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America Now: Mental Health
Mental health is an important issue for Americans – now more than ever. Our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now, offers insights that help explain how Americans are feeling about mental health and what brands can do to support them. Read on to learn more.

May 6, 2022
Sudipti Kumar – Associate Director

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Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are at an all-time high in the United States. Increased political polarization, heightened racial tension, and the ongoing pandemic are just some of the reasons that contribute to a lower overall sense of well-being for Americans. In a recent survey we conducted, we found that Gen Z Americans are the least likely to be satisfied with their physical and non-physical well-being, including their mental and emotional health.

In addition to the factors affecting all Americans, social media likely has an outsized impact on Gen Z’s mental health. Our survey data reveals that Gen Z is the least likely to feel confident in themselves, while also being the most likely to compare themselves to others on social media. And then there’s recent research, including Instagram’s internal research, that highlights the potentially negative impact of social media on younger people(1).

Something else that likely adds to young Americans’ struggles with mental health is the belief that they can’t show their emotions.  In fact, almost 50% of Gen Z Americans agreed with the statement: “I can’t show my emotions because society tells me I need to be strong”, compared to only 22% of Boomers.

But here’s the good news—despite their struggles, Gen Z’ers want to improve their mental health. When asked where they are most focused with respect to their health and wellness, over 40% of the segment chose improving their mood/mental health. This suggests improving mental health is a top priority for Gen Z, even higher than improving their diet and increasing physical activity.

Now you may be thinking, how can my brand help improve people’s mental health? It turns out there are several ways you can play a positive role and connect with consumers in the process.

  1. Support and amplify influencers sharing openly about their mental health struggles
    Many young Americans (~80%, in fact!) think it’s admirable when a public figure shares about their mental health struggles. Brands that show support for these individuals and amplify their voices will likely capture consumer attention and create affinity. Consider Cartoon Network’s shout out to Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, and ESPN highlighting the many athletes that have spoken up about their mental health struggles including Michael Phelps and Demar Derozan.
                 

  2. Provide supportive resources
    Many brands are creating resources that consumers can use to improve their mental health. For example:
    – Athleta, Simone Biles’ sponsor, launched a new platform dedicated to women’s wellness called AthletaWell just days after Biles withdrew from the 2021 Olympic team finals for mental health reasons.
    – Maybelline New York launched the “Brave Together” program, an online platform to open the conversation around anxiety and depression.
    – JanSport has developed a fully integrated brand effort called #Lightentheload to connect Generation Z with resources to tackle the mental health challenges they face.

  3. Donate to causes
    There are important causes that aim to improve the mental health of young Americans. Stella and Bow donates proceeds of their Rainbow Connection necklace to a charity focused on helping people with depression and addiction. And Philosophy has donated over five million dollars to mental health initiatives via their hope & grace initiative. Consider donating to one or more mental health causes and then use social media and other marketing efforts to let your market know they too can have a positive impact by donating.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

Sources:

(1) NPR, “Instagram Worsens Body Image Issues And Erodes Mental Health”, https://www.npr.org/2021/09/26/1040756541/instagram-worsens-body-image-issues-and-erodes-mental-health

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Sudipti Kumar
Associate Director

Sudipti is an Associate Director on Collage Group’s Product and Content team. She is a graduate from NYU’s Stern School of Business where she studied finance and marketing, and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where she received her Masters in Public Administration. In her spare time, Sudipti enjoys reading, cooking, and learning to crochet.

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Health and Wellness Across Gender
Men and Women have unique perspectives, needs, and experiences related to health insurance and health care. Keep reading for key insights, and a downloadable deck to help your brand or organization better connect with these segments.
 

Americans are increasingly embracing a consumer mindset when it comes to healthcare. Men and Women alike are shopping around, comparing prices, and seeking more information than they have in the past. They are doing this because heath care has changed – it has expanded choice and shifted costs.

To win in this constantly evolving space, brands and organizations need to understand men and women’s unique health-related perspectives and how they impact their engagement with health insurers and providers.

Collage Group’s 2021/2022 Health & Wellness Study leverages data captured from more than 3,500 Americans to help brands understand how health-related attitudes and behaviors differ by gender. Our research reveals how an emerging consumer mindset impacts Americans engagement with both the health insurance and health care provider space. We explore barriers to insurance coverage, drivers and barriers to trust and satisfaction, provider preferences, receptivity to provider advice, and more.

