Our 2018 Blended speaker series hosted by CEO & Founder Lydia Michael came to an end on Tuesday, December 4th. Held at WeWork Campus Martius in Detroit, the topic was reflective of one of Blended Collective’s core values: authenticity. For the last panel discussion of the year, our conversation, revolving around reaching multicultural audiences authentically, attracted an audience of 45 business professionals, creatives and students.
Meet the panelists and host (left to right):
- Fares Ksebati, CEO and Co-Founder, MySwimPro
- Rajoielle “Raj” Register, Head of Growth Audience Marketing Communications, Ford Motor Company
- Wilson Santiago-Soler, Multicultural Campaign Manager, Quicken Loans
Fares, you’ve had the opportunity to travel all around the world with MySwimPro. Most of your consumers are based outside of the U.S. What strategies have you implemented to reach consumers in different countries authentically and successfully?
“At MySwimPro, we crowdsource our customer discovery, product development, and marketing strategy from a group of 1,200 active community members in a private Facebook group. This engaged group represents community members from over 60 different countries and offers incredible perspective that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We leverage the power of technology and social media to connect with and build our audience authentically through community challenges like World Swim Day, which saw participation from over 100 countries.”
Wilson, can you give us an example of how you’ve had to adapt your marketing for the Hispanic audience? How do you ensure you’re authentic in your reach without stereotyping?
“I like to focus on things that unite people. Not on things that differentiate us. For example, family and love. To reach the Hispanic audience, it requires more than linguistic elements and simply translating content. Many times, hispanics are pictured and limited to particular occupations, but this does not reflect reality. I really push to display our hispanic population with what would resonate with them. For example, young professionals in business settings wearing suits.”
Raj, how have you had to push for or embrace structural change in order to be able to focus on multicultural consumers, e.g. the African-American audience?
“We’ve really had to push for structural change internally, and also when working with all of our agency partners. We were shooting a campaign in LA recently and it took us several tries to perfect it to ensure it’s authentic. You really have to think about every detail, such as do we have an African-American hair stylist to best reflect the African-American audience? I think that regardless of the consumers’ culture though, it’s about how you’re targeting them, and how you’re speaking to them. Are you speaking a language that makes sense?”
Lydia, do you think it’s important to create micro-cultures? So if you have a group of Millennials, do you see a need to create further sub-groups?
“Certainly. When you take a group of millennials as an example, you see that due to their large age differences from the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s (almost 20 years), their behavior, interests and motivations significantly differ. When you add cultural differences, it only increases the importance of having to create subgroups in order to reach your audience more authentically and effectively.”
What does the word blended mean to you?
“When I first heard the name Blended Collective, I really liked it and was drawn to it. When I think of blended, it reminds me of cooking. Whenever I cook, I do not follow the recipe. I add my own spices like cumin, paprika, or pepper. They all create such a good taste when combined, but you’re still able to identify every spice on its own. They come together, but maintain their individuality.” – Rajoielle “Raj” Register
© Haintso Rakouth Photography for Blended Collective