Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Ads: Alcoholic Beverages

Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Heineken
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In this CultureRate:Ad study we had the opportunity to test a recent ad by Heineken, “Connections”. The ad reflects how people can stay connected to one another while quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it touches on the ups and downs of physically-distanced socializing. The ad was a hit! It resonated across all multicultural consumer segments — Hispanic, Black, and Asian — with an A-CFQ score of 75 or higher for each group.

Screenshot of Heineken Advertisement,

From Heineken’s Advertisement, “Connections”.

One interesting insight about this advertisement is that all of the ad elements (music, characters, story, and visuals) struck a chord with viewers. 

It’s not often that we see this kind of  balance among ad features. So this indicates there’s harmony going on in the ad where all the elements play into each other nicely. Achieving harmony among ad elements is an important step in guarding against viewer confusion, an emotional response that can harm an ad’s performance.

Another point worth noting is that this ad was seen as highly relatable.  Remember, it’s about both the ups and downs of socializing while physically distanced. It features themes such as connecting remotely with loved ones and the inevitable tech troubles that I’m sure we’ve all experienced by now. It functions as a reassuring reminder that we’re all in this together — nobody’s wifi or at-home setup is perfect, things kinda suck at times, but we can still kick back with a beer and connect with friends.

Graph showing that Heineken's advertisement elements are well-balanced and relatable
Chart showing high word-of-mouth metrics among viewiers

Our CultureRate:Ad metrics indicate that Heineken’s ad was seen as both relatable and enjoyable. 68% of viewers felt like this ad was for them. This was above the ad set norm of 60%, making Heineken’s ad the number one relatable ad we tested. 75% of viewers enjoyed the ad. The norm was pretty high for this set at 71%. Even so, this ad raises the bar coming in at number three. And then for both of our metrics that point to an ad’s ability to drive word of mouth influence – talking about the ad with others and reacting to the ad on social media – Heineken’s ad captures over half of viewers. Again, over-indexing compared to the ad set norm, making it the number two most share-worthy ad of the set.

Finally, Heineken’s ad did an excellent job of eliciting positive emotions, likely an effect of it being a highly relatable and clear feel-good ad in the middle of tough times. The ad outperformed most alcoholic beverage ads in evoking happiness – at 49%, it’s far above the norm! And Asian and White viewers over-index, feeling especially happy watching this ad.

Graph showing happy, excited, and proud as highest reported reactions to the ad

We’re constantly conducting CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand studies for our members that subscribe to the Latinum (multicultural research) and genYZ (generational research) platforms . If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of being a member, please fill out the contact form below.

Don’t forget to save a spot at the next Collage Group virtual webinar! Visit the events page for more details and registration. 

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Understanding Hispanic Consumer Preferences for Food & Dining

Understanding Hispanic Consumer Preferences for Food & Dining
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Is your brand effectively appealing to the culinary and dining preferences and passions of Hispanic consumers? Food plays an important role in cultural identity among Hispanics. It combines historic flavors with current trends, creating a source of cultural pride and connection.

In our webinar, Hispanic Passions for Food & Dining, we highlight key findings on Hispanic American food preferences and passions, calling out six key insights:

  1. Food is the #1 passion point for Hispanic consumers.
  2. Two in five consumers are strict healthy eaters.
  3. Hispanics are more skeptical of packaged foods, especially frozen foods.
  4. When it comes to prepared or fast food, Hispanics prefer convenience over fresh, but stick with authenticity.
  5. Hispanic Americans are more likely to choose less sugary options.
  6. Hispanics, like Asians, place high value on authentic cooking.

Fill out the form to learn more in the webinar replay.

We had a lot of great questions from webinar attendees and called upon our food experts to provide a deeper explanation. Director of Product and Content Bryan Miller and Senior Analyst Connor Wahrman weigh in below.

What do you think makes food a top passion point for Hispanic consumers?

Bryan: Some of our newest research further confirms that many Hispanics in the U.S. tend to be experience-seeking. Food is an area where we see this appear frequently. Further, for many Hispanics, food is a way to connect with culture and heritage. This does vary a bit by acculturation; a more detailed breakdown is available in our member platform. Importantly, most segments see food as a top passion point, except younger segments. For example, in Gen Z consumers we’ve seen more functional in eating habits/preferences.

Are Hispanic consumers interested in food delivery services: UberEats, Instacart, Amazon Fresh, etc.? Do they see these services as more convenient? Less fresh?

Connor: Our research shows that Hispanic consumers are most likely to integrate technology into their shopping. They use mobile devices to aid in in-store shopping and are most interested in curbside pickup services and secure drop-off locations.

Do you have suggestions on how to position my brand to leverage experiential eating, particularly during the pandemic?

Bryan: Try highlighting new and interesting ways that your product can be used… Think about sharing recipes online and/or promoted through social media. People are at home, online more, and cooking more; give them an excuse to try something new with your products.

