Do Brands Have to ‘Speak American’?

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Brands are ignoring 60 percent or even more of the U.S. consumer base, according to a fresh study. The analysis proclaims that an section of the country it calls “THE BRAND NEW Heartland” is a culturally different swath of America, and to be able to market to the segment of the country, brands must figure out how to “Speak American."

THE BRAND NEW Heartland Group, a Nashville-based marketing firm, is behind the analysis, that was conducted with Prince GENERAL MARKET TRENDS. Chief strategist Paul Jankowski, who not merely authored the analysis, but also the accompanying book Speak America Too: Your Guide To Building Powerful Brands In THE BRAND NEW Heartland, says the proclamation is purposefully provocative.

“It creates people stop for another to consider the context,” he explains. “All ‘speak American’ means is usually to be culturally relevant in the manner you talk with consumers. You need to speak their language, which can be an overtone to the cultural distinctions, not the actual spoken language. The payoff for brands that learn how to talk with Americans in a culturally relevant way is huge. That’s what we’re hoping to mention."

The analysis is a survey of consumers surviving in the southwest, midwest and elements of the southeast, which Jankowski theorized were a distinctive and overlooked consumer market. THE BRAND NEW Heartland is actually everything east of the type of states running from North Dakota to Texas, ending at Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia, but excluding the beltway area of northern Virginia and south Florida. According to Jankowski, that makes up about 60 percent or even more of the buying power in the U.S.

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The study argues that swath of the united states isn’t a demographic, but a culture. It’s an organization defined by its values — faith, community and family — which directly influence buying decisions, brand loyalty and attitudes towards brands. In the event that you just work at a national brand and you may divide your data, consider the characteristics of the flyover states vs. the coasts. Look at rural vs. urban. You’ll see differences. That is a broad exemplory case of what he’s discussing.

The analysis reveals that only 5 percent of residents in the brand new Heartland think brands understand them. Brands appear to be spending lots of money on messaging that falls on deaf ears. It shows consumers there consider their faith (not specifically religion) one factor in buying decisions — the clip of 44 percent. The energy of community screams from the report, which ultimately shows that 86 percent of New Hearltand women trust recommendations from friends in buying decisions over any other influence. And an impressive 79 percent of the audience says it really is more motivated to get a brand that uses family in its advertising.

These core values, Jankowski argues, get this to patch of the American-consumer quilt quite different. Thus, brands should try to learn to talk with them differently. Yes, he calls it understanding how to “Speak American.”

Did he say, "speak American?"

While immigration is a hot-button topic in the U.S. right now and the exclamation to “Speak American!” can simply underline an ignorant perspective on that issue, Jankowski says the report uses that phrasing thoughtfully. It has nothing in connection with immigration and even speaking English, he said. It’s an attention-gettting device for brands to give consideration.

Jankowski says the brands that are carrying it out now — Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Lipton are clients he points to as “it-getters” — are seeing only positive feedback from stakeholders. It ought to be noted, however, that Jankowski didn’t have case-study-success metrics he previously permission to talk about.

“That is this exciting opportunity,” he says. “And the chance will there be for the taking for brands who would like to find out about it."

It’s not about race, religion or political leaning.

But this cultural segment isn’t about conservatives or the religious right. And it really isn’t about white vs. black or any other race.

“THE BRAND NEW Heartland includes African-Americans and Hispanics and more,” Jankowski explains. “That’s the truly important part of understanding marketing to a cultural segment. The normal thread that brings those segments together — Hispanics, African-Americans, southerners, midwesterners — will be the core values. Faith, family and community are critical components to each of these groups. They will be the common thread. They unify those groups in a manner that we can consider the middle of the united states as unique.

Related: The Better YOU UNDERSTAND Your Customer, the Better You Can Position Your Brand

“The reason why this segment is overlooked is due to worries of the unknown,” Jankowski says. “Marketers who don’t know this segment aren’t inclined to advertise to it. I would like to bridge that gap and help them understand why. After they start learning that it’s a cultural thread rather than a political affiliation or race or religion, the light will set off and they’ll obtain it."

Jankowski says that looking at THE BRAND NEW Heartland as a location of the united states that will mirror white, Christian, conservative values is an enormous mistake.

“That’s why stereotypes kill,” he says. “If you’re likely to stereotype 60 percent of the consumers in this country to be conservative or religious then you’ve already lost. That is a culture which includes different races and religions and ebbs and flows and moves differently compared to the remaining country."

It’s not changing the message.

To convince brands they have to pay attention to THE BRAND NEW Heartland, you should simply consider the numbers, Jankowski says. If the sheer buying power of this many people don’t get you excited, he says, then that’s to your detriment. He also says understanding the culture isn’t necessarily endorsing it. But understanding it isn’t pandering to it either.

“We’re not saying change the message for middle America,” he says. “You need to be aware that you might need to change what sort of message is delivered."

Jankowski cited a recently available Mountain Dew campaign called “JUST HOW I Dew,” which featured rapper Lil’ Wayne, director Paul Rodrigues and snowboarder Danny Davis, but also country star Jason Aldean and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Aldean, specifically, was one execution that he says piqued the response from bottlers.

Certainly the utilization of different celebrities is one way to improve what sort of message is delivered. Getting deeper with tactical executions is most likely worth a whole post in and of itself. Nonetheless it could possibly be as simple as knowing college football audiences in Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa and West Virginia, for example, are very unique of professional sports audiences, as well as basketball audiences.

How to proceed with everything.

Jankowski certainly is onto something, if not at all something that will tripped sensitivities and expose prejudices on both sides of whatever aisle you decide to apply the word “prejudice” to. I’ll be the first ever to let you know that while certainly African-Americans feel prejudice by society and brands, even their stereotypical nemesis — the southern white man — also feels prejudice as the "city folk" think he’s stupid, racist and socially close-minded. (Not that I’ve any experience with these or anything. Heh.) However the point may be the discussion of the cultural threads and getting at night race/religion overtones inside our thinking isn’t easy.

Still, for a brand, you’re likely to have to focus on it. A lot more than 60 percent of the buyer market reaches stake in the event that you don’t.

What exactly are your thoughts on the idea of THE BRAND NEW Heartland? Do brands have to speak to these consumers differently? Do the concepts of race, religion and socio-economic status fade if you concentrate on the concepts of family, faith (not religion) and community? Should you have experience with it working (or no longer working) for a brand, reveal about any of it in the comments.