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Kimberly-Clark's multicultural shift

News, 11 May 2016
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HOLLYWOOD, FL: Kimberly-Clark, the personal care healthcare group, has seen success by moving from traditional multicultural marketing to an approach based around "marketing in the multicultural world".

Lizette Williams, Kimberly-Clark's Multicultural Marketing Leader/North America, discussed this process at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Brand Masters Conference in Hollywood, Florida.

"In the last four years, we've transitioned from multicultural marketing to marketing in a multicultural world," she said. (For more, including tips for other brands, read Warc's exclusive report: Kimberly-Clark heeds multicultural-marketing alarm.)

This shift has been encouraged by the seismic demographic changes taking place across America, and which offer major opportunities for brands attuned to consumer wants and needs.

"In the US we live in today, diverse cultures are influencing mainstream culture. The general market and the multicultural market have truly just become one," said Williams.

"We've come to realise that the general market is, in fact, multicultural," she continued. "This is a new America, and it requires fresh thinking."

This fresh thinking, in the first instance, demands adopting different mindsets – and, potentially, structures – in order to reframe the marketing framework.

"We've learned the importance of not taking a siloed approach and not making this an initiative that sits on the periphery, but really something that is well-integrated into the brands and the businesses," Williams said.

"But this isn't about a silver bullet. Nor is it about small, targeted programs that will engage diverse audiences on a small scale. What it really requires is understanding human insight."

Given the scope of the transformation needed in most organisations, perseverance and adaptiveness will be essential to deliver long-term success.

"I would love to say that everything we did worked out of the gate 100% of the time, but the truth is it didn't. There were some things that were wildly successful. Others required readjustments on our part," Williams said.

"We've learned that you need to check and adjust constantly … We're still in the middle of our journey and don't have it all buttoned up."

Data sourced from Warc

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