Thursday, December 11, 2008

DIVERSE COMMUNICATIONS

As cultural diversity is becoming acknowledged in Britain, organisations are increasingly taking an interest in communicating and marketing to diverse communities. However, there is a problem: How can they be reached? And paradoxically, in many cases they are branded as 'Hard to Reach' communities!
One of the reasons for the problems is that the traditional model of mass marketing is breaking apart as customers and audiences become more informed. Coke was a drink made in America but marketed to the world as the greatest drink on the planet. And it succeeded for a long time. However, that same company has diversified a lot today, and is even making soft drinks for diverse communities. In the UK, an ethnic owned fruit juice company called Rubicon, brough a whole new range of tropical fruit juices to the market, and now everyone is emulating them and they have in the process changed the taste buds of Britain. So what are the principles of 'diverse marketing'?
1. Try to learn about the different types of consumers and the way they shop or buy services.
2. Can you sell your existing products to them in a way that is sensitive to their needs? Can you find out what their needs are and adapt your products or services to suit them?
3. Diversity and creativity not only rhyme, but they are in truth deeply connected. Going back to the Rubicon example above, the founders brought creativity into the juice industry and shook up the whole industry in the process. Can you get staff or consultants from these communities to help your research and communications process? Can you build the intelligence of these communities and markets inside your own organisation? The new learnings will definitely help your existing processes as well.
4. In many cases, ethnic minorities operate through strong mutual bonds and communities. In the West, people often find it difficult to understand the depth of their loyalty and mutuality. There is a lot of social capital built in, and for those organisations working in the social or public education and welfare arenas, diverse communities can be a gold mine of information, wisdom and loyalty. To dismiss or ignore them is to loose a wealth of opportunity for personal and organisation growth.
5. The size and numbers of these groups vary, so do their locations. However, the new media and channels of communication such as the internet can be a tremendous boost here to reaching these progressive and tech savvy communities.

So take advantage of the opportunities diverse communities have to offer you as an individual and organisation. Connect with them and experience the joy.

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