Tag Archive for: generations

Winning Brands Don't Compromise Their Focus on Diverse Consumers
Survive and thrive in economic downturn by appealing to the new center of American culture.

January 5, 2023
David Wellisch – CEO and Co-Founder

In this climate of high economic uncertainty, brands are scrambling to update budgets, forcing hard calls about where to spend and what to cut. Collage Group represents a crucial investment that helps brands protect share among the diverse consumers responsible for driving overall growth, many of whom will reward brands with stronger than expected spend and loyalty.

As in years past, we enter the new year facing many unknowns. Given these blind spots, companies across every industry face the pressure to play it safe and pull back on spending. For marketing departments in consumer products and services, it’s an especially confusing time; combining low unemployment with high inflation is playing havoc with our forecasts for consumer spending.

But one thing is certain: CFOs and CMO are asking organizations to do more with less, demanding teams find more efficient ways to reach as many consumers as possible with limited resources.

However, this cost-cutting mandate can lead to unfortunate consequences. Brands can oversimplify messaging at precisely the time when consumers are demanding that brands authentically reflect the cultural preferences of the many diverse identities that now define the mainstream.

As a result, brands sacrificing insights into diverse consumers are likely to lose share to savvier competitors who have placed the diverse consumer at the center of marketing.

These savvy brands are delivering superior marketing performance by organizing around three fundamental realities:

    1. A wide range of culturally diverse consumer segments has replaced a culturally unified general population.
    2. Brands must respect and authentically reflect the distinctive cultural preferences of each segment.
    3. Activating these diverse consumers is critical to brand performance, as they represent the principal source of spending and population growth. In fact, many multicultural consumers show surprising resilience in their spending intentions.

While an increasing number of brands recognize these realities, organizing around them is what differentiates winners from losers. At the very least, it seems intuitively more expensive, requiring brands to target multiple cultural groups in distinctly different ways. How can winners achieve success while avoiding cost increases?

The secret to their outperformance lies in the use of high-ROI Culturally Fluent strategies. These combine authentic cultural references with universal human themes to connect with the entirety of our new, diverse mainstream. Indeed, they are winning precisely because the way they deepen connection to culturally distinctive groups appeals to all segments within the mainstream.

These Culturally Fluent brands recognize that engaging diverse consumers not only is essential to driving positive outcomes in 2023 but also will enable them to leap-frog competitors when the economy improves.

Collage Group is the vendor of choice for leading brands seeking to win in today’s uncertain times. Founded in the Great Recession when budgets were tight, our shared-cost membership-based model offers a cost-effective, proven alternative to custom relationships that helps the world’s leading marketing organizations build the Cultural Fluency needed to access, engage and win the diverse consumers defining the mainstream.

    • The Collage Group experience begins by benchmarking the Cultural Fluency of each member’s brands using a robust database of category norms, growing from 400+ brands in 2022 to 1000 brands in 2023.
    • Members apply brand Cultural Fluency ratings to identify improvement opportunities and refine audience definition across multiple diverse segments. These insights guide teams on how to respond to the behavioral shifts of diverse consumers in areas across every category of consumer spending, shopping behavior, social and values priorities, positioning and messaging, preferred activation channels, and more.
    • Powered by advanced analytics and data science referencing a unique, continually updated database of 250+ million data points, brand-specific insights are configured to each member’s target audiences, through linkages both to the cultural traits of target consumers and to their category preferences.
    • Supported by insights into how their ads compare to a reference database of America’s most Culturally Fluent executions, Collage Group members are poised to accelerate brand performance throughout 2023 and beyond.

Five factors predict the superior performance of our members:

    1. Higher ROI and Cost Displacement: Every year, we invest millions of dollars in a large team of consumer insights experts, and continuous, member-driven syndicated surveys. This investment provides members with a 20x multiple on insights output when compared to the cost of a single full-time employee on their own team, or the price of membership. Members not only realize immediate, always-on value from this stream of work, but can also significantly reduce the scope and cost of any additional custom work required.
    2. Track Record of Impact on Member Outcomes: Everything we do is designed to impact brand performance, from Awareness to Purchase Intent to Repeat Purchase. Our insights have proven time and again to drive brand impact in changing times, such as when brands turned to Collage Group to understand how COVID and the social justice movements of 2020 were transforming consumer behavior across all segments.
    3. Always-on Access for Users: Collage Group’s Cultural Intelligence Platform, our core offering, includes more than 10 years of syndicated research, with new research out weekly, giving every user on your brand and marketing team continuous access to insights.
    4. Increased Organizational Alignment, Understanding and Empowerment: Our high-touch Customer Success organization fine tunes and curates these insights for each member, driving maximum impact on the member organization, enrolling staff in the mission, and supporting a roadmap that builds Cultural Fluency.
    5. Ability to Translate Our Cultural Expertise into Member Actions and Strategies: Collage Group leverages a deep bench of cultural experts, highly experienced at working with the Insights and Marketing professionals at the world’s leading brands. We are passionate about achieving each Member’s growth goals, whether powered by our syndicated insights or the proprietary custom insights prepared by our Solutions team.

We pride ourselves on being the provider most trusted by the world’s top brands for insights into the new American mainstream of diverse consumers.

