In August, we attended Multicultural Retail 360 in San Diego. This conference was started about 12 years ago as the Hispanic Retail 360 Conference. Two years ago, the conference was re-branded as Multicultural Retail 360 to make it more inclusive. The name change is very telling of the reality of our market today and the fact that companies have and should continue to pay attention to the evolving make up of our social fabric. We were extremely excited when we saw the re-branding of this conference to be a more holistic representation of the multicultural world that we now live in, as at C+R we continuously work with multicultural consumers and see the future only becoming more diverse as well.
That is why we are excited to announce our new multicultural division, CultureBeat! We realize that our society is made up of a variety of cultures, ethnicities and identities; and the dynamics that intertwine them define today's marketplace, ultimately impacting how consumers interact with brands. Our CultureBeat team can help brands reach their multicultural consumers and come to an understanding of the impact that all cultures have on each other and on the overall consumer.
Understanding consumers and shoppers of diverse cultural backgrounds is not always straightforward, in fact it is so special that marketers are still undecided as to what to call it: Multicultural, Polycultural, Pluricultural, etc. The various presentations and speakers at Multicultural Retail 360 used a variety of definitions, which only reinforces this notion. At CultureBeat our philosophy is that no matter what label we attach to it, every company's business situation is unique and therefore the approach they need to take to make a meaningful connection with multicultural consumers will be unique as well.
Beyond the conference's name and the movement to be more inclusive and expansive, here are a few trends that popped up throughout the conference that we thought were extremely relevant and want to share:
- There is a decidedly strong focus on Bicultural Hispanics. At C+R we have always recommended including bicultural respondents in our projects, and it was nice to see that our clients, as well as other companies, have been paying more attention to this segment as well. From our perspective however, an increased focus on Bicultural consumers should not come at the expense of investing in continuing to understand and connect with unacculturated Hispanics (you can read more about our POV on this here)
- Millennials were still a hot topic as they have been for a while and will likely continue to be for some years. But there are now so many new and available data about millennials, and our peers at the conference seemed to agree that there's a new desire to find the next big thing, something new and different to refresh the conversation. That leads us to our next point.
- We're starting to hear more conversations about and more focus on the Gen Z segment. People are starting to realize the importance of this segment. At C+R we are very aware that this consumer group is going to be larger and are also very different from their millennial counterparts. Because of this, it is vital that brands start to look at how to best reach them now.
- Lastly, another trend we noticed was a more consistent acknowledgement about Asian-Americans as one of the largest growing populations. We've seen examples of how this segment is increasingly important for our clients through projects/inquiries we have had this year. We will continue to keep a pulse on this consumer segment through CultureBeat.
Overall, it is always great to reconnect with friends and colleagues from many of our client companies as well as multicultural and insights professionals from various industries and hear what is important to them and how they are acting upon the research we help them develop. One of the most rewarding things for us at C+R is noticing that as a community, markets and insights professionals are thinking of putting culture first as a way to establish a strong and enduring connection with consumers and shoppers.