Download the attached presentation and take a look at a few key insights and implications below:

#1: Affordability is the Top Barrier for the Uninsured

The high cost of healthcare for Americans is not news, we know that men and women both face increasing costs and are seeking ways to offset them. But for women, costs are even higher earlier in life, thanks to increased incidence of many chronic conditions, as well as the healthcare costs associated with their reproductive years. This leads many to cut costs by forgoing care or insurance altogether – lack of affordability is the top reason why uninsured women don’t have coverage.

Affordability is also the top reason why men don’t have insurance, albeit at a much lower rate. But what’s interesting – and actionable for healthcare brands – is that men are twice as likely as women to say that they don’t have health insurance because they don’t know how to purchase it. They’re also twice as likely to say they don’t have health insurance because they don’t need it.

Best Practice: The Nevada Health Link took a creative approach to attracting the cost conscious uninsured. Their creative campaign titled, “You Can’t Afford to Not Be Insured”, highlighted the savings insurance provides when faced with a variety of common ailments compared to paying out of pocket – presenting insurance as a relative value.

#2: Men Seek Insurance Partnership Through Communication

Communication with their health insurance provider is particularly important for New Wave Men – those who are 26-41 in this study. When asked what insurance companies might do to be seen as a partner rather than a barrier in improving health, New Wave men were significantly more likely to say “If I had a person at the insurance company I could easily communicate with.”

New Wave Men Seek Insurance Partnership

Best Practice: The state of Minnesota health insurance exchange, or “MNSure”, recently ran a campaign highlighting the communication support provided to those seeking to enroll. MNSure utilizes a network of “assisters” who provide 1:1 support on social channels, year round. The ads seen below were designed to be shared by the assister network across social channels, so individuals could reach out to the assisters directly to receive support, or through the provided contact information.

MNSure Highlights Certified Navigators

#3: New Wave Women Have Endured Negative Healthcare Services, Leading to Lower Healthcare Satisfaction  

Of all segments we looked at in this study, younger women (26-41yrs old) have the lowest level of satisfaction of their health care providers. And the unfortunate truth behind this number seems to be that they have simply had more negative experiences with health care providers in the past. In fact, younger women are significantly more likely to have experienced literally every negative experience we asked about – from doctors rushing through visits and not listening to them, to lifestyle judgment and pressured decision making.

The silver lining of the negative experiences women have had in the past is that they now know what they want from health care providers. Women want personalized care, from doctors who understand their unique healthcare needs, and they want it delivered in a way that is efficient and effective.

Young women most likely to receive bad service

Best Practice: Recognizing that the needs of women weren’t being completely met through traditional providers, Maven Health set up gap-filling coverage tailored to the needs of women. Maven provides detailed information from the comfort of an app, but also personal concierge service and virtual visits with regular providers to ensure women get the personal support they want.

Health care preferences

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Health Care Across Generations
Each generation approaches the patient journey from a unique perspective. Keep reading for key insights and a  downloadable deck on generational differences in health-related attitudes and behaviors and the emerging consumer mindset.
 

Health and wellness are top of mind for consumers. With healthcare costs higher than ever, Americans are acting more and more as “consumers” when it comes to their healthcare and health insurance. They want to get bang for their buck by being more choosy and “shopping around.” As a result, they’re more sensitive to price and  think even more critically about their symptoms before deciding it’s necessary to seek care. And when they do, many are turning to cost-effective options like virtual care.

The rise of consumerism in healthcare means you’ve got to be thinking about all the levers that traditional service-oriented businesses have leaned on to win consumers. Highlighting and providing excellent service and competitive cost are two that many in healthcare still struggle with. To win consumers and provide them optimal care, you must understand how these factors are constantly shifting consumers’ expectations, needs, and desires.

Collage Group’s 2021/2022 Health & Wellness Study covers generational differences in healthcare-related attitudes and behaviors. Our research reveals how the emerging consumer mindset affects each generation’s attitudes and behaviors in healthcare.