Other Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

David Wellisch

David Wellisch
CEO and Co-Founder

David Wellisch is CEO & Co-Founder of Collage Group, a consumer insights and intelligence company with a focus on research exploring race/ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender. Since the inception of Collage Group in 2009, David has led the company through growth, now serving more than 200 brands in across 15 industries. David is passionate about entrepreneurship and company building, and often works directly with members to help guide the integration of multicultural consumer insights and marketing strategies.

Get In Touch.

There's a world of Data Insight Opportunity just for you

Explore Our Most Popular 2022 Consumer Insights
2022 shaped up to be quite the interesting year and America’s iconic brands relied on Collage Group insights to engage and win diverse consumers through it all.

January 3, 2023
David Evans – Chief Insights Officer

As we navigated continued polarization on social issues, an ever-changing COVID environment, and a challenging economic climate, the evolution of the American consumer remained certain. Here’s a look back at the landscape of 2022 through some of our most popular diverse consumer insights.

1. Guard Against Recession with Cultural Insights

August 2022

Economic fears have been a key concern for Americans this past year, and they continue into ‘23. In light of that, Collage Group advised brands to steer clear of certain terminology, as some words and phrases are off-putting to many Americans. Our research unveiled that brands should avoid worsening consumers’ political anxieties with terms like “the economy,” “recession,” and “inflation”–which stoke unrest. Also of note, during this Summer, Hispanic consumers shifted their purchasing to brace for the future, whereas Black Americans remained optimistic and kept purchasing steady. With these insights, brands adjusted messaging to avoid negative sentiment and backlash.

2. Respect for Diverse Consumers Begins with Respecting the Terminology They Prefer

July 2022

Collage Group members relied on our expertise to engage culture with a deep understanding of the words that define it. Our work unveils consumer reaction to terms like Latinx and BIPOC, the nuances of Hispanic vs. Latino and Black vs. African American. And it digs deeper into the labels and/or identifiers each consumer segment preference and double-click by age, gender and more. For example, Black Americans are generally positive regarding both Black and African American as general descriptors, while Hispanic Americans are most favorable toward the terms Hispanic and Latino/Latina. This holds true across generation and country of origin. Moreover, although “Latinx” is a polarizing term, younger Hispanic Americans tend to feel positive toward it. Get diverse consumer terminology right with our deep insights.

3. Multicultural Americans View Staying Healthy as a Matter of Personal Responsibility

January 2022

Our Category Essentials on health and wellness provides brands with insights on consumers’ approaches to physical health and well-being. This research unveils how many Americans are most likely to perceive lack of exercise and poor diet as barriers to their own health. Further, it explores multicultural American attitudes and behaviors toward health, as they are less likely to use regular doctor visits. This research equipped brands with lessons on engaging with these consumers and activating on the learnings.

4. Respecting Country of Origin Deepens Resonance with Hispanics

March 2022

Hispanic Americans are a growing force in the U.S. and their population is projected to nearly double by 2060. Understanding the cultural and economic power of the Hispanic American segment is essential for authentic engagement. Hispanic Americans are not monolithic. Heritage and country of origin matter to their identity, particularly for the Unacculturated and Bicultural segments. America’s leading brands activated on this insight by highlighting the rich heritage and contributions of Hispanic Americans and include messages that speak to the segment’s different cultural backgrounds. Access more insights for action.

5. Locking in the Loyalty of Young Consumers Depends on Respecting Their Diversity

September 2022

Did you know that Gen Alpha and Gen Z are the most racially and ethnically diverse cohorts of Americans to date? Many brands are missing out on resonating with older Gen Alphas and younger Gen Z members, and as a result, also failing to connect with the parents of these young consumers. Those in generations Alpha and Z are unique, as standing out is the new fitting in, so it’s understandable that brands need guidance on the best approach. Collage Group explains that forging a connection now is vital as the relationship will pay dividends for years to come, including pay off with the Millennial parents who contribute a sizable portion to America’s spending. This highly read blog, as part of our Generations and Parents & Kids programs, is chock full of even more insights and leadership, and explains how to authentically engage among these consumers.

6. Understanding Historical Context for Black Americans Helps Brands Authentically Connect

June 2022

The history of Black Americans in this country, including systemic and institutional racism and race-related violence that continues today, results in Black Americans identifying with their race stronger than any other segment. However, they are increasingly disappointed with how brands choose to portray them in advertising. Brands struggling to correct this reality rely on Collage Group’s Essentials of Black Consumers, which provides key guidance that put brands in position to authentically connect with Black Americans. In these frequently updated insights, Collage Group examines three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics, identity, and group traits.

7. Multicultural Americans Prioritize Food Health over Taste

December 2022

Food and beverage brands, and entertainment companies, tailored their offerings based on vital findings that revealed how multicultural Americans consume, buy, and perceive food. Asian consumers, for example, prefer foods that are fresh, high in vitamins, and have no artificial flavors. Black consumers seek low-sodium meals, while Hispanic Americans tend to pursue foods that are low in fat. Social media also comes into play, as it has become a popular source for recipes among Hispanic Americans. Activate on these insights to successfully capture multicultural consumers’ attention and spending.

