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May 20, 2021

NBCUniversal, MAGNA, and Identity revealed Deconstructing Diversity Today, a new research study that explores the full spectrum of diversity, and the role that brands play in acknowledging and amplifying cultural identification. The study flips the script on outdated cultural archetypes, and reveals the multifaceted and fluid nature of how people identify today. The study also outlines tangible next steps that marketers can take to connect with multicultural audiences in authentic, culturally-relevant ways.

Deconstructing Diversity Today, reveals the true richness of polyculturalism, as people strongly identified with, on average, eight different communities. While heritage and culture serve as building blocks to identity, the study also demonstrated that culture today is in fact more fluid and incorporates the freedom to choose how individuals define themselves. In addition, nearly all respondents had a strong desire to learn about cultures beyond their own, ultimately allowing people to understand themselves better.

“In a time when consumers are feeling more overwhelmed than ever, content that reflects the rapidly-shifting nature of culture and identity – while also recognizing the increasing importance of intersectionality, diversity and equality – has a better probability of standing out of the clutter and winning the hearts and minds of consumers,” said Oscar Allaín, SVP of Cultural Research & Strategy at Identity, UM Worldwide’s cultural consultancy arm.

“This new study with our partners at MAGNA and Identity demonstrates NBCUniversal's continued commitment to investing in research that uncovers essential truths and insights about engaging with multicultural audiences,” said Yusuf Chuku, EVP, Client Strategy & Insights, Advertising and Partnerships, NBCUniversal. “The findings revealed today bring to life the fact that for multicultural consumers, their identities are rooted both in their heritage and culture, as well as their interests, their communities, and their desire to learn about cultures that are different from their own. Together, as an industry we have both an opportunity and an obligation to create stronger, more authentic connections with all people.”

Key findings from Deconstructing Diversity Today include:

  • Identity is not just driven by personal heritage, but also by culture, broadening the possible connection points for brands beyond race and ethnicity alone.

                              - 87% feel a strong attachment to multiple communities.
                              - 93% want to connect with cultures other than their own.

  • It’s crucial that brands recognize the multi-faceted nature of all people, as many don’t currently see themselves represented in media.

                              - Respondents consistently shared the desire to be seen as more than a single identifier.

                              - Lack of representation triggers lack of engagement - 33% reported not identifying with communities due to either a lack of media representation in general or inaccurate media representation.

  • Media serves as an important cultural connection point, by both sparking and satisfying cultural interests. This is particularly true for visual forms of media, such as video and social media, as opposed to non-visual media.

                               - Multicultural audiences are 4.6x more likely to rely on visual forms of media.

  • Brand involvement in satisfying cultural curiosities is an expectation regardless of race and ethnicity. Particularly, Hispanic and Black audiences responded with feeling strongly, with three-quarters expecting brand involvemen
  • Marketers have a clear opportunity to play an impactful role in cultural identification.

                               - 80% indicated representation in media as a way for brands to get involved, underscoring the potential influence in the hands of marketers.
                               - Ensuring authenticity was the most cited desire, and when done well, has the power to make people feel good.
                               - Ultimately, when brands do a good job in helping people connect with their identity, they are more open to messaging, driving the bottom line for brands.

Multiple research approaches were leveraged to complete Deconstructing Diversity Today, including qualitative and quantitative techniques featuring a large-scale survey of over 3,500 people, in-depth one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Specific steps were taken to ensure voices from diverse audiences could be accounted for, such as offering the survey in multiple languages, a moderator that identified as a key cohort, and booster samples for multi-cultural audiences, people who identified as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.

 

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