The holiday season is quickly approaching and brands across sectors are revving up their holiday planning. The holiday season is the peak revenue season for many brands which offers a unique opportunity to reach new audiences. But it’s tough to reach new audiences if your messaging fails to resonate and make a true impact. With 30 years of multicultural advertising experience, we know a thing or two about inclusive holiday advertising—and we have some tips for your upcoming holiday campaigns.
What is inclusive marketing? Salesforce put it well when they said, “Beyond diversity, truly inclusive marketing can elevate the stories and voices of people that have been typically marginalized or underrepresented, deepen connections with customers, and even influence positive social change.”
Here are 7 ways to make your year-end holiday advertising campaigns more inclusive—and more successful.
1. Tell real stories
Nothing is quite as compelling as real and personal stories. Stories are able to communicate values, build rapport, and influence audiences like no curated advertising message can. This is especially true when it comes to multicultural audiences. Our research has found that multicultural audiences are 13% more likely than the general population to try brands when the ads reflect their culture (source: Refuel Agency Multicultural Explorer 2021). And Etsy highlighted their understanding of this truth well in their 2020 holiday advertisement, “Shiori”.
In the ad, a girl named Shiori repeated the pronunciation of her name to the barista at Starbucks and to her teacher over Zoom, just for them to misspell and mispronounce it. At the end of the ad, Shiori opens a gift from her mother: a gold necklace that spells her name in large letters, from Etsy.
Etsy’s ad works because it first tells a real, inclusive story, demonstrates that they understand, and then thoughtfully presents a way that their brand can play a part in the story.
2. Avoid tokenism
It’s important to increase your representation and diversity in your holiday advertisements, but the key is to do that without falling prey to tokenism. What is tokenism, you may ask? Tokenism occurs when a small number of people from an underrepresented group are recruited to serve as a symbol of a whole and to give an illusion of diversity or inclusion.
Tokenism is particularly pronounced when brands haven’t woven diversity and inclusion into the very fabric of their brand in the past. Refuel Agency’s Multicultural Explorer 2021 found that only 40% (2 out of 5) of multicultural audience members feel that their ethnicity is portrayed accurately in advertisements.
The holiday content you produce shouldn’t be any different than your advertising campaigns all year round. Throughout the year, ensure that the content you produce and the campaigns you run are reflective of your audience.
3. Honor diverse traditions
Christmas is the most universally-celebrated holiday in the US, with 93% of Americans reporting to celebrate it, followed by Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. But the way that the holidays are celebrated varies from culture to culture, and family to family. What makes an inclusive holiday campaign stand out is one that can acknowledge and celebrate the diverse traditions that make up the fabric of the American holiday season.
A great example of this is Disney’s Christmas ad featuring a Filipino immigrant family. It authentically depicts cultural practices in the family and priceless relationships between a grandmother (or “lola”) and her granddaughter. The ad has been watched around the world, and applauded for its authenticity and storytelling.
Creative and authentic storytelling is a powerful force, and resonates strongly with members of the multicultural audience. We found that 61% of multicultural audiences pay attention to ads that reflect their culture, and two-thirds of Filipinos pay attention to ads that accurately reflect their culture.
4. Expand your media mix
While you may be able to reach a decent number of your target audience with your mass-media marketing strategy, if you want to reach multicultural audiences this holiday season, you’re going to need to mix up your media. Members of various multicultural audiences have different media consumption habits, advertising preferences, and language preferences than a mass-media audience. Understanding these differences will take your holiday campaigns to the next level by reaching audiences previously untapped by your brand.
Our research shows that not only does traditional media and print advertising cut through digital noise—multicultural audiences actually trust print advertising more than the general population. For example, 55% of Hispanic audiences are paying attention to print media, and Spanish-language print readers are 57% more likely than the general population to be heavy readers. Print media, in general, conveys a certain permanence, significance, and trustworthiness that is important to multicultural audiences.
Are you ready to get strategic and bold with your multicultural advertising campaigns? We’re the team that can help you do it. At Refuel Agency, we’ve been crafting multicultural marketing campaigns and delivering superior results for over 30 years. We’re dedicated to our craft and ready to help your brand. Contact us today to get started.