8. Most Consumers Across Every Racial Group Want Brands To Support Diverse Identities

November 2022

Collage Group helped brands navigate the unprecedented social, economic, and public health upheavals–and continued shifts from 2020 to 2022. In our annual America Now research we explain how national issues have changed the perspectives and behaviors of diverse American consumers, and this year, dug deeper into the American Dream. Diverse consumers are now more likely than ever to choose the brands that support their diverse identities and represent them better in advertising. Through these insights released at our Annual Member Roundtable, brands gain valuable information on key social, political and economic issues. With this knowledge in hand, brands activate on the values and issues consumers care most about.

9. Connecting with LGBTQ+ Begins with Respecting The Internal Diversity of this Group

February 2022

When engaging with the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to understand terminology, from acronyms to identity. Collage Group helped brands appreciate that language entails more than saying the right word or referring to the right person, as it is more about relaying dignity and empathy. Once brands recognize that terminology is really a matter of respect, they are in a favorable position to engage with the LGBTQ+ community. Our member brands authentically engage with and support the LGBTQ+ community with language that reflects their values.

10. Brands Win Hispanics By Aligning Their Positioning With Hispanic Cultural Traits

September 2022

Based on a CultureRate analysis of more than 250 brands, Collage Group identified the top ten brands that resonate with Hispanic consumers, and why. These brands showcase two elements for success: 1) strong commitment to the Hispanic community and 2) excellence in marketing executions that authentically resonate with the cultural traits and needs of Hispanic consumers. Our members activate on these learnings in a variety of ways, including investing in trusted grassroots community organizations, and developing high-touch immersive experiences that drive critical interaction. Hispanic consumers are loyal shoppers and will back brands that are proven advocates.This

Other Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

David Evans
Chief Insights Officer

David serves as the Chief Insights Officer responsible for content, data science and innovation. He is passionate about creating the critical insights that can transform the fortunes of our members, informing how we create an unparalleled member experience with our products, and build great places to work.

Get In Touch.

There's a world of Data Insight Opportunity just for you

Start 2023 Strong with New Diverse Consumer Insights
We are incredibly excited to enter the new year with our biggest plans yet for expanding the depth of our cultural intelligence–all centered on helping you thrive in our transformational environment.

December 21, 2022
David Wellisch – CEO and Co-Founder

You’ll see an increased focus on the three core integrated research streams that feed our platform: the Cultural Fluency of brands and ads, the cultural profiles of diverse segments and their category, shopper, and media needs. This work aims to give you an even more expanded view of your core and target consumers, deeper insights into how your brands and ads stack up to your competitors, and analytics to identify the trends most likely to result in consumption changes in your category.

Amidst challenging economic circumstances, Collage Group is pleased to be a relied-upon resource that enables brands to access necessary insights through one comprehensive platform.

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.

Brand & Ad Performance

How the Best Ads & Brands Drive Cultural Fluency

To build loyalty, brands must move beyond generic activations. Discover new studies that offer an analysis of top performing ads and brands in our CultureRate database for Black, Millennial, and LGBTQ+ consumers that are proven to affect your ROI. Other segments will be addressed throughout the year.

Measure Ad and Brand Cultural Fluency with CultureRate

Collage Group members receive one complimentary ad and brand submission per year to measure Cultural Fluency and inform future creative content. This is imperative if you want to position your brand values to truly connect with diverse America. Join Collage Group as a member and take part in this review of your brand and marketing!

Consumer Cultural Traits

Win the Attention of  New-ish Parents to Drive Growth

Parents of younger generations are at peak expenditures – do you know how to capture that market share? In this study, we’ll investigate the motivations and behaviors of parents of kids under 5 years old. Brands will learn how to increase trust and relevance with this important and evolving segment.

Drive Brand Relevance with Consumer Cultural Traits

Our Consumer Essentials research provides key cultural values and traits brands must understand to authentically connect with diverse segments, specifically the motivations toward purchasing decisions. For 2023, we’ll include year-over-year data when relevant and novel activations across all diverse segments.

Deep Dive into Key Demographic Insights to Size Your Brand’s Opportunity

Join us as we analyze the most recent demographic data from the U.S Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. We’ll cover key topics like population growth, immigration, household makeup, income, and spending shifts.  Don’t miss this chance to understand the numbers behind the majors cultural and demographic shifts taking place in America!

Steps to Make Your Brand Matter to Parents of America’s Diverse Teenagers

Do you know what matters most to parents of today’s teenagers? Discover all new insights for the parents of the cohort that’s going through the most crucial formative years, gaining spending and decision-making autonomy, and actively looking for brands that share their values and sensibilities.

Category & Product Insights

Build Trust with Americans in the Health and Wellness Space

Take a continued exploration of consumer health and wellness attitudes and behaviors. Brand-new webinars and research will cover consumer health behaviors, barriers, and support and improvement requests, among other topics. Up first: a deep dive into how LGBTQ+ consumers and consumers across genders are changing.

Boost Brand Fit Within Your Category

Category-specific insights are crucial to your marketing strategy, and our offerings in 2023 will be no different! Join us for studies covering category drivers, changing channel behavior and—when relevant—the impact of innovative substitutes across a multitude of categories, including Alcoholic Beverage, Personal Care, and Apparel in Q1 and many more to follow.

Other Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

David Wellisch

David Wellisch
CEO and Co-Founder

David Wellisch is CEO & Co-Founder of Collage Group, a consumer insights and intelligence company with a focus on research exploring race/ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender. Since the inception of Collage Group in 2009, David has led the company through growth, now serving more than 200 brands in across 15 industries. David is passionate about entrepreneurship and company building, and often works directly with members to help guide the integration of multicultural consumer insights and marketing strategies.

