As multicultural communications grow in importance, communicators need to move forward from "aspiration to more intentionality," says Byron Calamese, managing director of Zeno East for Zeno Group.
That takes addressing "the realities of resourcing, budget, representation, focus," Calamese tells Doug Simon. "And so that's a dynamic and shift that we are very focused on evolving across our industry because we know the importance and the changing demographics and climate of our world."
The changing demographics. Calabrese says, make the need for multicultural comms undeniable. "We will be a minority majority country by 2045. In order for your business to continue to grow, in order for you to continue to evolve as an organization, for many of our clients, we are very focused on how do you connect to diverse audiences in a very relevant way."
And just as those communications must address diverse audiences, they must also come from diverse sources within the industry. "It's not about one individual, one brand, one agency that's going to evolve the landscape. We really need to come together as a collective to put multicultural at the center of everything that we do from a comms and business standpoint."
One way that Zeno Group is doing that, Calamese says, is through its partnership with EGAMI Group, a woman-owned, black-owned multicultural agency. "We formed a partnership with them about a year and a half ago around a shared purpose to really elevate cultural competency and put multicultural at the forefront of comms."
An offshoot of that is a Zeno and EGAMI collaboration called the Multicultural Mandate, which surveyed 6000 Americans to get a better handle on the issues surrounding identity in today's society. "The real focus for us as we look at moving forward is focusing on what do individual groups value most and how does your brand ultimately fit into what they value."
And while Calamese is optimistic about the future of multicultural comms, he notes that ensuring a successful future will require a bit of a course change for the industry. "It requires the industry at large to really begin to think of multicultural and these audiences as not a bolt on, but as sort of core to when we think about consumer marketing of the future. Consumer marketing of the future is multicultural marketing."
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