• Companies & Communities: Bridging the Gap


Finding your community’s unique flavor and incorporating it into your marketing plan can make your company stand out as a first-rate enterprise in the eyes of potential consumers.

We’ve all heard about targeting our consumer base, but what if the consumer speaks a different language? Small businesses often find themselves catering to a bilingual or multi-ethnic sector of their community. The challenge lies in reaching the consumer that occupies an under-represented portion of the overall community. It can be difficult to bridge cultural and linguistic gaps and appeal to those sectors that might turn into revenue sources. So, how DO you market your brand/product to someone who doesn’t speak the same language?

  • Do the research: find out what language people in your target audience do speak and pay attention to the cultural cues they exhibit (music, events, popular products, etc.) The Census Bureau can help break down population & business demographics, get started here.
    • Many research providers publish reports and guides that can help you accomplish your multicultural marketing goals. Need an example? Click here.
  • Identify the tools at your disposal: do any of your employees associate themselves with this group or speak that language? Are translation services offered in your community? What medium is most effective (print, online ads, radio, Social Media)?
  • Draft targeted messaging: once you’ve decided to add bilingual messaging to your marketing efforts, identified the appropriate second language, and contacted people or resources that can help you accomplish this, you can come up with a strategy.
    • Stay true to your company’s branding (colors, fonts, logos, etc.): just adapt your messaging for the people you are trying to reach
    • Bilingual messaging doesn’t have to bilingual: huh? Many larger ethnic groups have been in this country for generations. If your product is geared towards a younger demographic, bilingual messaging can just be an incorporation of common vernacular or cultural icons. If your target audience is older or more recently arrived, you might incorporate full messages in that second language.
  • Test it out: Not sure what works? Run a test campaign for an established period of time and ask for feedback from your employees, their friends, the hot-dog guy on the corner, and, especially, your Social Media followers.
  • Is the campaign not working? Change it. Listen to what people are saying – both in-person and online and give them what they ask for.
  • Keep track of customer trends: Once you’ve established a messaging scheme that works for you AND your community, never think about it again. Just kidding. Keep an eye on it. Populations and technologies change overnight, so stay abreast of the wave and ride it.

Need some visual aid? Check out these great examples set by companies that have jumped on the multicultural bandwagon: MetroPCS, Café Bustelo, State Farm, AT&T, among others.

Want more specifics on multicultural marketing? Stay tuned! We’ll be rolling out more blog posts on the topic in the coming months.

ThriveHive combines easy-to-use tools and expert guidance to help businesses stand out and get found online. Learn more about our guided marketing and advertising solutions here.

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