Download the attached presentation and take a look at a few key insights and implications below:

#1: Gen X and Boomers emphasize doctors’ qualitative attributes, so provide bios that allow each individual doctor’s strengths to shine and focus your marketing efforts on how your organization stands out with excellent service. Your organization has exceptional talent, so make sure you get the credit for it!

What is important when considering a doctor

#2: Gen Z and Millennials emphasize their doctor’s identity attributes, so add filters (gender, race, etc.) to provider search tools to allow them to refine their search for a doctor they value. It’s important to make it easy for them to find a doctor they feel comfortable with. Finding a doctor with shared identity can also help them to feel less anxious.

Doctor preference

Executional Example

Indianapolis-based Community Health Network differentiates their medical facilities by highlighting the exceptional care they offer. Their creative showcases their patient-centric values and community-driven approach (the audio track in the ad was even performed by Community Health Network employees!). The ad affirms the network’s focus on service by communicating the diversity in their providers, showing that every patient can find a doctor who will listen to and understand their unique needs.

To bolster the themes in their creative campaign, Community Health Network has a robust provider search tool on their website. Each doctor has a short bio and an introduction video so that patients can evaluate them on a more personal level beyond their credentials. They can hear their voice and see their smile—as well as learn about their passions in healthcare and their approach as a physician. The website’s search tool allows patients to filter by different attributes like gender and language. The site even has a section for reviews.

Community Health Network screenshot

#3: Younger Americans have a more self-sufficient health perspective. They also say that feeling worried or anxious is the top reason they avoid care. Help them feel more empowered in their health by giving them some control over their health journey. This will help grow their trust and inspire confidence in themselves.

Executional Example

Virtual care company LetsGetChecked was founded in 2015 with the goal of empowering people to manage their own health from home. They provide at-home sample collection kits which can be sent to healthcare facilities for results. They also provide telehealth services. This innovative healthcare approach caters to the unique needs of younger Americans who want control and self-sufficiency in their health journey, and simultaneously are anxious and turned-off by conventional healthcare services.

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Health and Wellness Across Sexual Identities
LGBTQ+ Americans have unique perspectives, needs, and experiences related to healthcare that brands must understand. Keep reading for key insights, a downloadable deck, and webinar replay that will help your brand or organization better understand and connect with these segments.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our Health and Wellness Across Sexual Identities presentation.

Rapid changes in societal norms over the past several years are continuing to pave the way for a more inclusive and welcoming America. The greater acceptance many young people now experience affords an opportunity to openly identify as LGBTQ+ with less risk for social stigma and discrimination. As a result, we continue to see growth in the number of Americans who identify as LGBTQ+. To win in this constantly evolving space, brands and organizations must understand LGBTQ+ Americans’ unique health-related needs and how these impact their engagement with health insurers and providers.

Collage Group’s 2021/2022 Health & Wellness Study leverages data captured from more than 3,500 Americans to help brands understand how health-related attitudes and behaviors differ by sexual identity. Our research reveals how an emerging consumer mindset impacts Americans engagement with both the health insurance and health care provider space. We explore barriers to insurance coverage, drivers and barriers to trust and satisfaction, provider preferences, receptivity to provider advice, and more.

Take a look at a few key insights and implications:

#1. The LGBTQ+ population is less likely to have health insurance than others. Affordability issues and distrust in health care have led to lower insurance rates among LGBTQ+ Americans. Position yourself as a partner in their health journey and prove yourself trustworthy by offering targeted services to address their unique needs

LGBTQ+ are more likely to be uninsured

Best Practice: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island is addressing LGBTQ+ Americans’ barriers to coverage with an easy to find resource page on their website to connect patients with providers that are inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly.

BCSBRI has its own LGBTQ+ safe zones

#2: LGBTQ+ Americans are less satisfied with their current medical care in part because of past negative experiences. More poor interactions with health care providers leads to avoiding care in the future and, ultimately, poorer health outcomes (see the full presentation for supporting data and details on the LGBTQ+ experience with health care).

LGBTQ+ are more likely to have negative doctor experiences

#3: LGBTQ+ Americans want affirming care that is sensitive to their unique needs, but they don’t need to see LGBTQ+ providers to get that level of care. Make sure your providers and staff are trained in culturally competent care for the LGBTQ+ community.