Connor: Also, consider shifting the focus from “exciting eating” to “authentic cooking” experiences. Work to identify ways to make authentic, fresh food more accessible to consumers through DIY opportunities. For example, do for food/cooking what Netflix is doing with “watch parties.”

With the current economic system, how are Hispanic food purchasing behaviors/preferences impacted?

Connor: Hispanic consumers are most price-sensitive when it comes to food products compared to other segments, so they are most willing to sacrifice quality and brand loyalty considerations as economic conditions continue to stagnate/decline.

What are the key differences by generation? Is there anything that stands out for Gen Z, specifically?

Bryan: In general, we see Gen Z (especially younger Gen Z) tending to be more functional eaters. We suspect this is an age effect and that the attitudes will shift as they age. Shifts will likely stem from beginning to cook more, having more choice about what they eat (right now parents may be choosing), and having more disposable income.

Fill out the form above to access the webinar replay and contact us with additional questions, or for more information about our syndicated online research and custom capabilities.

Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Brands: Personal Care

Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Personal Brands: Fenty Beauty
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Which beauty brands appeal to multicultural consumers?

Our most recent CultureRate:Brand study shows how young multicultural segments rank Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, which accumulated nearly $570 million in revenue within 15 months of launching in late 2017. Now worth $17 billion, Fenty Beauty reigns as one of the most gender and skin-tone inclusive makeup brands on the market.

Did Fenty Beauty receive a high B-CFQ ranking among multicultural consumers?

The table below shows the percent of each segment that agrees with each of the six components (Relevance and Trust, for example) of our Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ). We see trends both across segment lines (rows) and across specific components (columns). Acculturated, bicultural, and Black consumers over-index on five of the six components, while White consumers under-index on four of six components.

Fill out the form for instant access to the report.

Brands that receive a high-ranking B-CFQ scorecard are considered to be culturally fluent, and are more likely than other brands to sustain continuous market growth. Low-ranking B-CFQ scorecards reveal new opportunities for brands to strengthen resonance with young multicultural consumers.

If you’re interested in measuring the cultural fluency of your brand, please fill out the contact form below. 

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The Top 7 Most Culturally Fluent Brands of 2020

The Top 7 Most Culturally Fluent Brands of 2020
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American consumers are experiencing a cultural transformation of unprecedented scope and scale. The pressure is on to rethink marketing with a focus on authentic connections that tap into culture, identity and emotion. This rapidly evolving landscape requires a new approach to assessing and building brands, centered on what we refer to as Cultural Fluency.

Fill out the form to instantly access a recording of the webinar from August 5th, 2020.

What makes a brand culturally fluent?

Cultural fluency is the ability to use culture to efficiently and effectively connect across consumer segments. Culturally fluent brands:

    1. Are culturally resonant across multiple segments: Hispanic (acculturated, unacculturated and bicultural), Black, Asian and White.
    2. Deliver authentic cultural expressions.
    3. Make culture a core component of their strategic approach.

Acculturated Hispanic: More likely to use English across language contexts, and to identify as American over Hispanic

Bicultural Hispanic: More likely to use a mix of English and Spanish across language contexts, and to identify as both American and Hispanic

Unacculturated Hispanic: More likely to use Spanish across language contexts, and to identify as Hispanic over American

Based on more than 10 years of research into multicultural America, Collage Group has developed a unique way to measure the cultural fluency of brands through our proprietary CultureRate:Brand metric. We begin by ranking brands on our Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ), and then decomposing the metric to explore how key features drive B-CFQ. The metric assesses cultural resonance along six dimensions selected from a process of pilot studies where we tested more than 20 measures.

Since our launch of CultureRate:Brand this spring during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve surveyed more than 10,000 consumers to evaluate about 300 brands. Our demographic focus is on the New Wave, 18-to-39-year-old consumers across all race and ethnicities. This segment of consumers includes Millennials and older Gen Zs who were the first generation to be diverse, and whose experiences led them to expect diversity in their friendships, daily interactions, education, media and marketing.

During the past four months, we’ve evaluated brands across more than seven industries including: alcoholic beverage, food, home care, personal care, automotive, retail, quick service restaurants (QSR), and select apparel, financial services and technology “reference” brands. More will be added across the rest of the year.

To help marketers and brand managers set aspirations, we’re pleased to share our first snapshot, including the top seven most culturally fluent brands, as well as two additional brands. 

Two powerful observations from this initial analysis:

    1. Six of the seven to brands have built strong reputations with one or more multicultural groups, whose resonance with the brand exceeds that of the white consumer.
    2. None of the brands have low scores in any one component score across demographics that is overcome by high scores in another, a characteristic more common in lower ranked brands.

Our rankings thus far reveal where top brands derive their strengths and offer evidence for the success of recent campaigns and strategies. Our members are now using CultureRate:Brand data on their own brands to identify learning gaps they can close with insights from existing syndicated research or from commissioning custom research projects. 