Get In Touch.

There's a world of Data Insight Opportunity just for you

Holiday Shopping and Younger Multicultural Consumers
Rising prices are affecting Americans’ shopping behaviors in a variety of ways. Despite financial challenges, holiday shopping remains a priority for many younger Multicultural Americans.

December 14, 2022
Sudipti Kumar – Associate Director

Inflation is a pressing concern for most Americans today. This summer, Collage Group launched an urgent initiative into consumer attitudes and behaviors related to the present economic situation. More recently, we followed up to better understand how rising prices may be affecting younger Multicultural Americans’ shopping preferences during the holiday season.

Key Insight #1

Overall we found that despite the backdrop of financial challenges, most younger Americans will be spending the same or more this holiday season. This is particularly true of Black Americans’ who are also the least likely to have made changes to their shopping behaviors due to rising prices across a variety of categories.

Key Insight #2

For those younger Americans who do plan to spend more this holiday season, the main reason is that they have more money to spend. Asian and White Americans are more likely to have more people to shop for on their gift buying lists.

Key Insight #3

For those Younger Americans who are spending less this holiday season, it’s not surprising that having less money to spend tops the list of reasons why they are spending less followed closely by the higher costs of gifts this year. Hispanic and Asian Americans are more likely to be saving for a bigger purchase than other segments.

So what can your brand do to support shoppers this holiday season?

    1. Offer value driven strategies that can help Americans spend “smart”. Expedited shipping for free or at a low cost and price-match guarantees are two examples of helping consumers who are feeling the effects of inflation but still want to shop during the holidays.
    2. Convert new customers who seek out your brand for the first time to brand loyalists through a strong customer relationship management strategy.
    3. Offer sales and discounts throughout the month of December to appeal to the many shoppers who take advantage of the whole month (and the steep discounts right after) to buy their gifts.

Other Multicultural Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

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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There's a world of Data Insight Opportunity just for you

Top Ads From 2022 That Resonate With Younger Black Consumers

In a recent Collage Group study, we analyzed more than 80 commercials in order to determine which advertisements resonated the best among younger Black consumers aged 18-42.

December 13, 2022
David Evans – Chief Insights Officer

The analysis assesses ad performance using the Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient, or the A-CFQ. The A-CFQ measures consumer sentiment across four key dimensions. These include Brand Fit (the ad fits the brand), Relevance (the ad is for people like me), Message (the ad has an important message) and Enjoyment (the ad is enjoyable to watch).

The study was concentrated on adult Gen Z and millennials of all racial backgrounds. Collage Group refers to these as “New Wave” consumers. They have become a powerful buying force, and they also reveal preferences predictive of future marketing performance.

The findings show that New Wave Black consumers gravitated the most to 10 ads from these brands: Band-Aid, Dove, two ads from Walmart, Air Wick, Target, Silk, Snickers, Little Caesars, and Folgers.

Younger Black Americans who make up the Gen Z and millennial demographic were inspired by these 10 spots. While consumers were drawn to each advertisement for different reasons, jointly every one of these commercials connected with Black consumers through an engaging, authentic message.

Achieving a high score on “Message” is a distinguishing feature of all the ads deemed to be considered one of the top 10.

Most of the leading commercials prominently feature Black actors and actresses. Featuring these actors emphasizes the significance of representation in advertising for brands seeking to connect with the Black demographic.

When Black consumers witness authentically drawn Black actors in an ad, they are then inclined to take notice. Brands therefore should make note of that insight and use it to connect with these consumers.

For Black New Wavers, 49% say that it is important that commercials show people of their race or ethnicity, compared to 34% of non-Black New Wavers.

Brands are paying attention, and as a result, companies are enhancing how they represent multicultural people in their commercials. In general, Black Americans support companies who they view as loyal or as allies. To that point, 80% of Black Americans are more likely to go out of their way to purchase items from brands and companies that publicly support Black people and Black causes.

Out of all of the mentioned ads, five of the top 10 speak directly to being supportive of the Black demographic. Marketers recognize that young Black consumers expect brand support and in return, these buyers will respond by purchasing that brand’s products.

A commercial from Dove – the number two ranked ad for Black consumers in the study – brings an endearing message about a young Black girl encountering hair discrimination. After facing race-based hair discrimination throughout her childhood, she asserts that she will fight against the bias as an adult.

The spot turned out to be quite popular among young Black consumers, as 75% of Black New Wavers say they would react to the commercial on social media. A large majority of Black New Wavers, 71%, said they would discuss the ad with others, and 39% think that the best parts of the ad are the people and the characters.

The Dove commercial is successful at reaching the strong desire among Black New Wavers to “live their lives authentically,” which includes how they present themselves. It also scores high among this segment because of its focus on being real, and true to oneself, which drives Relevance and Message.

Moreover, it is essential that brands understand the possible negative ramifications of failing to market toward certain groups.

A portion of Americans say they will no longer use or buy from a brand whose advertising lacks racial and ethnic diversity. So, with Black Americans for example, this would mean by not targeting them, a brand is potentially losing 13 million Black customers.

The takeaway for brands is to appreciate that Black consumers do indeed reward those brands and companies that speak authentically to various Black group traits and cultural passions.