OutCare provides Online Culturally Competent Training

Best Practice: In addition to providing various resources – like an LGBTQ+ friendly provider list – OutCare offers online training to help health care providers develop cultural competency for the segment. Trainings like these are a great way to increase the quality of care provided to LGBTQ+ individuals.

OutCare provides Online Culturally Competent Training

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America Now: Younger LGBTQ+ Americans Have High Expectations for Brands

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn more about LGBTQ+ consumers, their perspective on gender and sexual identities, and what they expect from brands like yours.

Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how they view different aspects of their own identity. Race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, and gender are just a few of the many elements of a person’s identity impacting how people see themselves and shaping their expectations for brands. LGBTQ+ Americans, especially those who are younger, tell us that their sexuality is becoming an increasingly important aspect of their identity. As a result, brands have to step up their inclusive marketing practices and oftentimes that means deftly engaging with social and political issues.

In a recent survey, Collage Group asked people to choose the most important aspect of their identity. Personality came out on top, followed by race, and country of origin. Just 8 percent of LGBTQ+ people responded that sexuality is the most important aspect of their identity. However, the importance of sexual identity is on the rise for this segment. Over 50 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that their sexuality has become an increasingly important part of their identity in recent years. This is especially true for those between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. Younger LGBTQ+ are also significantly more likely to say their sexuality plays an increasingly important role in their identity than older LGBTQ+ Americans.

Importance of Sexual Identity for LGBTQ+ People

As sexuality becomes a more important element in how LGBTQ+ see themselves, brands must improve their efforts to accurately represent sexuality and gender in advertising — especially when targeting younger and multicultural LGBTQ+ consumers. Only 39 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents say they’re satisfied with portrayals of their sexuality in advertising, significantly less than the approximately 53 percent of non-LGBTQ+ respondents who agree. Seeing their own sexual identity portrayed in advertising matters a lot to 42 percent of young LGBTQ+, significantly higher than older LGBTQ+ respondents. Similarly, for gender portrayals, over a third of all LGBTQ+ say it matters a lot to see advertisements with people of the same gender identity. Doing this comes with great benefits, as young LGBTQ+ are more likely to buy products and services from brands that challenge gender stereotypes in their advertisements.

LBTBQ+ Americans identify more with their sexuality

Beyond mere representation in advertising, LGBTQ+ consumers also desire to see brands engage in social and political issues impacting their community. About 40 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that brands should focus on social and political issues even if they don’t directly relate to their products and services. 

Overall, most LGBTQ+ respondents prefer brands to get involved by educating consumers about LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination. However, young LGBTQ+ consumers would also like to see brands hire more LGBTQ+ in leadership positions and donate to LGBTQ+ causes.

America Now - LGBTQ and Identity - Collage Group

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Our Top 5 Consumer Market Research Reports

In 2020, Collage Members turned to our platform for proprietary insights into a time of dramatic change. Here, we've compiled the five most important consumer research reports of last year.

Our members explored themes ranging from the impact of the social justice movement, to advertising and to the how we even describe diverse segments at the pivotal moment in American history – and above all on the impact of COVID. 

Across 2019, we analyzed almost 150 ads, gathering almost 100,000 surveys and 20 million datapoints.

Using this data, we developed the Cultural Fluency Quotient, a new metric to predict brand favorability and purchase intent, and ran machine learning on the data to derive powerful new insights into what matters for every demographic.

When we run the numbers, the findings are similar for every demographic. The best ads tell a simple story using ONE multicultural perspective, with attention to authentic texture.  These ads avoid the trap of representing every demographic at once, and ensure the viewer is not confused by the relationship between the product and the story. Download the insights below.

Entering the conversation on race can be an intimidating step for your brand, but in this day and age, it’s imperative. Our latest research on current events helps you unpack this topic and provides the guidance you need to take action.

“Unprecedented times:” a label the world has become well acquainted with since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic. But over the past several weeks, public outcry over heinous deaths in the Black community has given new meaning to this phrase. From George Floyd, to Breonna Taylor, to Ahmaud Arbery, and more – Black lives lost at the hands of an inherently racist system have awakened America to the reality of its dark past and broken present.

The 2019 Roundtable Series inaugurated a new chapter in the way we help organizations activate young diverse consumers. Learn about our Cultural Fluency Framework and how applying our three part approach can help connect your brand equities more reliably to the Group Traits of these consumers.

