Insights from the ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Insights from the ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference

November 19, 2020

By Bill Duggan


The ANA just held our Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, presented by Pandora. This was our 22nd annual conference. I’ve had the privilege to attend every event except the very first one. Despite being virtual this year, the conference was filled with rich learning. Below are my takeaways for select sessions.

Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G: Multicultural marketing matters more than ever and is a powerful force for good and force for growth. Marc provided a 5-point action plan: (1) Achieve equal representation — every link in the chain (marketers, agencies, media companies, production suppliers) reflects equal gender representation and ethnicity representation equal to the U.S. population — a combined 40 percent multicultural; (2) Eliminate systemic investment inequalities — 40 percent of the U.S. population is multicultural, but only 5 percent of advertising is specifically directed to multicultural audiences; (3) Accurately portray all humanity — imagine a media world where all content accurately portrays every person regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion, socioeconomic status, or age. That would help eliminate bias.; (4) Eliminate hateful content online — there is no place for hateful, denigrating, and discriminatory content — it erodes consumer trust, creates divisiveness, is bad for society and bad for business; and (5) Create content for good.

Alicia Enciso, chief marketing officer at Nestlé USA: Today, 15 percent of sales for Nestlé USA come from Hispanics. The company has uncovered unique Hispanic insights for most categories. The example of Nescafe was given. Rather than the typical pandemic messaging noting “these uncertain times,” Nescafe communicated a story of positivity and hope. Because of the pandemic, people were home more and enjoying coffee at home more with those they love the most, becoming more united than ever. Nestlé USA believes that there is no growth without inclusivity and will continue to accelerate growth through cultural relevance.

Paul Alexander, chief marketing and communications officer at Eastern Bank: Social justice has been part of Eastern Bank’s DNA from their beginning; their first customer in 1818 was a woman. Eastern focuses on “right and smart” — doing the right thing and doing the smart thing. “Join Us for Good” is both their tagline and mantra. When someone opens an account with Eastern, they are joining a movement. Eastern has made a commitment to engage in meaningful action around racial inequality including lending to black/brown businesses, advocating for human rights, and convening employee resource groups. Doing concrete things to help people prosper is what Eastern Bank is all about.

Gail Horwood, chief marketing officer at Kellogg North America: At Kellogg, inclusive marketing is at the foundation of building world class brands. Kellogg is guided by accountability, agility, and action. As one example, it’s important for agency partners to hold themselves accountable for their own representation. When we make marketing decisions, the more diverse points of view we have in those conversations throughout the entire process of creating messaging, the more inclusive the company’s marketing will be. Rice Krispy Treats was given as an example of action. Simple notes make children feel loved, and blind children need to be able to feel that love. Kellogg partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to create braille stickers with love notes to put on packages of Rice Krispy Treats.

Rishad Tobaccowala, senior advisor at Publicis Groupe: Every organization needs diversity — people of different ethnicities, genders, ages, sexual preferences, and backgrounds. Once there are diverse people within an organization, there needs to be diversity of voices. How do you make sure that people actually speak up? Having people around the table isn’t the same as having them free to speak up around the table. Too many organizations do not allow diversity of voices. Diversity is aligned with innovation. Diversity is not just a moral thing that’s right, it’s critical to the success of business and growth.

Omar Wasow, assistant professor at Princeton University: Social movements are a type of marketing. Silence is not an option for corporate America. A “silent” organization can be perceived as being aligned with the status quo. Nike is the classic example of a company aligning themselves with a cause — racial equity (Colin Kaepernick campaign) — and that has been good for their bottom line. When should your company speak up on a social issue? Omar quoted a Harvard Business Review article that had three guidelines: Does the issue align with your company strategy? Can you meaningfully influence the issue? Will your constituents agree with your speaking out?

Marne Levine, VP global partnerships, business development & corporate development at Facebook: Facebook employee resource groups provide support for employees who come from traditionally underrepresented spheres such as Black@, Latin@, Pride@ Facebook. These groups are a way to express and appreciate the identities of ourselves and others. Allies become members of the groups to show support for others. There is a sponsor from the Facebook leadership team for each group who might personally identify with the group, or just be an ally. They are there to ensure its voices are heard. These groups have sparked change and innovation across the company by mobilizing and empowering members. As an example, the Differently Abled@ Facebook group works with the accessibility product team to provide feedback on products across the company. During the pandemic, ERGs at Facebook in many instances have become more important sources of community as people’s ties to their office locations have changed. Investing and supercharging these groups has been crucial to maintaining and building the company culture.

Simona Rabsatt Butler, senior director at Visa, and Sydni Craig-Hart, CEO at Smart Simple Marketing: In the marketing and advertising space, there is a huge opportunity for organizations to diversify their supply chain and be better representative of the audiences they serve. Supplier diversity requires a collaborative conversation. Look across different teams and departments within your organization and find allies. Focus on what you can do versus what you can’t. Build momentum with every win. Supplier diversity provides a positive economic ripple effect in our communities. 2020 is a unique moment in time and provides a tremendous opportunity for supplier diversity.

Nidia Serrano, audience marketing director at Pandora: Consumers are clamoring for more representation and support. As the landscape is changing, it’s important that we ask ourselves, “Is our industry representing America’s voice?” 59 percent of white consumers feel represented in advertising compared to only 26 percent of black consumers, 10 percent of Hispanic, and 3 percent of Asians. Multicultural consumers agree that ads that feature their community get their attention more than ads that don’t. Multicultural consumers want to be seen and want brands to make an honest effort to represent the full spectrum of their community in their ads. They want brands to be “all in.”

And special thanks to Gilbert Davila (DMI Consulting) and Shannon Watkins (Aflac) for a superb job hosting the event! There were more than 2000 registrants for the conference — once of the few conferences in the history of ANA (since 1910) to surpass that mark!

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