We all know that the United States is experiencing an unparalleled demographic shift, a shift of major proportions that affects everything — from media consumption and how we consume it, from food and beverage choices to beauty and health, from fashion and living trends to our ways of communicating with each other, both here and globally. But this shift also affects us on a level that questions who we are as Americans with this fusion and influences of cultures that make up the New America.
The old labels no longer apply, and that’s a good thing. Our culture is changing – it goes beyond, Cubans or Cuban-Americans, Puerto Rican or Puerto Rican-Americans, Mexican or Mexican-Americans. We are blending, changing, evolving into the new Americans.
It’s a cultural revolution, and marketers can no longer just change with the tide, they have to be ahead of the curve. The old days and ways of forecasting are over.
You have to be agile, fully integrated, and forward-thinking. To succeed you must be incubators of thought processes and ideas, and you absolutely must take a multicultural-centric approach to marketing.
When I first started this agency, a long-held dream, I recognized and embraced this evolving America and came up with the concept of the “New American Agency”. Positioned on the idea of total market planning, not only do we constantly consider that we live in a diverse nation, but it is built to capitalize on the opportunity marketers have to leverage an insight born from the multicultural audiences to help lead total market strategy and messaging.
As we have been saying, we are creating a framework for marketing to a pluricultural nation. But what does it mean?
The terms “bicultural” or “ambicultural” are descriptors that limit the influence on consumers’ mindsets, behaviors and lifestyles to two cultures; one being the culture of one’s ethnic heritage and the other being American. Pluricultural opens the sphere of influence to more than just one. In most cases, the primary influences are the native culture and that of American society. However, ideas from other cultures can and do also pique our interest and resonate with our mindset, and we may just adopt them as well. That’s exactly what’s happening in today’s New America.
A great example of this concept is one where a coworker of mine shared that his niece, who is third generation Puerto Rican living in Cleveland, recently celebrated her 15th birthday with a Japanese Animé themed quinceañera. The anchor cultural influence here was Hispanic, as she was celebrating a longstanding Latino tradition. But she reinvented it by adding a Japanese theme that is extremely popular with today’s youth. The American culture also played a role, through American pop music and non-Hispanic friends.
We live in a truly global society. And today’s digital world now facilitates these types of global influences, and we can expect to see them occurring more and more in the years to come.
It’s exciting. Times are changing at a rapid pace. When I first started in this business, I was but one of a handful of Latinas. It was not easy, but it was and is still rewarding. As I look around at this business now, I see Latinas from all nationalities represented, and they are working in all the many disciplines that make up our world, from account management to creative development, from media planning to social media, from communications to traffic.
But one overriding principle has dominated my life in this business. I recognized early on that leaders understand the importance of integration, agility, and the need to always meet, and think ahead of, client needs. But good leaders also realize that they can’t do it alone, and can’t always be the one to come up with the next great idea or concept. You have to build a team of thought-leaders from all disciplines, bring them together, and let them go at it to challenge each other in ideation and to see it through to flawless execution. Your job as a leader is to constantly challenge your circle of leadership to new and bigger heights. This is the only way that would allow us to continue being visionaries.