NEW YORK: Kimberly-Clark, the multinational personal care company, is making diversity a key element of its marketing strategy, but their stories are aimed squarely at mainstream audiences, its multicultural marketing lead has said.

In an interview with eMarketer, Lizette Williams, Multicultural Marketing Leader for North America at Kimberly-Clark, explained that social media sites such as Latina Bloggers Connect have helped to make diversity issues mainstream.

And the company is capitalising on the power of social media to raise such issues by employing various monitoring tools to tune into what consumers are saying in real time.

This has helped it to create video campaigns "to tell the stories of real people, showing real acts of connection," she said, as she cited the Kleenex "Gesture of Care" campaign as a great example of the company's approach.

"These include stories of an LGBT couple who finally got the right to marry, a blind cellist who finally got the glasses he needed, a Navajo family who raised money to get clean water to their reservation, and a group of African-American students honouring their former chorus teacher", Williams explained.

She added that these videos are distributed via social media, mostly Facebook, but crucially they are not targeted at specific ethnic groups because they are aimed at mainstream audiences. "The engagement that we've seen has surpassed all benchmarks," she said.

"We always aim to reflect our consumers, which means thinking about who they really are throughout the entire strategic process, from beginning to end," Williams added.

"Nearly half of children and millennials in the US today are non-white or multiracial, so our brands such as Huggies, Kleenex and Kotex especially hinge on developing marketing programs that connect with those consumers."

She went on to say that one of the biggest mistakes some brands make when trying to reflect diversity in their messaging is to use language inappropriately.

"One of the big ones is using Spanish, or Spanish and English together, in the wrong way," she said. "Language can be an especially sensitive area, and needs to be integrated appropriately with cultural context. Consumers can tell when advertisers are being disingenuous or when they're being pandered to."

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional data by Warc staff