For brands looking to better engage with young Black consumers, they should take four steps:

    1. Explicitly show support for the Black community in ways that align with your brand’s functional benefits to drive a deeper sense of authenticity. High scores on Message (“This ad has an important message”) is a distinguishing feature of the best ads.
    2. Align your ad theme around the Black segment’s distinctive Group Traits.
    3. Feature key Black segment Passion Points in an authentic and natural manner.
    4. Don’t overlook the value of humor to connect with Black Americans.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can drive authenticity and engagement among diverse consumers with access to our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

Other Black Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

David Evans
Chief Insights Officer

David serves as the Chief Insights Officer responsible for content, data science and innovation. He is passionate about creating the critical insights that can transform the fortunes of our members, informing how we create an unparalleled member experience with our products, and build great places to work.

Get In Touch.

There's a world of Data Insight Opportunity just for you

Differentiating and Winning Younger Multicultural Consumers with Culturally Fluent Ads

Whether you are targeting across all consumer segments, working to resonate with multicultural consumers generally, or targeting a specific race or ethnicity, our on-demand research presentation covers the bases on what works and why in ads–and provides examples from the brands that are winning in each case.

December 9, 2022
Victor Paredes – Executive Director of Cultural Strategy

CultureRate:Ad provides a one-stop solution for our members’ mounting need for a comprehensive, ongoing analysis of the cultural fluency of their ads. In combination with its sister product, CultureRate:Brand, CultureRate: Ad helps brands become more culturally fluent, a capability crucial to future growth as American consumers become more responsive to multicultural themes, representation, and stories.

Fill out the form for our on-demand webinar and downloadable research deck.

At Collage Group, we measure the Cultural Fluency of ads by gauging consumer sentiment across key dimensions: Brand Fit, Relevance, Message and Enjoyment. These dimensions are weighed and combined to create the Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient (A-CFQ) score. The A-CFQ score gives members crucial insights into their brand’s resonance across multiple consumer segments, as well as where to focus strategies for improvement. The measure was designed to optimally balance cultural resonance with predictive power to drive brand favorability.

In our latest research, we call out key lessons from winning brands and ads to guide you as you plan your marketing campaigns into 2023. CultureRate:Ad data analyses convincingly reveal that culturally fluent advertising featuring a specific segment can and will resonate across broader audiences if done in an authentic, relatable way.

As you engage with young multicultural consumers through your cross-cultural advertising, our key takeaways and action steps include:

    1. Provide consumers with relief and release driving Enjoyment in a natural and organic manner to your brand essence.
    2. Lead with rich and purposeful inclusion of multicultural protagonists or celebrities to drive Relevance and Brand Fit. Backlash is very low when inclusion is intentional.
    3. Champion authentic, honest, and fluid self-expression to amplify Brand Fit and Relevance with consumers.
    4. Elevate music to a character that imprint the brand’s intent driving Relevance and Enjoyment.
    5. Highlight the cultural value of specific category needs ensuring Message importance.

Watch the on-demand webinar for more examples of executing on each action step.

Don’t get trapped by the false “trade-off” that implies investment in culturally targeted ads for specific segments comes at the expense of general market impact. Winning brand leaders now understand that culturally targeted ads can leverage powerful halo effects that can reach the general market without compromising segment-specific nuance. Use CultureRate to take control of your message and learn how to tell culturally authentic stories that work with all segments.

Contact us to learn more about how you can drive authenticity and engagement among diverse consumers with access to our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

Other Multicultural Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Victor Paredes
Executive Director of Cultural Strategy

Victor Paredes, Executive Director of Cultural Strategy, is a successful marketing and advertising executive leader with proven experience in building practices that drive brand equity, sales, traffic, and qualified leads. His marketing experience spans sectors such as entertainment, hospitality, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and direct to consumer services. Throughout his career, Victor has led multidisciplinary teams of strategy, digital, media, promotions and public relations experts in building effective integrated marketing platforms. Today, Victor brings keen cultural competence to creative storytelling and leadership in a multicultural America.

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American Teenagers: How to Authentically Engage
Are you effectively engaging teenagers, one of the youngest, most diverse, and tech-savvy consumer segments in America? 

December 5, 2022
Katya Skogen – Director, LGBTQ+ & Gender Insights

Do you know how teens’ behaviors and attitudes compare to the mindset of older Gen Z and the rest of the U.S. population? If not, then you are missing an opportunity to connect with the cohort that’s going through the most crucial formative years, gaining spending and decision-making autonomy, and actively looking for brands that share their values and sensibilities. Keep reading to learn more about how Collage Group can help you win over teens now.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
American Teenagers: How to Authentically Engage presentation.

American Teenagers - How to Authentically Engage

There are currently more than 25 million teens in America. Brands have an exciting opportunity to connect with these consumers who are making more independent spending decisions for themselves and even influencing some family shopping choices along the way. But since teens are among the most diverse cohorts of Americans to date, the goal of authentically connecting with them is becoming increasingly hard to attain. To fully capture the attention of today’s teens, organizations must learn to speak their language fluently, follow their lead into the digital spaces they inhabit, and better understand their priorities, hopes, and dreams.

