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Inclusivity, cultural relevance and category growth opportunities were some of the key topics during days two and three of the 2016 Multicultural Retail 360 Summit. The event also included vendor exhibits and a ceremony to honor cultural research pioneer Isabel Valdes, the first inductee into MR 360’s Multicultural Hall of Fame. The Summit took place August 24 to 26 at the Bayfront Hilton in San Diego.
Inclusivity was discussed on a number of fronts, including diversity hiring, marketing and the nature of products and services. Cultural relevance conversations focused on how companies are creating or adjusting products to address the values of ethnic groups. Speakers also talked about the multicultural growth potential of perimeter fresh items, cereal and other categories.
Across all topics, speakers emphasized the importance of constantly updating strategies in order to be germane to tomorrow’s consumers, many of whom will be multicultural.
Christian Martinez, head of U.S. multicultural for Facebook, cited Tower Records, Kodak and Blockbuster Video as examples of companies that disappeared when their traditional businesses were “severely disrupted” by market changes they failed to address.
“These were major organizations,” he said. “Now they’re obsolete. They were so focused on traditional competitors that they had blinders on and were unable to see startups coming.” Martinez also pointed to 1955’s Fortune 500 List. Today, 85 percent of those companies are gone.
This could happen to companies that do not address multicultural consumers in ways they relate to. One of those “ways” is mobile technology. Among Hispanics, 39.2 percent of all apparel purchases, for example are conducted via mobile; among the general market, the rate is 30.1 percent, said Martinez.
For example, on a special concurrent session panel on convenience store retailers, Luisa Salazar, director of marketing and advertising for BP ampm/ARCO, said 73 percent of English-language web site engagement at the California-based c-store chain is through mobile. On its Spanish site, the rate is 98 percent.
The Driving Force Behind CPG
Many companies are actively engaging Hispanics in CPG, where Latinos are driving overall growth. General session speakers Daneyni Sanguinetti and Seda Parzabasi of
the Multicultural Marketing Center of Excellence for The Coca-Cola Company, said Coke targets teen and young adult Hispanics by tapping into values like family, heritage and language.
They showed one ad that depicts a girl dancing with her father at her quinceañera.
Another involves printing Hispanic last names backwards on Coke cans so they can be used as temporary “tattoos.” Latino consumers also discussed what their name (a source of pride) means to them.
In cereal, Christopher Rivera, director of brand marketing for multicultural at Kellogg’s, said the company is appealing to Hispanics with recipes. In a video, master chef winner Claudia Sandaval showed how to make tres leches with Frosted Mini Wheats. Kellogg’s is also using bilingual packaging and promoting popular movies. And a new cereal box features African-American gold medalist Simone Biles and the multi-ethnic Olympic gymnastics team.
22,000 Asian Supermarkets
Cultural relevance is particularly important when targeting Asians, who are largely first generation. Driven by immigration, the group’s growth rate has surpassed that of Latinos. While still smaller in numbers, Asians are more affluent, with 49 percent having college degrees versus 28 percent of the general population.
Annually, Asians spend $25.3 billion in supermarkets, said Jeannie Yuen, president/CEO of APartnership. Sticking to their roots, 77 percent shop non-mainstream stores like H Mart, Seafood City or independents. Los Angeles is home to 13,127 Asian supermarkets; New York has 9,075.
Successful promotions often revolve around Mother’s Day, the Moon Festival and Chinese New Year. Yuen said Asians are particularly receptive to pallet displays, end caps, hanging banners, shopping cart ads and floor graphics.
In targeting Asian Millennials, promotions involving the Fung Brothers and social media have been particularly effective. Millennial soy milk promotions have involved Boston area baker and blogger Christina Ng, who created 14 recipes using soy milk. “Asians are used to drinking soy milk, not baking with it,” said Yuen. “This can help attract younger consumers.”
AARP is recognizing the growing importance of Asians 50+ through DAE Advertising, which works with local Asian organizations to teach consumers about AARP’s services. Most Asians 50+ are foreign born and unfamiliar with AARP, said Vicky Wong, president/CEO of DAE. One program, for example, recruits volunteer translators to help with tax preparation. Services are publicized at local events, such as Filipino Independence Day celebrations, and through Asian celebrity partnerships.
Fresh departments are particularly important to multicultural shoppers, many of whom cook from scratch and incorporate more produce into their diets. According to Vanna Tran, thought leadership director, multicultural growth & strategy, Nielsen, 73 percent of multiculturals rarely eat frozen food and 81 percent frequently cook at home during the week. “They focus on the perimeter,” added Jana Mickey, director of account services at Nielsen’s Perishables Group.