ANA Conference

The 2017 ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, presented by Time Inc. in Miami Beach, Florida from Nov. 5th-7th, featured a myriad of talent as multicultural leaders from top-tier brands took the stage to deliver cutting-edge and inspirational presentations on effectively reaching diverse consumers.

Motivate’s leadership team, Gregg Witt, executive vice president of youth marketing; Randy Gudiel, vice president of media strategy; Rene Sanchez, vice president of client strategy and insights; and Joel Shoemaker, vice president of the LGBTQ division, share their experience at this year’s conference:

Q: What are the key takeaways that you felt were specific to your segment?

Gregg: Right when I walked into the room at ANA, Verizon’s Chief Marketing Officer, Diego Scotti said something that immediately resonated with me: “When cultures converge, powerful ideas come to life.” That kind of mindset and energy is what you need to be successful with youth, or in any lifestyle marketing field.  A few takeaways stood out as memorable themes: 1) Actions, not words, 2) Consistency and commitment, 3) Drive scale.
Rene: First, I would say that multicultural marketing leaders must position brands on diversity and inclusion.  Second, brands that harness the power of multicultural win with consumers.  Third, I’d say that a winning multicultural campaign starts with looking within and ensuring you have the right experts.
Joel: MasterCard created a “Restroom for All” at New York Pride in June as a response to the anti-trans laws, which won them “Best in Show.”  Anyone who is attentive to LGBTQ concerns deserves an award in my book.  Second, Jackie Gagne, HBO’s director of multicultural and college marketing, shared their launch with HBO’s documentary, “Suited.”  To become educated about the transgender and gender non-conforming community, they listed to community engagement online, read queer editorial and engaged trans influencers.
Randy: Tony Rogers, chief marketing officer of Walmart, mentioned that you should “invest in the community and they will invest in you.” What matters to Hispanics is different from African Americans, what matters to LGBT is different from Asian consumers.  Define the community for your segment and invest in what matters to them.

Q: In your opinion, which was the best presentation and why?

Gregg: I really enjoyed the HBO presentation by Jackie Gagne, vice president of multicultural marketing. HBO’s anthropological approach to cultivating relevance within each series is remarkable. Even the session description was screaming youth culture: mining insights from the subcultures that drive mainstream audiences can be difficult when marketing processes don’t always move at the same speed as culture. Three useful reminders for any brand seeking to make or maintain authentic connections with influential subcultures: Listen > Engage > Immerse, then repeat.
Rene: I would say the P&G presentation.  The speaker, Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer for Proctor & Gamble, opened up about how he tried to suppress his Mexican background instead of being proud of it.  Now, with the political and social landscape, he was inspired to take a stand by positioning brands to tackle diversity.  In addition, the brand demonstrated great work that not only focuses on multicultural, but also on inclusiveness across the board, urging brands to “Step It Up!” and take on broader societal issues and become a force for good- and a force for growth.”
Joel: While not LGBT specific, P&G’s focus on addressing racial equality in advertising resonated most to me – it signaled the company knows what’s happening in the U.S. right now, and knows that people look to brands now more than ever to reflect a moral conscious.  Consumers now are not just buying a product, they know their money goes to support values – I’ve seen this in LGBT arena for a long time.  And P&G picking up on current issues shows that multicultural marketing cannot be ever-green, you must know the heartbeat of what’s happening with the groups.
Randy: Alvaro Luque, President of Avocados from Mexico, discussed how multicultural reach is important, but social conversations are far more valuable.  By focusing on the consumer journey, you can connect with them across social and digital.  He said there is a difference between “reaching” consumers and “connecting” with them, which really stood out to me.

Q: What would you have liked to see more of, or what was something that you thought was missing at the conference?

Gregg: It would be nice to see a little more emphasis on the niche subcultures like urban/street, design, tech, and others that are driving mass markets. That said, I felt like the content and thought leadership in the room was top-tier.
Rene: I think there was not enough of the actual multicultural insights per focused segments [Hispanic, African American, Asian, Gen Z/youth] shown – we saw the creative but what consumer insights led the great creative? I would have liked to see this more.
Joel: The conference was very light on LGBTQ topics this year.  Not one session focused on this area.  Other years have had more of a presence, but this year it seems to have trailed off.

Q: What was one thing at the conference that inspired you most?

Gregg: That’s easy, Monique Marvez’s, politically incorrect comedy act. Read on or watch the video for yourself. It’s a take on today’s political climate and was truly an inspirational, no holds barred show as advertised! Monique has performed on Latina Divas of Comedy, Snoop Dogg Presents the Bad Girls of Comedy, and now headlines her own Showtime special, “Not Skinny Not Blonde”.
Rene: The idea of brands recognizing that multicultural focus means winning big today and for the future to come.  That you can position brands to welcome diversity.  Brands that truly invest and position themselves to be relevant and inclusive win.
Joel: Yvonne Orji, who plays Molly on Insecure.  She was interviewed for a live podcast recording by Yes, Girl.
Randy: How marketers are essentially agents of change.  We facilitate change with the inclusion of multicultural in the workplace and with our clients.