Collage Group offers organizations the insights they need to fully understand today’s teen consumers and how they differ across race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual identity on important issues and topics — at both the consumer and category levels. This presentation dedicated to teens provides insights and inspiration for organizations looking to better understand and appreciate their teen audiences. Watch this webinar replay and download the PowerPoint presentation to explore:

    • External and internal drivers that shape teens’ values and behaviors
    • Their media and entertainment preferences with a special focus on social media and gaming
    • Teens’ decision-making and priorities in several product categories, including apparel, footwear, personal care, skincare, and beauty.

Several key findings and next steps from this presentation include:

Key Insight #1: Today’s teens are coming of age with an expectation of greater diversity in all aspects of life. They emphasize individuality, appreciate cultural differences, and prioritize staying true to who they are.


The demographic shift to a majority multicultural society, the rise of non-traditional households, and a more open discourse around sexual and gender identity recalibrate the lens through which today’s youth see themselves and others. Teen girls and LGBTQ+ teens have especially high hopes for brands to commit to better representation of people of all backgrounds in marketing and advertising.

 Action Steps:

    • Reflect America’s growing diversity in your advertising. Start working now to win and build relationships with teens by learning to connect with culturally diverse Americans.

Key Insight #2: Many teens are keenly aware of the issues poised to shape their current and future reality. They are compelled to act and many will reward or punish brands for the social stances they choose to take.


While they are still in the early stages of life and lack tangible political power, game-changing teens feel the urgency to actively advocate and take charge of their futures. They are concerned about many important issues of the day: from racism and gun violence to women’s rights and abortion laws. Many perceive adults as inert, and the decision-makers as completely disconnected from the views of future generations of Americans. Armed with instant and constant access to news and via social media, teens feel an even greater urge to act.

 Action Steps:

    • Look for opportunities to be an ally to these young Americans. But to earn trust, engage in issues that are authentically aligned with your brand values.

Key Insight #3: These young Americans expertly navigate the rapidly shifting tech and media landscape. They enjoy crafting a unique digital culture, but they struggle with the mental toll of social media use.


Today’s teens are true digital natives. Digital media plays a key role in teens’ lives: For example, social media is both a creative and learning outlet while gaming is as much about social connection as it is about pure fun. Teens, especially Asian and LGBTQ+ teens, are used to being “always online.” But many also crave IRL (in real life) interactions. This dichotomy puts the need to balance and reconcile the images they project online and IRL in sharp focus, further exacerbating their concerns about how they present themselves to the world and the pressure they feel to impress.

 Action Steps:

    • Create consistent and coherent brand experiences across channels — both online and IRL. Deepen brand connections by tapping into their interests offline and in person.
    • Connect with teens in culturally relevant and specific ways but beware of the risk of alienating this segment by demonstrated lack of fluency or by trivializing teens’ digital culture.
    • Model and encourage authenticity to cultivate genuine connections and mitigate the negative effects of social media on teens’ mental health.

Key Insight #4: Despite their relative youth, teens are actively making personal purchase decisions. They do extensive research before purchase: referencing multiple sources, including customer reviews and influencer recommendations.


Teens highly value their individuality and get creative in curating their looks to reflect their personalities. This is especially true for Black and Asian teens who express their personalities through elaborate and intentional style choices. But it’s also driven by the pressure they feel to keep up their appearance for fear of judgment. How they look bears on their day-to-day confidence.

 Action Steps:

    • Offer a variety of unique items to inspire teens to experiment with their style and express their individuality.
    • Provide comprehensive information and assistance — in-store and online — to help teens navigate the purchase process.
    • Utilize guided selling tools and user-generated content to create more personalized recommendations.

Other Gen Z Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Katya Skogen

Katya Skogen
Director, LGBTQ+ & Gender Insights

Katya leads Collage Group’s LGBTQ+ and Gender research. Her other interests include multicultural segments as well as consumer behaviors and attitudes in the context of media, technology, food and beverage, and retail industries.

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Understand and Embrace Generational Consumer Media Habits and Channels
Learn how Americans across generations engage with media, including social media, movies, TV shows, music, reading, and podcasts.

November 28, 2022
Giana Damianos – Senior Analyst, Syndicated Research

Media is a major aspect of consumers’ everyday lives. Americans spend a significant amount of their time and attention consuming social media, visual entertainment, and audio streaming content. For brands and advertisers across industries to succeed, they need to understand where people are going to consume media content, and why they’re going there.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
Generational Consumer Media Habits & Channels presentation.

Collage Group’s 2022 Media Habits and Channels Study provides insights across generations on the specific platforms American media users go to, their media habits, and their preferences for media content. The data dives deep into content and platform drivers—spanning categories, passion points, and identity attributes.

Key Findings: Social Media

    • All Generations, with the exception of Boomers, use a wide variety of platforms, and they tend to be always ‘on’.
    • This high social media use comes at a cost, Gen Z worries most about the impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing and becoming addicted. All generations have concerns for their privacy and safety.
    • Social media functions as a portal to other media, especially for younger generations.
Primary concerns about use of social media


Social media is both friend and foe for consumers today. It is a powerful enabler of connection across generations – on the younger end, it provides ways to find community and make new friends, and on the older end it’s a powerful way to reconnect.

But there are downsides too – younger generations feel the pressure of constant comparison that social media forces upon them, and consumers of all generations worry about safety and security.

 Action Steps:

    • Provide ways to mediate the mental and emotional effects of being online.
    • Facilitate meaningful connection by encouraging authentic self-expression.
    • Utilize the power of social media as a discovery engine for other types of media – like new music and shows to watch.

