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Innovation Through Diversity: Global Marketing

By: Alexandra Fritsch-Gil, Jason Boland, Maria Bowman, Lauren Hoffman and Breanna Martin
Posted: June 8, 2012

The 2012 graduates of the cosmetics and fragrance marketing and management master's degree program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York presented their Capstone presentations at the Innovation Through Diversity in the Beauty Industry event and reception, sponsored by L’Oréal USA, at FIT’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre in May. The following white paper accompanied the presentation from Alexandra Fritsch-Gil, Jason Boland, Maria Bowman, Lauren Hoffman and Breanna Martin.

Today’s Global Consumer

The growth of global diversity is increasing at staggering rates. The United States Census Bureau predicts that by 2042, minority groups will become the new majority: making up more than half of the total population. By 2025, more than half of the families with children in the United States are expected to be multicultural.1 The bureau also released estimates showing that 50.4% of children younger than 1 were minorities as of July 1, 2011, up from 49.5% from the 2010 census taken in April 2010. By 2030, there will be more than one billion more people on the planet, but only about 3% of them will be born in the developed world. Today, if the world were a village of 100 people, 61 villagers would be Asian (of that, 20 would be Chinese and 17 would be Indian), 14 would be African, 11 would be European, 9 would be Latin or South American, and 5 would be North American.

Diversity is becoming the new mainstream and as the world changes, people are embracing one another: celebrating their differences and connecting to each other as humans. The Yankelovich 2010 Multicultural Study reported that more than three-quarters of all African-Americans, Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites agree, "One of the best things about America is the cultural diversity you find here." Diversity is taking new forms and becoming redefined: it goes beyond segmenting consumers by race or ethnicity. The cultural identity of consumers has also become only one of the several pieces in the complex jigsaw that define them.

The Spending Power is Shifting

Not only is the diversity in the world growing, but the spending power is starting to dramatically shift. According to Kline, China now has the largest Internet beauty market at $8 billion. This is nine times larger than the United States’ beauty market and the same size as the entire French beauty market. Euromonitor states that Brazilians have doubled their annual consumption of beauty products in the past five years, while the United States’ spend remains flat. In 2010, the BRIC markets accounted for 21% of the $382 billion total global beauty industry value size, and this percentage is set to increase to 25% by 2015.2 We are at a tipping point, where the emerging beauty markets continue to grow in importance, supplying a multitude of diverse consumers to reach.

Today’s Global Consumer: Diverse, Demanding & Connected

Consumers are more diverse, demanding and connected than ever before. Technology is evolving and mobile is a growing phenomenon. According to MobiThinking, 87% of the world has a mobile subscription, and in developing nations, mobile is the leading communication tool, bypassing landlines and in-home Internet usage. InMobi reported that in 2011, global consumers spend 27% of their media time on mobile.

It takes more than simply inserting an ethnic model and translating copy into a different language to successfully reach a globally diverse consumer. Yankelovich also reported that only 75% of consumers feel that today's marketing is both personally and culturally relevant to their lives. Companies need to make a dramatic shift in the way that they are trying to understand the consumer.

Beauty is Universal

For beauty marketers to communicate more effectively, we must look through a lens of inclusion to identify what is common among us. Universal emotion can connect consumers in new ways. Psychologist Paul Ekman showed that contrary to the belief of some anthropologists, facial expressions of emotion are not culturally determined, rather universal and biological in origin. These common emotions include anger, disgust, fear, shame, happiness, sadness and surprise. This commonality is not surprising. Humans everywhere share a common and complex anatomy, physiology, genome and brain structure. We also share the appreciation of beauty and the desire to be beautiful. Psychologist Nancy Etcoff, author of Survival of the Prettiest, has proven in her research that even babies are born with an eye for beauty. Infants, as young as three months old, prefer to stare at an attractive face. Beauty is a common bond that we all share.

The Evolution of Beauty Marketing

In order to meet the needs and demands of the growing diverse consumer, marketing models must take a new approach: aligning global and local teams in a free flowing conversational style with the human in the middle. The new model showcases new found alignment between marketing structures; the communication between global and local revolves around the consumer: understanding tastes and preferences, distinguishing cultural nuances and truly appreciating their differences. Shifting toward a human centric model alters the marketing lens. By employing a human centric marketing model, we humanize our beauty brands and enter into a new marketing paradigm. Simultaneously, we tap into the commonalities we share as humans, identifying each consumer as an individual. It is the ending of mass communication. It is the beginning of a one-on-one conversation between the consumer and the brand.

The One-On-One Conversation

Technology enables brands to engage in a one-on-one conversation with the each consumer. It is a unique and interesting juxtaposition. While technology can be viewed as cold and sterile, it is being used in more human ways. Technology is no longer about circuits, microchips and wires; instead, it is about connecting friends and family in far off corners of the world. Computers, cell phones, iPads and tablets continue to facilitate the one-on-one conversation between people.

Consumers today are continuing to leverage online and mobile platforms as an extension of their shopping experience; to get product information, read reviews and make their purchases. Furthermore, they are constantly sharing with each other, and the brands they love on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Weibo and more. It is becoming increasingly important for beauty marketers to utilize technology to humanize the experience and enhance the emotional bond between the brand and the consumer.

The Digital Fingerprint