6 Companies Successfully Marketing to Diverse Families

Families are diverse. What a family needs and wants is both universal and unique: All parents and kids want and need is to feel a sense of belonging, a community to be part of and to feel supported by — besides having basic necessities met as seamlessly as possible.

Of course, families come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, whether single parents, dual-income, heterosexual parents, LBGTQ+ parents, foster parents, or multicultural parents. For marketers, while this could present a challenge when it comes to messaging, it's important to remember what brings all families together: Love.

In this way, the marketing message is the same for all families — and that message is one of love. That being said, different cadences for this message, of love and support, are necessary to reach different demographics in an authentic, inclusive, and personalized way.

The U.S. is becoming increasingly diverse, and advertising should reflect this. For instance, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, "four-in-ten Americans (42 percent) say they personally know someone who is transgender, up 5 percentage points since 2017. And about a quarter (26 percent) say they know someone who prefers that others use gender-neutral pronouns such as 'they' instead of 'he' or 'she' when referring to them, up from 18 percent in 2018, the last time the question was asked." 

In addition, a Pew article from 2020 reported that "6.2 million U.S. adults – or 2.4 percent of the country's adult population – report being two or more races, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2018 U.S. Census Bureau data." 

Daryl Butler, head of marketing of HP Personal Systems at HP, Inc., explained at an ANA event that marketing to a diverse audience helps foster an inclusive community – which ultimately helps marketers bridge gaps and gain insights, stating:

"You have to want to know what's important to the audiences you're seeking to build a relationship with. It's no different in the work space than it is in your personal travels. It starts with curiosity and then with exploration. You have to ask the questions, you have to be willing to listen.

The more serious you are and the more listening you do, the more you'll learn. That way, you'll develop a sense of what's important to diverse audiences. You'll find some common denominators and some things that are unique. What you can do, then, is craft a game plan that takes into account those considerations."

Below are examples of companies and organizations that are working to help support families and shed light on various issues.

Stein IAS

Stein IAS, a B2B ad agency, helped start a crucial dialogue around mental health between parents and children with a new children's book, The Not-So-Happy Elf.

According to the company, 6,000 U.S. adolescents dying of suicide every year, 50 percent of mental health disorders beginning before age 14, and 60 percent of youths with diagnosable depression not getting treatment. As such, Stein IAS wanted a create a campaign that would garner awareness about children's mental health and raise money for children's mental health charities.

The book became a conversation starter for parents and their children; Stein IAS gave out a copy of the book to anyone who supported one of two charities: Child Mind Institute in the U.S. and 42nd Street in the U.K. Two charities were chosen to allow people to choose whichever one felt more locally relevant to them.

The copy was written in tight, singsongy verse to make it very accessible to children. The illustrations used a rich, detailed style to give the reader ample things to grab attention. Two alternate ways to experience the book were provided on the page. One was a video of the book being read. The other provided a way to experience the book in augmented reality.

Kansas Health Foundation

The Kansas Health Foundation's recent research showed that 63 percent of Kansas fourth-graders won't pass their fourth-grade reading tests. These kids are four times more likely not to graduate from high school, and two-thirds will likely end up in jail or poverty.

To combat this, the Kansas Health Foundation created a statewide campaign to increase awareness of childhood literacy's importance with a focus on improving reading skills for young children across Kansas.

The Kansas Health Foundation needed to not only provide a clear set of tools for parents to provide positive reinforcement for reading. To help busy parents, a 28-day SMS/email program to support positive habits. The campaign messaging was further endorsed with traditional and digital media to provide reach and personalization.

The organization paid special attention to Southwest Kansas, which had the lowest users and session time, and focused on such cities as Garden City, Dodge City, and Liberal with more than 14,000 children between the ages of 0 to 9. Ultimately, 11,476 books distributed (9,071 physical, 2,405 digital) to 80 percent of the target population.

Crayola

Crayola's Colors of the World crayons feature 24 specially formulated colors representing over 40 global skin tones. Through a partnership with a global skin tone expert and an integrated marketing campaign, the new inclusive crayon colors were uniquely developed and distributed to diverse families around the world.

Its demographic includes children of all ages, races, cultures, and ethnicities, as well as parents and families with elementary school-age children, and elementary school teachers and educators. In particular, the campaign was aimed at people looking for inclusivity and belonging through creative representation.

Through a series of emotional films featuring a variety of self-portraits drawn by kids all over the world, Crayola encouraged everyone to finally draw their "True Selfie."

Pampers

Pampers sought to connect with modern moms through #ShareTheLove — a social campaign functioning to support and celebrate new moms.

In the United States, mothers get very little structural, social, or economic support. Due to a lack of support and increasing criticism toward moms on social media, many are plagued with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, resulting in 9 out of 10 moms believing they aren't doing enough or are doing it wrong, as reported by the company.

Pampers launched the #ShareTheLove campaign using a powerful 45 second film, which was also discussed by top mom influencers Shay Mitchell and Chrissy Teigen.

Chrissy and Shay joined psychology expert Dr. Alexandra Sacks on Instagram Live to discuss their own experiences with self-criticism and how they've worked to overcome this issue. Pampers created Instagram and Facebook lenses, branded GIPHY stickers, perfect-for-Pinterest affirmation images, and a "heart to remind" on Twitter that let moms opt in for some encouraging words from a fellow parent.

Verizon

Many LGBTQ+ youth are rejected by their family when they come out. To help, Verizon launched "Love Calls Back." The company's work helped four families reunite with the LGBTQ+ loved ones they had shunned and turned reconciliation into a national conversation inspiring over 69,000 families to pick up the phone too.

As reported by Verizon, a Pew Research Center study found that four in 10 LGBTQ+ people are rejected by family or friends when they come out. Despite steps forward for LGBTQ+ rights, it's clear intolerance still exists.

Verizon aimed to speak to the millions of estranged families around the country and show them that growth, understanding, and reconciliation were possible through personalized storytelling.

Los Angeles LGBT Center

On National Coming Out Day, the Los Angeles LGBT Center reminded parents who are struggling to accept the gender identity or sexual orientation of their teenaged children that their rejection has the power to change the outcome of their family's story.

Recent research presented by the organization showed that LGBTQ+ youth from highly rejecting families were more than eight times as likely to attempt suicide.

Thus, the organization aimed to remind parents that their reaction is at the heart of the "Coming Out" conversation. An online video titled "What's Love?" put parents of LGBTQ+ teens at the heart of the "coming-out" conversation.

The video tells the story of teens who aren't afforded the luxury of "stereotypical" teenage heartbreak that comes at the hands of an unrequited teenage crush or being left out of the "cool kid" group at school. LGBTQ+ teens can experience an altogether different kind of heartbreak: that of their parents' disappointment and disapproval at their "coming out."

Source

"6 Companies Successfully Marketing to Diverse Families," ANA, 2021.