Effectively Reaching Out to Multi-cultural Audience Begins with 'Having the Right People in the Room


Effectively Reaching Out to Multi-cultural Audiences Begins with ‘Having the Right People in the Room’

Experts at PRSA Miami Panel ‘Diver-city’ Share Insights to Successfully Reaching Diverse Audiences

By Annabel Beyra, APR

This past week capping off Black History Month, multi-cultural marketing experts shared their insights on how to effectively reach multi-cultural audiences. David Duckenfield, president and partner of Balsera Communications led the discussion featuring the participation of Dexter Bridgeman, founder & CEO of MIA Media Group, Connie Kinnard, vice president of Multicultural Tourism & Development at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and Suzan McDowell, president & CEO of Circle of One Marketing.

McDowell of Circle of One, emphasized the need for companies to increase their cultural competency and highlighted the importance of having “the right people in the room” from the planning to the implementation stages of a marketing outreach program.

Bridgeman of MIA Media Group talked about how the black community is loyal and believes the majority of the problem is that marketers are ill informed about the enormous market opportunity this community brings and how to effectively reach this audience. To further compound the problem, he pointed out that there is still a dearth in black leadership at large corporations.  

Kinnard of the GMCVB pointed out the importance of research. “Our research has found that African Americans identify with people who look like them in ads, yet this doesn’t necessarily apply to Hispanics. Sometimes research can be as basic as just reaching out to people who are receiving your information and getting their impressions.”

Events initiatives also become a way to generate interest from diverse audiences. McDowell cited the example of Jazz in the Gardens –an event she promotes - which has attracted locals and tourists alike to Miami Gardens as a destination for the musically inspired. Now in its 14thyear, this year’s event will take place March 9 and 10 and will feature acts like Lionel Richie, Bobby Brown, Stephanie Mills and The O’Jays to name a few.

In terms of companies who are getting it right, the panelists cited the brand “Mahogony” by Hallmark featuring messages and images that resonate with African America communities. Other examples included Starbucks with the implementation of its sensitivity training geared to employees. McDonald’s created a hip version of their jingle to appeal to African American audiences, as yet another example of companies waking up to the opportunities multi-cultural audiences bring. 

“When a company begins with ensuring there’s diversity in their leadership, the company is just naturally more diverse in their outreach,” adds Kinnard. “They understand that we reward companies that do the right thing.”

As education is still needed to raise awareness on the plethora of market opportunities and buying power of multi-cultural audiences, this brings rise to the creation of organizations like Black Publicists Matter and Colorcom. 

McDowell made the analogy when talking about segmentation, “Miami is still very much a Bento Box, not a melting pot.”

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