How should marketers reach younger and more diverse Americans, the generation between 18 and 39 whose spending is set to explode?  To answer this question, we enhanced the Cultural Fluency framework we first introduced in 2017, to better increase the ROI on marketing to a diverse America.

Members often approach us to ask about the terminology used to refer to a few of the segments we cover. Should we say Black or African American? Are people moving to Latinx and away from Hispanic?

Our decision to use the term “b/Black” also issues from the fact that it is technically more correct as this term can apply to all individuals descended from the African diaspora, including those that do not identify with African or American heritage.  Additionally, we’ve seen indicators that this term is more associated with the move among many black Americans to re appropriate “blackness,” an appearance and expression the mainstream historically viewed as negative, in order to invert that dynamic, as well as empower and celebrate.  Look no further than “Black Panther,” “Black Twitter” and the show “Blackish” for examples.

Despite the popularity of the term “Latinx” in young, progressive, and especially queer Hispanic spaces, only one percent of Hispanic consumers opt for that term. This finding aligns with others’ research on the subject, but we wanted to dig deeper. We asked Hispanic consumers whether they felt positively, negatively, or neutral towards the use of various terms to describe people of their background, and we found that “Latinx” only has a net positive response for younger Hispanic consumers. But this margin is quite narrow, suggesting that the term is highly controversial even for the Millennial and Gen Z Hispanic segments.

Our May 2020 edition of the multi month COVID 19 initiative takes an expansive look at consumer preferences and shopping behaviors during our time of crisis.

The analysis uncovers how attitudes and spending patterns are shifting among the major racial and ethnic segments at a general and category specific level.  You’ll find category specific decks ready for download on this page, covering alcohol, mobile and electronics, entertainment and media, financial services, food and beverage, home care, and personal care. This research had a profound influence on our agenda and on the basis of this work, the most downloaded work across all of 2020, we inaugurated a semi-annual investigation of consumer attitudes across 10 major industries.

We are immensely honored to be serving the world’s most iconic and global brands as they navigate the extraordinary cultural transformation underway in the United States.  We are grateful for the robust increases in your use of our platform to meet your most pressing need for insights into the ever-changing and extraordinarily complex American consumer.

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Christmas in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year, even during a pandemic. Keep reading for stats on timeless Christmas themes to lean into this year while pivoting to the realities of COVID.

Christmas is one of the most beloved and widely celebrated holidays in America. Over three-quarters of each racial/ethnic segment celebrate it, and 73% of people view Christmas as the biggest holiday of the year.

Every year, consumers of all backgrounds traditionally ring in the holiday by spending time with loved ones, putting up festive decorations, giving gifts, and enjoying seasonal foods. And as Americans adapt to the pandemic, our research suggests they will continue to incorporate these traditional sources of comfort and joy into their holiday.

Download an excerpt of our webinar presentation, “Multicultural Holiday Behaviors During COVID – Food, Beverage, and Alcohol.”

This year, brands are leaning into core Christmas themes in COVID-relevant ways.

For instance, McCormick reminds viewers that even if you can’t get together with your family this year, “their dishes can still make it to the table.” And Lowe’s emphasizes the importance of home as a central part of our lives. This year especially, with so much time spent at home, Lowe’s highlights home decorating as a gift that “brings joy to all.”

These core consumer Christmas values won’t be abandoned just because the circumstances have changed. You can, and should, still activate against these themes. But keep in mind that you also need to know how things are different to understand where and how to tweak messaging.

Our recent data gives us insight on the shifts you can expect to see in consumer attitudes and behaviors as they modify their plans to celebrate the holiday safely. Consider these high-level consumer trends as you prepare your final holiday push for maximum impact.

1. Consumers will celebrate in 2020, but celebrate differently.

2 in 5 consumers expect that the pandemic will prevent them from carrying out their usual Christmas plans. That may mean abstaining from large family gatherings, nixing travel plans, or forgoing festive outings.

Continue to activate on core Christmas themes like family – but do so in a way that’s relevant during the pandemic. For instance, recent holiday spots by Etsy and Chewy feature family members opening presents with one another over video chat.

