The Global US

Posted by: in Communication Strategy, Integrated Communications, Marketing Insights, Public Relations Practice on October 17, 2011

I don’t have to let you in on this secret, because you’ve known it for a long time. Businesses need global strategy, global reach, global expertise and global commitment in order to stay competitive. Of course, you also can’t forget about how much the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries will help drive worldwide economic growth over the next who-knows-how-many years. But is the US the elephant in the room?

We can’t doubt or downplay the incredible importance of global business. Yet as Europe struggles, China slows and the US economy sees a widening income gap affect our chances for a full economic recovery, have we forgotten about the global, multicultural US?

I’ve been thinking about just how global the US is since I heard a terrific piece by NPR’s Elizabeth Blair on the challenges of marketing beer to Hispanic Americans. I was surprised to learn that, according to Jim Sabia, the CMO for Crown Imports (the distributor of Corona and Modelo), Hispanic Americans are 19 percent more likely to purchase beer than the rest of U.S. consumers. They’ll also make up an ever-growing percentage of the drinking age in the near future. But some marketers have failed to realize the diversity in the first place and even the diversity that exists within the Hispanic American population itself. Take Corona, which featured an ad in 2008 called “Nuestro orgullo. Nuestra cerveza.” It translates to “Our pride, our beer.” But if you’re Honduran, or Columbian, or Dominican, it’s not your beer at all.

So what does this mean? To me, it should remind us of a few things as we think globally as marketers and communicators:

  1. Know your audience: When we think about how to write and communicate, will our messages resonate across a truly diverse US audience, or are we focusing too much on one group of people?
  2. Broaden your content: Is your content loaded with symbols, metaphors of colloquialisms that only make sense if English is your first language?
  3. Look for diversity: We have so much great diversity in the US and I believe our global, American community is hungry to engage with and participate in conversations with brands

Global is here to stay, whether it’s in the US or around the world, and it’s a great time to be communicators.

By: Adam P. Silverstein

Adam Silverstein is an Account Director with the W2O Group.

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  1. Good points Adam. Too many organizations ignore a huge potential market simply because they don’t know how to communicate with multi-cultural audiences. It’s more than just translating something into Spanish. It’s understanding if your message is culturally relevant to the audience you want to reach.

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