Key Findings: TV & Movies

    • Most generations watch TV shows via online streaming platforms, but for Boomers, watching live TV is still most common.
    • Generations also vary when it comes to what they watch – younger generations show a preference for comedy, whereas older generations show a preference for tv news and action/adventure movies.


The proliferation of mobile devices has driven demand for streaming platform subscriptions among younger consumers. The accessibility of smart phones, tablets, and laptops offers younger generations the opportunity to stream content on the go.

Further, younger generations’ changing tastes align better with what streaming platforms offer, compared to Boomers who still highly favor news and sports, which are better suited to live TV.

 Action Steps:

    • Find and attract different generations of TV and movie viewers by understanding, and activating, based on where and when they are viewing:
      • Maintain advertising presence across TV formats, but understand that while Boomers may be watching TV more, their viewing is more passive.
      • Meanwhile younger generations are watching more via streaming platforms, but may have shorter attention spans for ads

Key Findings: Music

    • Music is a top passion point for younger consumers. The majority of Gen Z and Millennials would rather listen to music than watch TV.
    • Music is popular across generations for its ability to provide comfort and diversion while multitasking.
      Across Generations, consumers embrace the human element of music – and enjoy creating playlists themselves and sharing musical tastes with others.
47% of Americans would rather listen to music than watch TV


Music is a powerful comfort – and a powerful connector – across generations, but this is particularly true for Gen Z, a generation that craves human connection and relief from stress and anxiety.

Younger generations are passionate music fans overall, but while Gen Z tends to consume music more passively, their Millennial counterparts are more active in their passions – and like to go out to shows or live music venues.

 Action Steps:

    • Embrace the human element when selecting and promoting music – from showcasing artists stories to background on lyrics
    • Lean into options for music to be both passive and active, depending on consumer needs. For example, create task specific playlists to help consumers as they multitask, or interactive playlists for when music is the main focus.

Key Findings: Reading & Audiobooks

    • Most Americans enjoy reading – but we see significant variation by generation when it comes to format. Millennials are much more likely to consume audiobooks, and are also the most likely generation to embrace digital books.
    • Reasons for reading also vary significantly by generation. Gen Z reads as an escape, whereas older generations read to relax and to learn.
List of reasons why one reads for pleasure


Life stage and generational values play a big role when it comes to each generations reading style, as well as reasons for reading.

Millennials are often on the go, which is reflected in their penchant for consuming audiobooks as well as digital books that don’t require lugging around their reading material of choice.

The high stress and high pressure that Gen Z faces on a day-to-day basis are reflected in their desire to read as an escape, whereas Boomers entering retirement and looking for new passions are more likely to use reading to learn and to explore new topics.

 Action Steps:

    • Reach on-the-go Millennial readers through on-the-go media – audiobooks and e-readers.
    • Show an understanding of why readers are reading – for Gen Z and Millennials, this means giving them an escape, whereas for older readers, this might mean showing knowledge or skills gained through reading.

Key Findings: Podcasts

    • Podcasts are particularly popular with Millennials, many of whom listen while commuting or otherwise on the go.
    • Consumers across generations are drawn to podcasts for different reasons – Boomers are most likely to say they want to learn something or lean into a passion, whereas Gen Zers look for laughs and stories.


Millennials have become synonymous with “hustle culture” – and it’s this desire to always be learning, doing, or leveling up, paired with a particularly busy life stage, that contributes to their affinity for podcasting.

Boomers, on the other hand, are entering retirement and many are looking for continuous education opportunities, or simply to learn more about new passions, which we see reflected in the types of podcasts they listen to.

 Action Steps:

    • When developing podcast marketing, consider the context and outcomes your target audience hopes to gain from listening in.
    • For example, orient Millennial targeted ads around added value or information.
    • But if targeting Boomers, focus on teaching about products tied to hobbies or other interests.

Other Digital & Media Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Giana Damianos
Senior Analyst, Syndicated Research

Giana joined Collage in 2019 from Indiana University, where she studied economics, political science and psychology. In her spare time, Giana is getting to know Washington DC and its historic architecture.

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The New Marketing Imperative: How Brands Win by Navigating Diverse America’s Evolving Priorities

In 2022, increasing polarization on social issues revealed that America’s cultural divisions are likely here to stay. Further, it has become clear that conventional wisdom is no longer reliable, particularly in regard to where various segments stand on social matters. 

October 3, 2022
David Evans – Chief Insights Officer


Collage Group’s Virtual Annual Member Roundtable is Thursday, Nov. 3 from 1 – 4 p.m. ET

National events are reshaping many of the priorities and perspectives of Americans in unexpected ways. The upshot is that brands may miss the mark if they assume embracing diverse segments requires aligning around a specific activist or political point of view.  

To navigate this minefield, it’s necessary to deeply understand where America’s diverse consumers stand on these issues and how they respond to brand activism. 

CMO Panelists

Francesco Lagutaine
Chief Marketing Officer

Michael Smith
Chief Marketing Officer

Gary Osifchin
Chief Marketing Officer & GM, US Hygiene

Here are some highlights from our agenda. Download the full agenda.

America Now 2022: Harnessing American Identity to Navigate Social Issues

Our Keystone presentation, America Now, will reveal Americans’ stances on major issues including race relations, abortion, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, and challenges with personal finances and inflation. Throughout this presentation, we will go deeper than ever before, addressing if and how Americans want brands to respond to these social issues. 