Alternatively, shake things up by leaning into the probability that the pandemic will likely create new activities and traditions. Show how your product or service can inspire new ways to celebrate because of the pandemic. For instance a recent spot by Maker’s Mark features roommates getting together to decorate their fire escape with Christmas lights, then huddling outside on it to watch a virtual fireplace on their TV while sipping cups of holiday cheer. Or illustrate how new quarantine activities can inspire Christmas gift ideas this year, like Best Buy.

2. Consumers prioritize convenience and safety for holiday shopping this year.

With no end to the pandemic in sight, consumers are modifying holiday shopping habits as they seek convenience and safety. Many are looking for contactless options: 67% of people say they’ll probably shop online more for the holidays this year.

Telling people how they can shop online for your products needs to be central to your campaign. For example, Walmart recently debuted a heartwarming and relatable spot highlighting everything we now buy online these days to cope with the pandemic. And Sam’s Club customers can take a virtual tour of the Griswold “Christmas Vacation” house as they shop the festive décor and gifts Sam’s Club offers.

3. Many people are still struggling financially as a result of the pandemic and economic recession.

Half of all Americans worry that they can’t afford holiday shopping this year.

Show sensitivity towards your customers by offering extended discounts. For instance, Target and Home Depot are offering Black Friday deals all season long. Additionally, signal that you care by supporting vulnerable communities financially or through donated goods. Amazon, recently announced plans to donate to over 1,000 charities to support communities hit hardest by the events this year. And Visa encourages consumers to shop local this holiday season and give back to the small businesses at the heart of their communities.

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2020 Holiday Consumer Behavior: Thanksgiving in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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The coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing how American consumers gather for Thanksgiving and shop on Black Friday this year. Read on for insight into the consumer mindset and advice on how to best position your brand for success in this untraditional holiday season.

Thanksgiving. The word immediately calls to mind iconic images of Americana: roast turkey, family gatherings, football, the Macy’s Day parade. But Thanksgiving isn’t just a truly American holiday—it’s also one of the most celebrated! Our research from 2019 revealed that 84% of Americans regularly celebrate Thanksgiving, making it the second most celebrated holiday for Americans after Christmas. White and Black consumers are most likely to celebrate, while Hispanic and Asian celebration rates are lower, perhaps due to members of these segments that have recently immigrated and not yet adopted the holiday.

Thanksgiving is normally a popular occasion for Americans to travel and reunite with family and friends. Last year more than 26 million airline passengers were screened by the TSA during the week of Thanksgiving. And a survey we ran in 2019 revealed that 59% of Americans reported typically celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family, while 40% reported celebrating with friends.

But this year, nothing is normal. When we surveyed consumers in August 2020, 44% already expected the COVID-19 pandemic would interfere with their normal Thanksgiving plans. Since then, coronavirus cases and fatalities in the United States have risen dramatically.

Another survey we fielded in September 2020 found that only 19% of American adults reported feeling safe travelling on commercial airplanes. And the CDC recently issued official guidelines recommending that people stay close to home and only gather with immediate family members on Thanksgiving to lower the chances of spreading the virus. These fears are not unfounded. In October, Canadian officials linked rising case numbers all over the country to Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations

The coronavirus pandemic will likely result in a larger number of small Thanksgiving gatherings across the United States. And this means that many Americans—perhaps 18%—will be cooking their own Thanksgiving meals for the first time. Despite these changes, many other aspects of Thanksgiving 2020 will look the same as any other year. 

For example, the top things that people associate with Thanksgiving (spending time with family, eating delicious foods, cooking, baking, and watching football) are still possible, in some form, during the pandemic. And maintaining these traditions will likely be a welcome reminder of more normal times.

Brands can use these challenges to connect with consumers. McCormick’s new ad does this by showing how their products help create a sense of togetherness and ensure success despite separation. They encourage people to cook their relatives’ signature dishes as a way to be together. And they use the image of a young woman fumbling with a turkey—an inexperienced Thanksgiving cook—to remind viewers that “it’s gonna be great” despite the challenges

Thanksgiving is also a crucial time of year for brands because of Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. This is yet another aspect of American life that will look different in 2020. According to recent research, two thirds of consumers plan to shop online more for the holidays this year, while 60% plan to put off shopping until it’s absolutely necessary.

