented group, it’s easy to see the points of difference.

Multiculturalism doesn’t divide. It encourages belonging. If a brand can find where that point of balance is for them within the multicultural market, they’ll have found their opportunity.