Ulta Beauty, the retailer, has put a multicultural positioning at the heart of its strategy as it looks to better serve its target audience.

Karla Davis, Ulta Beauty’s senior director/integrated marketing communications and media, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference.

“We know that there’s a growth in multiculturalism. And we started looking at the multi-dimensionality of what diversity looks like,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Ulta Beauty serves multicultural audiences by facilitating self-expression.)

The process of exploration “actually unlocked even more opportunities … than we had ever thought about before” for the Bolingbrook, Illinois-based firm.

“There are so many underrepresented groups that want to be seen and want to be valued. If we were to reframe what it means to think about diversity, we needed to be always looking for those opportunities to connect with people differently,” Davis said.

It was a perspective that made considerable sense. Noted Davis, “These underrepresented groups are often the ones that spend more on beauty, spend more on services, and, in most cases, are way more passionate about beauty.”

And that notion, in turn, translated to a marketing posture where diverse groups “become central in everything that we do,” Davis reported.

“We are not doing our job if we are not addressing how different people feel about beauty, which is one of the most core and important identity elements in most people’s lives.”

In response, “Diversity Forward” has become Ulta Beauty’s marketing mandate that “at every turn puts diversity at the core of how we look at everything”, Davis said.

“It pushes us to continually think about what an opportunity looks like from a different lens of who might be the unrepresented person.”

As such, she added, “It’s not a marketing conversation, it should not just be a strategy conversation, but it should be a conversation that lives throughout our organization and the way that we do business.”

A new market positioning comes at a price, Davis said, “and the reality is that dollars are finite. Through these test-and-learn phases, we got a better idea of where that was before we fully rolled it into our ongoing strategy.”

“The other reality is you can’t always go into places without being invited. You can’t always have the right to go to places with consumers at different times.”

Sourced from WARC