Recap: The Case for Culture in Marketing

“Build a culturally inclusive team. Empower team members to speak up.”
~L. Michelle Smith, 5 Keys for Winning with Cultures in Inclusion Marketing

The September AMA Wichita Luncheon was an eye-opening experience for many. L. Michelle Smith, CEO and Founder of No Silos Communications LLC, shared the case for culture in marketing. She explained and gave specific examples of how we as marketers are responsible for creating a narrative for our brand that resonates with all audiences.

She walked onto the stage with an intro by Run DMC that set the tone for the entire presentation. Her amiable disposition and booming smile helped everyone feel at ease and ready to learn.

She started with hard-hitting truths about the current mass-market. 1 in 2 children born in 2012 were of children of color (with this number continually growing), and by 2050, multicultural populations will be the majority. African Americans held $1.3 billion in buying power last year. Hispanics held $1.4 billion in buying power and are projected to hold $1.5 billion in buying power by 2020. All of this just goes to show if you are limiting your market, you are missing out.

Now, more than ever, we are connected to others across the globe through social media. Smith went on to describe how social media is “culture soup,” her coined term to describe the breadth and depth of the audience that mobile-social allows us to reach. With this wide-reach, there is always the risk for a marketing flop if diverse groups aren’t consulted on the marketing message.

So how do you avoid a marketing faux pas? Create a team comprised of varying backgrounds and give them the freedom to speak openly. If your team doesn’t currently reflect this, pull in others from teams across your organization early in a marketing concept. Building a culturally aware and diverse team can take time. Start where you can and include as many in the conversation as possible. Make sure everyone is allowed to speak! And when one person raises a red flag, see if you can work together to produce a new message.

Overall, L. Michelle Smith presented useful takeaways and practical tips that everyone can benefit from. Cultural awareness isn’t built in a day, but by opening up your team to new ideas and conversations, you will create inclusive, resonating marketing messages everyone will enjoy.

If you’d like to hear more from L. Michelle Smith, check out The Culture Soup Podcast®!

Sydney Runyan
BG Products, Inc.