Going beyond Language; Using Word of Mouth and other High Context Strategies to Connect with Today’s Cross-Cultural Consumer

Marketing to the multicultural market today is no longer just a matter of language.

Cross-cultural marketing today requires an understanding of the different values and behaviors indoctrinated by cultural influence and how these variables affect cultures.

In order to connect with these “New Consumers”, marketers must understand the drivers and motivators that are fueling this mindset and develop campaigns that transcend culture. Multicultural strategy must go beyond adaptation and translation, beyond in-language marketing to marketing in-culture and in-context to deliver meaning and connect with the diverse multicultural audience.


Word-of-mouth, influencer marketing and experiential marketing, these are the strategies generating buzz in the marketplace today, so how can we use these effectively in the multicultural marketplace?


The dimensions of culture in the marketplace easily lend themselves to many of these principles:


“Beyond Guanxi”; Influencer Marketing
In collective societies Community outreach is the cornerstone of any marketing program allowing us to connect with influential community leaders as catalysts to target brand-loyal audiences. Once enrolled, these “Ambassadors” can then exert their own influence within their own social circles.


“Try it you’ll like it”; Experiential and Event Marketing
In high context cultures, providing an experience model that will get people talking is not the only goal. Sampling and Edutainment events are some of the best ways to reach out to a community that may not relate to the brand in the same cultural context:"If you're an immigrant who doesn't speak English or doesn't own a washing machine, you must show them how Tide meshes into their lives. Allow consumers to see, touch, smell and use the product with in-store demos or at community events. They love to test products. Offer them coupons . . . Don't describe to them how to use it in an instruction book or print ad."Bill Imada, president of the AAAF and chairman/CEO of IW Group.

“Correr la Voz” or “And she told two friends”; Using Word-of-Mouth
High context cultures such as Latinos, rely on word-of-mouth and familial or peer endorsement to gain knowledge on products and services. Collective communities place a strong focus on interpersonal relationships, therefore using Community and Amistad (Friendship) Networks and connecting with the extended family model which often includes close friends and colleagues can all be effective strategies for creating word-of-mouth, developing brand awareness and promoting endorsement.

These and other high context strategies allow us to use the language of cultural identity in order to connect directly with today’s multidimensional consumer regardless of language or acculturation level.


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