Brands and stores have already begun to adjust their Black Friday campaigns in expectation of untraditional shopping patterns.

A common move is to expand your online strategy well beyond Cyber Monday as consumers fear shopping in crowded stores. For example, Target and other retailers are advertising that all deals are available both in-store and online. Retailers are also fighting against consumers’ instinct to hold off on shopping by offering Black Friday deals throughout November.

Unfortunately, about half of consumers are worried they won’t be able to afford holiday shopping this year. Brands can activate on this moment by showing how their products can figure in homemade or low-cost gifts. For example, Ashley Home Store released a commercial showing two children who make their parents a simple dinner and decorate the table with homemade decorations. The parents love it! And with the slogan, “celebrate the magic of home,” Ashley Home Store is also subtly reminding people of the importance of staying home and safe during the pandemic. Similarly, Ross advertises their Christmas bargains by saying, “you don’t have to spend a lot to give a lot to the ones who mean the most.” By offering extended sales, brands can also show they recognize the economic challenges many are now facing.

This Thanksgiving and Black Friday will look different than those past. But that doesn’t mean marketing is out. Brands can still connect with consumers by activating on tried and true themes and reminding people they understand the challenges they face.

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The Multicultural Growth Opportunity: 2020 Update
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Fill out the form to download an excerpt from Essentials of Multicultural Marketing: Demographics and Economic Opportunity.

The multicultural population in the United States is transforming American culture. For the first time, the white population registered negative growth across the last five years of available data, meaning Multiculturals are now driving OVER 100% of growth and a major share of expenditure growth.

The multicultural population in America has become a major source of growth, influence and change.  The impact of this group of consumers, once an afterthought in marketing, has now become central to the success of every consumer brand in the United States.

The year 2020 could not have made this point more clearly.  From the dramatic impact of the COVID crisis, to the racial justice protests prompted by the detailed video of George Floyd’s killing, and to the extraordinary and often unexpected impact of Multiculturals on the 2020 election, brands have been thrown abruptly into a future thought to be some decades off.

Multicultural population and expenditure growth are only the tip of the iceberg.  Multiculturals, especially Hispanic and Black consumers, are also more influential on a per-person basis than other segments, with that impact is clearly revealed in the attitudes and behaviors of younger Americans across every racial and ethnic segment.

In the excerpt above, you’ll find a sampling of our most recent findings on multicultural growth opportunity, including must-have information on:

  • Population Size and Growth
  • Geography
  • Family Characteristics
  • Language
  • Economic Opportunity

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Slow Improvement Amid Cultural Uncertainty: Updated Economic Forecast and Survey Results on Consumer Finances and Purchasing
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Given all the uncertainty and stress of COVID, it’s more important than ever for marketers to keep a finger on the pulse of important consumer attitudes and behaviors.

To support this need, we at Collage have been conducting an intermittent tracking survey of how 18 to 39-year-old Americans, a group we call the New Wave, are responding to this extraordinary time.  In our most recent update, we compare the trailing average of four pulse surveys through mid- September to the trailing average through late August.  Read further for excerpts from our full report available exclusively to members.

Consumers Remain Generally Hesitant to Engage in Social Activities But Trending Slightly Positive.

One key indicator for increasing economic activity is how comfortable people feel engaging in the social activities which drive personal consumption and job creation. The story here is that of little meaningful change: consumer hesitancy to participate in these activities is clear across the board. We’re over six months into a worsening pandemic and unsurprisingly we see that most consumers just aren’t comfortable getting back to life “as it was.” The only substantial difference across multicultural segments is that non-Hispanic white consumers tend to be more comfortable engaging in these social activities, while unacculturated Hispanics tend to be less comfortable overall.

Purchase of Home Care and Personal Care Products May Be Trending Positive.

Despite the greater concern with finances and slightly reduced comfort with public places overall, New Wave consumers report they plan to spend more in a few areas, notably home care, personal care, and beauty. We see some small movements in other categories as well, including food, home care, and beverages, but the real story is lingering overall hesitancy to increase spending on non-essentials.  The increased spread of COVID-19 as we head into the cooler months may be driving the expected increase in home care spending.  As the downloadable presentation shows, personal care and beauty vary considerably by demographic.

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