The core of our research unveils how diverse consumer segments respond to the central ideas that have driven marketing for decades, such as the belief in the American Dream. In a time of radical cultural transformation, learn how brands can activate diverse segments with these core ideas in flux.

CultureRate Ad and Brand Performance: Engage Diverse Consumers with Lessons in Cultural Fluency

In this section of the Roundtable, you’ll access insights learned from our proprietary CultureRate database as we reveal new learnings into how your brand can differentiate and win across the diverse consumer spectrum.

Whether you are targeting across all consumer segments, working to resonate with multicultural consumers generally, or targeting a specific race or ethnicity, this research covers the bases on what works and why in ads–and provides examples from the brands that are winning in each case.

Our team calls out key lessons from winning brands and ads to guide you as you plan your marketing campaigns post- mid-term elections and into the new year.

CMO Panel: Succeeding Amidst America’s Cultural Divisions

Collage Group members have thought deeply about how to successfully navigate America’s cultural divisions that are likely here to stay. In this panel discussion with Chief Marketing Officers from America’s iconic brands, including M&T Bank, NPR and Reckitt, you’ll hear directly from them about the actions they are undertaking in marketing and insights strategy to successfully navigate the new social landscape.

Don’t miss this chance to learn how to navigate the challenge of connecting with diverse American consumers–across race, ethnicity, generation, sexual identity, and gender. Reserve your spot today!


Other Recent Research Articles & Insights from Collage Group

David Evans
Chief Insights Officer

David serves as the Chief Insights Officer responsible for content, data science and innovation. He is passionate about creating the critical insights that can transform the fortunes of our members, informing how we create an unparalleled member experience with our products, and build great places to work.

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Gen Z Passionate About Travel, Eager to Explore the World

The desire to travel is a key interest among the majority of Generation Z consumers, with more than half (60%) stating they have a strong urge to travel the world, according to new research from the cultural intelligence firm, Collage Group. This generation’s urgency for travel exceeds that desire of the older Gen X and Boomer generations by nearly 15%.

August 2, 2022
Quintin Simmons – Public Relations & Communications Manager


The recent study, titled “Gen Z Passion Points,” notes that Gen Zers have had a great wealth of exposure to the world via the internet and this likely contributes to their wish to journey. Moreover, this generation is digitally native – the internet has been around literally for their entire lives – so they have been exposed to distant parts of the globe at an earlier age than any previous generation.

Fill out the form to download an excerpt from the presentation and read on for further insights.

“This virtual access to the world, to other cultures, at such a young age, has fueled an expectation that they will be able to see and experience these places and cultures firsthand, says Natalie Griffith, Director of Product & Content at Collage Group. “Not only does Gen Z want to travel to various locales, but they would like to take these trips in the very immediate future.”

And a quick getaway or merely crossing state lines is not the hope. The Passion Points study reveals that for Gen Z, international travel is the overwhelming favorite when paired against domestic travel, as 55% of the segment said they would prefer to go abroad vs. vacation in the States. For younger Gen Zers, those ages 13 to 17, the yearning to travel internationally is even greater at 61%. This contrasts with the other generations who may want to travel too, but not to the extent exhibited by Gen Z.

Another interesting comparison regarding Gen Z travelers and those from other age groups, is the reason why they travel. Amongst other older generations, traveling for pleasure usually involves leisure and time to unwind. But for Gen Z, traveling – in terms of a vacation – is driven by a desire for adventure or action. Fifty seven percent of Gen Z agrees that for them, a vacation consists of excitement, which is opposed to 57% of the total population who say they’re looking to relax when on a trip away.

“The Gen Z segment loves to vacation, but they don’t want to go away and simply soak up the sun,” says Griffith. “If they’re taking a trip, their preference is to explore; they’re planning an adventure.”

Again, younger Gen Zers are more intense than the older Gen Z cohort, as 67% of the younger segment says they seek excitement over relaxation.  

To that point, Gen Z is largely made up of people who are apt to stepping out of their comfort zone and abandoning their everyday routine. This proclivity enthusiastically comes across in their Passion Points, especially in respect to traveling. They pursue unique and unforgettable experiences.

In addition to that, Gen Z is also passionate about technology, including Instagram, TikTok and other social media. Thus, it is not surprising that the two passions – travel and technology – bridge seamlessly. Gen Zers commonly take trips or travel abroad with intentions of sharing their voyage on Instagram, posting pictures and photos.

Finally, food is another Passion Point among Gen Z and it too ties in with their zeal to move about and travel. Gen Zers frequently pick travel destinations solely to partake in the local cuisine. Seventy three percent of the generation reports selecting places to travel based on the food served there.

Gen Zers clearly have a deep appreciation for other cultures and environments. They tend to express their admiration for an area by visiting it. This generation likes to experience the possibilities and thrives in creating new memories.

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.


Other Recent Gen Z Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Quintin Simmons

Quintin Simmons
Public Relations & Communications Manager

Quintin Simmons is Public Relations & Communications manager at Collage Group. He has over two decades of journalism and communications experience, having written and edited for a variety of publications, and servicing as media rep for a number of national outlets. Quintin, a communications and media relations expert, is always looking to connect and engage with writers and reporters.

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