Trends of the Trade is a monthly column written by WWPR member Cory Churches exploring, well, trends in PR. Follow her @Coricita or reach her at Cory.Churches@gmail.com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations
Globalization has taken root. We no longer speak to a narrow and local audience to communicate the value of our organization, highlight the differences between our companies and competitors, and assume business as usual is an acceptable way to conduct our operations.
Our markets have always been culturally diverse but recently, that trend is accelerated. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s population projections, by 2060 nearly one in three U.S. residents will be Hispanic, and the Asian population will more than double from 15.9 million in 2012 to 34.4 million in 2060.
How do you modify and customize your message and delivery to reach younger and more culturally diverse audiences? Where do future customers find messages? Who are their influencers for decisions? How are they motivated to action? How do you make them care about your mission?
There is a library of research out there that analyzes demographics, parses audiences, and delineates action plans to engage these new markets and segments. This is not new. What is new is the shift to blending messages in which audiences see themselves reflected.
Organizations from Volkswagen to Home Depot and The Nature Conservancy to the Environmental Defense Fund are modifying their products and messages to appeal to and recruit younger and more culturally diverse audiences, buyers, employees, and members.
Volkswagen is appealing to younger drivers by offering more vehicles with features similar to smart phones and Home Depot is targeting a rapidly changing customer base by recruiting a more diverse workforce, among other things.
Rather than have two separate channels to appeal to a more diverse audience, communicators are now blending messages and adopting new design features to appeal universally rather than customize to each demographic. This is not to say that communicators should develop a “one size fits all” approach but one that looks at the reality of the population and create content that is appealing to a more multifaceted audience, one that may be simultaneously cross-cultural and multigenerational.