The Cycle

More on multicultural

In working on the April 27 cover story “Brands buoy multicultural efforts despite recession,” I spoke to many great communications professionals in the multicultural space. Too many to fit into the final piece.

There are many companies continuing in their efforts in the multicultural space, including General Mills and the California Milk Processer Board, which oversees Got Milk? and Toma Leche? in California.

“We realize that California is certainly a cultural melting pot, and we’re continuing to spend money where we see that it is most effective,” said Steve James, executive director of the California Milk Processor Board, which works with RLPR on multicultural outreach. “Sometimes that means shifting money from general market TV to Hispanic PR or other forms of communication. It has increased over the years as we’ve understood and gotten a grasp on what the Hispanic consumer means to us.”

RLPR also works with General Mills, which launched its “Breakfast with Juan Soler” campaign in October 2008, encouraging Hispanics to eat Honey Nut Cheerios, and pushing healthy heart messaging. The concentrated effort in this Hispanic community saw results.

“[We saw] a 35% gain in share for Honey Nut Cheerios,” said Kim Sundy, PR manager for General Mills, who works specifically on multicultural outreach. “For us, that is a wonderful example of how when PR leads the way, we are able to deliver measurable results for our business.” (More after break)

I also spoke to several professionals in the Asian-American space, including Jimmy Lee, VP at IW Group, who said the agency has been seeing “just as many RFPs on both corporate, as well as government side, as we’ve seen before [the recession].”

“The Asian community probably has not been affected by the recession, [as our] segment often has more conservative investors…[and] the most disposable income, compared to other ethnicities,” he said. “We’re seeing that as a sign that our market is still pretty vibrant and viable.”

Tanya Raukko, MD of InterTrend, agreed. InterTrend recently surveyed a group of Chinese- and Korean-American consumers about their spending habits during the downturn. While many Americans are now saving more and being more frugal, these habits are typical of Asian-American communities, even during robust times, leaving them in a better position during hardships.

“That translates into opportunity from the brand’s perspective,” Raukko said.

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