The Top 7 Most Culturally Fluent Brands of 2020:

    1. Lysol: No other brand has brand trust scores higher than 90% across three multicultural segments, and it’s no surprise that they are a brand leader amidst the current pandemic. Lysol was one of the first brands to be approved for use in protecting against the spread of COVID-19. The brand specifically ranks highly among Black and both unacculturated and acculturated Hispanic consumers.
    2. Clorox: Another brand uniquely positioned in the pandemic environment, Clorox is performing well above other brands when it comes to shared values. The brand is specifically appealing to bicultural and unacculturated Hispanic consumers and is well-positioned for sustained growth.
    3. Google: While performance is near-uniform across racial and ethnic segments, one area they have hit the mark is on Shared Values with Black consumers. This is likely a win from their “Black Girl Magic” campaign celebrating the influence of Black women and girls that began in Spring 2019.
    4. Amazon: Amazon over-indexes on all six dimensions within the Bicultural Hispanic community. The CEO of Amazon’s competitor, Target, offers interesting insight into their experience of losing share among Hispanics, which is that Amazon better supports a rise in cocooning within this segment.
    5. Hershey’s: The iconic American brand ranks highly in all six dimensions among unacculturated Hispanic consumers, specifically in sparking positive memories. During the past five years, Hershey’s has heavily invested in Mexico as part of the company’s growth plan – a likely reason for resonance among this audience.
    6. Dove: While the brand scores are relatively even across the board, Dove receives notably high ratings among bicultural Hispanics. Contributing to this ranking are the recent campaigns inspiring Hispanic women to celebrate their own definition of beauty.
    7. Tide: Performs high among Asian consumers across all six dimensions. On suspect this is related to the “Loads of Hope” campaign, where the brand offers free laundry services. During COVID-19, the campaign has offered free laundry services for first responders; Asian Americans represent 17% of doctors in the U.S.

When considering your multicultural marketing strategy, you may be asking yourself, “Is there a particular demographic that can take my brand to the next level? A segment that could be a standout for brand loyalty and advocacy?”

The answer: Strength with one or more multicultural demographics is more typical of high performing brands than strength with White consumers. Indeed, our research has shown that tailoring marketing to Black and Hispanic consumers has significant crossover effects to White and Asian consumers.

We look forward to continuing our research and providing actionable insights for brands based on our B-CFQ findings. Our CultureRate:Brand meta-analysis planned for release this fall will take these findings to the next level, and we look forward to sharing them with you. Watch the webinar replay at the form above and contact us for more details.

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Get on Top of 2020’s Hottest Upcoming genYZ Trend: Voting!

Get on Top of 2020’s Hottest Upcoming genYZ Trend: Voting!
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The 2018 U.S. midterm elections saw a dramatic increase in voter participation for younger generations. Here’s what brands and companies need to know about Millennial and Gen Z voter turnout to build consumer equity through the 2020 election and beyond.

We’re less than 100 days from the 2020 presidential election. Over the past weeks, we’ve heard many of our members ask what they can do to best activate on this major, and majorly controversial, occasion.  Our answer? Get out the vote.

Recent work by researchers at the Harvard Kennedy School reveals how leading brands have approached voter participation initiatives as part of a strategy for “meeting consumer expectations for engagement in social and political issues, raising brand awareness with new audiences, and increasing employee satisfaction.” In 2020, Gen Z and Millennial consumers will be at the heart of this strategy.

It has long been the conventional wisdom that younger Americans are less likely to vote than retirees who have fewer pressures on their time. But if you take a closer look at the data, a different story emerges – younger consumers value voting more than older generations did at their age.

Just look at voter participation rates. Comparing turnout in the first midterm and presidential elections for Gen X (1990 and 1988), Millennials (2006 and 2004), and Gen Z (2018 and predicted for 2020), we see a clear upward trend. While only 23 percent of eligible Gen X and Millennial consumers voted in their first midterms, 30 percent of Gen Z did. And Collage Group research estimates that at least 59 percent of eligible Gen Z consumers will cast their ballots in 2020, a significant majority compared to previous generations.

But the generational gap persists, which offers an opportunity for brands to step in and make a tangible difference. Only a slim majority of Millennials (51%) voted in the 2016 presidential election, with even fewer voting in 2018 (42%)

What does this all mean for brands and companies? If you want younger consumers to recognize your efforts in promoting social causes, voting must be top of mind. There are plenty of organizations you can partner with and support to accomplish this goal, including:

As part of either these strategic partnerships or your own campaigns, you need to be able to communicate effectively with youth consumers on the issues that matter to them. Out of the box thinking is needed to connect with potential voters who have not already been convinced by the existing messages thrown their way, and brands can take the lead in pushing for such innovation.