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Multicultural TV: Franklin Urges Marketers To Find Cultural 'Sweet Spot'

Smart marketers going after the growing markets of young multiculturals will use research and insights into how those people think about themselves and find the “sweet spot” in messaging that resonates. That was a lesson from Esther “E.T.” Franklin, executive VP and head of SMG Americas experience strategy at Starcom MediaVest Group, in a conversation opening the Multicultural TV Summit and Leadership Awards in New York City on Feb. 4.

Her interest in culture and identity led her to work on Beyond Demographics, proprietary research exploring the role of subculture in redefining broader communities. Those efforts started with research into African-Americans and then expanded to Latino, Asian-American and LGBT communities.

Take African-American women, for example. Depictions of “fly girls” and “playas” might work if you are selling music or fashion, Franklin said. But those archetypes, while true, only fit some 3% of African-American women, she said, meaning “there’s 97% of the community that’s underleveraged.”

Franklin describes her approach as going “inside-out”–discovering how members of an audience group see themselves, and using that intelligence about cultural identity and media consumption to create marketing that rings true to the people being targeted as consumers.

Dade Hayes, the Broadcasting & Cable executive editor who led the conversation with Franklin, mentioned the Super Bowl commercial that featured “America the Beautiful” sung in eight different languages and featuring people of different ethnicities. While the ad performed well overall, there was some “blowback” against the concept, Hayes said.

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