The Importance of Multicultural Marketing in Brands

by Sheila Brooks, Ph.D.

Brands are becoming increasingly focused on multicultural communities, making it an integral part of their marketing, advertising and public education campaigns. The reason is obvious. Multicultural consumers are the largest and fastest growing segment in the United States.

Multicultural marketing is also referred to as ethnic marketing or cross-cultural marketing and is the practice of connecting to an authentic cultural audience of a specific ethnicity.

Overwhelming statistics reveal the growth and spending power of ethnic markets. It is no longer a question of whether a brand should make multicultural marketing part of their brand strategy. It’s now a question of how to do it – recognizing the value add diversity brings to their organization’s bottom line and return on investment.

Minority populations account for about 37% of the total U.S. population, according to the 2010 Census. The three largest groups are African American, Hispanic and Asian. Statistics further show that the minority population will increase by one-third in the next 10 years and will become the majority by 2050.

In today’s marketplace, companies and brands must shift their general or total market to be more culturally relevant. Corporate executives must become more knowledgeable and understand better the consumer behavior and communication with underserved communities.

As multicultural communities increase in size and reach and as diverse institutions gain national prominence, the need for marketing and engagement is clear. Major corporations, governments, national non-profits, education institutions and other organizations must develop a strategy on how to build a marketing and advertising campaign with an authentic audience. These companies must integrate multicultural marketing into their strategy to continue to grow, reach and influence.

Where can I find out more about the subject?

Target Market News, The Black Consumer Market Authority. Register your email address to receive the daily delivery of the Target Market News Bulletin at News of breaking stories, exclusives, updates and headlines on the latest developments in African American marketing and media.

DIVERGE, the online destination for the new direction of advertising, communications, media and marketing, The weekly online publication presents a Dialogue on Diversity.

The Diversity Style Guide, ( -This guide, a project of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University, brings together definitions and information from more than two dozen style guides, journalism organizations and other resources. The guide contains more than 700 terms related to race/ethnicity, disability, immigration, sexuality and gender identity, drugs and alcohol, and geography.


Sheila Brooks is founder, president and CEO of SRB Communications, a full-service boutique advertising and marketing communications agency in Washington, D.C. She is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, and advocate for minority and women’s issues and small businesses. Dr. Brooks teaches multicultural marketing as an adjunct professor on the faculty in the Strategic Public Relations program at The George Washington University.