CAN A MAJOR FOOD BRAND MAKE IN-ROADS AMONG MULTICULTURAL CONSUMERS?
In recent years, multicultural consumers have helped brands increase their sales. Many of these gains have come about due to companies’ efforts at outreach and a clear demonstration of how their products can enrich multicultural consumers’ lives. However, we know that not all multicultural consumers are alike. There are major differences between Asian, Hispanic, and African American consumers, and even more differences when you consider the various in-culture sub-groups for these cultural cohorts. So, how can a brand looking to attract multicultural consumers get to know each of these cohorts intimately and authentically leverage these important differences (as well as similarities)?
This was the question our client, a large American food manufacturer, sought C+R’s multicultural division, CultureBeat help in answering. After seeing positive growth among multicultural consumers’ buying and consuming of a specific sub-brand of products, they wanted to better understand what innovations, messages, and occasions they should highlight to both retain and grow these consumer segments.
To address the client’s objectives, we created a two-phase qualitative research program targeting African American, Hispanic, and Asian consumers. Using online communities and webcam interviews, we set out to uncover their needs and desires for foods to help them prepare in-culture dishes and other cuisines, as well as to glean their perceptions on how our client’s brand fit (or could fit) into these cooking occasions.
Our client, a large food manufacturer, has seen positive growth with one of their sub-brand’s products among multicultural users and sought ways to further drive repeat purchases and attract new users. To gain this knowledge, they approached C+R Research’s CultureBeat division to develop a program that would enable them to deeply understand the needs and wants of multicultural consumers by exploring the uses and perceptions of these products among Asian, Hispanic, and African American consumers.
Specifically, our client wanted to:
- Understand these multicultural consumers in terms of who they are as well as their attitudes toward grocery shopping and cooking at home
- Explore how they engage (or not) with the client’s products, including identifying drivers and barriers to the products, how and where the products fit (or don’t) with traditional cultural cuisines, and identifying future areas where the products could fit
- Investigate how the products are currently used to prepare users’ cultural dishes
- Examine non-users’ expectations and perceptions of using the products (before and after using the products to cook a meal at home)
To help our client gain deep learnings and insights into how multicultural consumers perceive and consume their products, C+R conducted a two-phase qualitative research study.
Phase 1 – Online Communities
- During the first phase, we conducted an online immersive discussion with over 90 multicultural consumers, including users and lapsed/non-users of our client’s products. To engender trust and a willingness to share culture-specific emotions and information, we created three separate online communities for each cohort – Asian consumers, Hispanics, and African Americans. Each community was led by in-culture moderators.
- Each online community included three days’ worth of activities, including ranking exercises, open-ended questions, and polls. Respondents answered some questions with video and/or photo responses, providing the client with a wealth of imagery that allowed them to get a deeper look into the lives of individual consumers.
- In the second phase of research, a subset of respondents from the online communities, representing the targeted multicultural cohorts participated in webcam-based cook-along interviews. During these interviews, respondents walked us step-by-step through how they use the client’s products when preparing a meal at home. These demonstrations allowed the client to learn, first-hand, consumers’ in-the-moment, experiences with any delighters and frustrations caused by their products’ use. They were also able to see a variety of cultural cuisines being prepared, which helped them visualize how their products fit with these cuisines and/or could fit with multicultural cuisines in the future.
As a result of the research project, our client gained deep understanding of (current and potential) Asian, Hispanic, and African American consumers’ attitudes toward its sub-brand’s products. To ensure they could easily create actionable steps to appeal both to multicultural consumers at large and to specific cultural subgroups, C+R delivered four separate reports filled with insights and recommendations: one for each cultural cohort studied and a combined report highlighting commonalities and key differences among each segment.