Marketing to Ethnic Populations Requires Acute Cultural Awareness

September 19, 2004

Source: TIME,9171,1101040920-695866,00.html

On September 19, 2004 TIME reported, "The country is no longer defined, and shaped, exclusively by white Anglo-Saxons but increasingly by African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. This New Mainstream is transforming how America will work, play, learn and spend in the coming decades. Any company or institution that fails to understand it will be left behind... Even if the growing economic clout of minority groups is clear, the most efficient way to reach them is anything but. U.S. Latinos, for example, are not a single monolithic group but rather a plethora of nationalities and ethnic extractions. Some of them, especially those born in the U.S., are mainly English speaking and take their cultural cues from the general mass media. Others, particularly immigrants, are more likely to speak Spanish... Likewise, the term Asian American lumps together Chinese, Japanese, South Asians and Vietnamese, with religious traditions ranging from Buddhism to Hinduism to Islam. Mass merchandisers, mindful that between 1990 and 2000 the percentage of Americans who classify themselves as Christian dropped from 86% to 76.5%, are adding ethnic notes to their holiday blessings. J.C. Penney and the U.S. Post Office are making sure their season's greetings include images of Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Ramadan. Sears even produced an ad that featured an Asian Santa Claus."