Broad Street Licensing Group Food News

Does the Election Mirror Changing Consumer Demographics?

Now that the election is over, pundits everywhere are weighing in.

The GOP has been criticized as “out of touch” and “the party of old white men,” though the results can be spun in any number of ways, and will only become fully-apparent years from now. Still, many observers have insisted it was demographics more than message or economic policy that resulted in Barack Obama‘s decisive trouncing of Mitt Romney. A furious debate has broken out whether this “new” America will mean a permanent shift in politics and voting habits, or is as fleeting as the President’s “mandate” following the 2008 election.

One clear result is that minority constituencies have gained the attention of demographers and pundits of all stripes: Asians, women and especially Hispanics are all now seen as poised to extract a greater share of power in an America where whites are being overtaken by people of color and will be a minority themselves by mid-century. This blog, of course, isn’t about politics, so we have nothing to say on the political impact of any changes to the American populace, other than to hope that cooler heads on both sides of government will work together to solve some of the many significant problems facing our country both at home and abroad in a very dangerous world.

Marketers, though, certainly are sitting up and taking notice (if they haven’t already) of changing faces and cultures.

This blog has pointed out numerous times in the past, for example (click here) about the growing percentage of Hispanic Americans and how they are changing the way food & beverage manufacturers look at products, promotions and retailing. Whether it’s the proliferation of more and more “Hispanic-lite” items like Dulce de lece ice cream among the mainstream, or aggressive ethnic marketing by major CPG players like Proctor & Gamble‘s “My Black is Beautiful,” the non-white consumer is no longer ignored, left to specialty manufacturers or treated as an afterthought.

And this article in Adweek lays out the message pretty bluntly: multicultural marketing needs to move beyond “niche” and “specialty” status to a full-blown, fully-integrated component of core brand marketing. It’s not enough to put a black face in a commercial, or have a page on the company website for Spanish-language users, the article argues. It will mean re-thinking marketing to engage with a new consumer base that is more diverse and fragmented, that will mean a “one size fits all” marketing strategy will need to be replaced by one that understands the goals, habits and preferences of these new groups of Americans.

Welcome to the future. Ignore it at your own peril.

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