Writes ULSB’s Dr. Cristina Galalae, Lecturer in Marketing
Brands can play an important role in fostering inclusion in our increasingly diverse societies. 38% of the respondents to a recent survey conducted by Adobe, said that they are more likely to purchase products and services from brands that show diversity in their advertisements.
Our new research with colleagues in the Multicultural Marketplaces network shows that marketing practitioners who aim to promote inclusion and to curtail discrimination through branding and communication need to pay more attention to contextual specificities. For example, featuring various forms of cultural diversity in advertisements in the UK may contribute to a more inclusive society. But representing some forms of diversity in countries where the majority of the population opposes this, may translate into violence against the groups that we are trying to represent and include in the first place. Our work problematizes such complex scenarios noting that representations of cultural diversity do not always transfer across countries.
Results from our extensive review of marketing research and practice illustrate that various micro-social expressions of contexts – such as one’s specific racial background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, etc. – intersect differently across macro-social expressions of contexts – such as geographical, ideological, historical, and economic settings. This requires caution when it comes to representing different forms of cultural diversity across geographical spaces. It is therefore vital to understand contextual specificities when representing people with different cultural backgrounds in multicultural societies, where people, brands, ideologies, and meanings with different cultural associations co-exist.
To help with this, we have developed a guiding framework that marketing practitioners can use to equitably address all consumers in multicultural marketplaces without exclusion, restriction, or mistreatment. The framework helps to systematically unpack the forms of cultural difference that intersect in a given space, the socio-cultural structures that construct them, as well as influences from other geographical spaces made available via social and digital interconnectivity.
Our hope is that that our work will aid marketing practitioners to understand the realities of their consumers holistically and encourage more scholarship in the area of marketplace racism and discrimination.
Dr. Cristina Galalae is a Lecturer at the University of Leicester, UK and the Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion of University of Leicester School of Business.
You may contact Cristina at Cristina.email@example.com.
‘A Multicontextual Lens on Racism and Disrimintation in the Multicultural Marketplace’ is published in a new Special Issue of the Journal of the Association for Cultural Research that explores Racism and Discrimination in the Marketplace co-edited by Professors Samantha Cross (Iowa State University), Stephanie Dellande, (Menlo College in California) and Jerome Williams, distinguished professor of marketing at Rutgers University who passed in 2021.
The researchers contributing to this project are part of the Multicultural Marketplaces network: Cristina Galalae, University of Leicester; Eva Kipnis, University of Bradford; Charles Chi Cui, University of Westminste; Emma Johnson, University of Sheffield; Tana Licsandru, Queen Mary University of London; Lizetter Vorser, Aarhus University; Catherine Demangeot, IÉSEG School of Management; Carlo Mari, University of Molise, Veronica Martin Ruiz, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Chris Pullig, Baylor University; Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren, Baylor University.