To connect with audiences in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world, marketers must adopt a multicultural mindset when it comes to their creative.
Even if your brand only operates within a single country or region, chances are that this market is made up of a mosaic of different cultures. If you’re targeting multiple markets, this mosaic just becomes bigger. Your creative needs to reflect this.
The first challenge for any piece of ad creative is for it to resonate with audiences. To resonate, creative must be relevant. And for audiences to find an ad relevant, they need to see themselves represented. This is why multicultural creative is so powerful.
While the industry has come a long way on this topic, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. In a study conducted by Meta, 54% of people surveyed felt that they weren’t fully culturally represented in online advertising. In the same study, it was found that in more than 90% of campaign simulations, diverse representation was the winning strategy for ad recall lift.
This highlights that there is an opportunity for marketers to run stronger campaigns by making multicultural representation more of a priority in their creative strategy.
Let’s delve into some of the key considerations you need to be aware of in order to develop an effective multicultural creative strategy.
1. Develop an in-depth understanding of your audience(s)
The first step to creating truly multicultural creative is to make sure that you have a deep understanding of the different cultures that exist within your target market(s).
To authentically communicate to different cultures, you need to be aware of values, traditions, and sensitivities. Do the groundwork by conducting thorough research and using the insights that you derive to inform your creative strategy.
Here’s a sample of some of the cultural understandings that will prove useful when producing multicultural creative:
- Cultural Sensitivity: Be aware of potential cultural pitfalls or taboos that could inadvertently offend your audience. What might be acceptable in one culture could be inappropriate in another.
- Symbolism and Imagery: Use symbols, colors, and imagery that hold cultural significance to your target audience. These visual cues can create an instant connection and evoke emotions tied to their culture.
- Avoid Stereotypes: Stay away from clichéd representations that reinforce stereotypes. Aim for a nuanced portrayal that captures the diversity of the culture and avoids oversimplification.
- Humor and Tone: Be mindful of humor and tone, as they can vary widely between cultures. What might be humorous in one culture might not translate well in another.
Tip: The best way to improve your knowledge of a certain culture is by consulting and involving individuals and groups from within that culture.
2. Reflect your audience with diverse talent
As mentioned earlier, one of the key components of multicultural creative is representation. Representation leads to relevance, which in turn, leads to resonance. For this reason, your creative should feature diverse talent. In doing so, your ads will be more inclusive with audiences from different backgrounds feeling seen and valued.
This can either be achieved in the same piece of creative, or you can develop creative variations, with each showcasing people from different cultures. Your approach will depend on the type of campaign you’re running.
One thing, however, to keep in mind here is that diversity needs to be handled in a sensitive and genuine manner. Avoid tokenism by avoiding stereotypes, having balanced representation, and ingraining diversity in your processes on an ongoing basis.
Tip: Prioritize creators and user-generated content (UGC) over professional talent. This will help to further amplify your creative’s authenticity and relevance.
3. Localize your language
Perhaps the most obvious creative consideration when communicating with multicultural audiences is the language you use. Language is a broad category comprising your copy, voice-over, and overall messaging strategy.
Producing language localizations for your ad creative plays a pivotal role in breaking down communication barriers and fostering meaningful connections with diverse audiences. However, it's important to recognize that effective language localization goes beyond translation; it involves capturing the nuances, idioms, and cultural references that make messages truly resonate.
Connect with your audience through multicultural creative
Multicultural creative considerations should be central to any brand’s creative processes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a large multinational or a small local business – all audiences are made up of diverse cultures that should be represented and celebrated.
As an advertiser, this helps you to deliver ads that resonate with your audience due to the representation and relevance that promote.