So it’s been about a month since I last posted anything. Time has been flying with creative production, constant meeting s, and a ton of presentations to give to the client. In fact, this week alone our creative director and I presented to the Census’ Joint Advertising Advisory Review Panel (JAARP) as well as the Department of Commerce and Congress.
As stated in my prior post, this is an extremely important step in the creative process. You see, JAARP is comprised of selected members of the Census’s Race and Ethnic Committee (REAC), which speaks for itself. The presentation to JAARP and gaining their approval is one of the final “hoops” that our creative teams have “jump” through to finalize the creative concepts and prep them for the media. As you can imagine, this is also the most important one for an ethnic agency.
When in the meeting, we presented our creative concepts to representatives of ethnic organizations. These individuals represent the interest of “their” ethnic groups and in turn, have very critical opinions on our representation on “their” ethnic groups. What makes this process a little bit easier is that we are part of “their” ethnic groups.
In some cases, these representatives are very aware of the creative process of marketing, though in most cases, we have to ask for their understanding and patience. When we show rough cuts for television, as well as placeholder tracks and images for the radio and print creative concepts, individuals have difficulty grasping the fact that things will change prior to the concepts reaching the media. This leads to many concerns about quality as well as cultural sensitivity. Concerns from these representatives are not taken lightly. These stakeholders have the ability to eliminate any creative concept they deem unfit, so we do whatever we can to make sure that all of our creative pleases these stakeholders while keeping the best interests for our audiences in mind.
A day after showing off our work to the client and their stakeholders, we made our way to the Chamber of Commerce where we gave the Secretary of Commerce a presentation on our work. This would be the final “loop” we would have to jump through for approval on the creative. As it happened, our stakeholders were pleased with our work, the Secretary gave us the “two thumbs up,” and we were give the go ahead to go public at the Capitol with our creative work the following day with our presentation the Congress. Now it’s time to finalize our work and prep them for media distribution.
With the publication of Peter Francese’s white paper, there has been much talk about the 2010 Census and its results affecting the marketing world. Studies indicate that this changing face will morph from “Consumer Joe” to one that is impossible to define as a general market.
Francese’s findings indicate that in the nation’s 10 largest cities, “no racial or ethnic category describes a majority of the population.”
With no majority to pitch a centralized, mainstream campaign to, communications efforts must switch from reaching White America to a more multicultural marketing campaign.
Currently, campaigns establish the general market approach and overlay it with a smaller multicultural twist to satisfy consumer diversity. But what Francese is implying and what the Census 2010 numbers will reflect is that the general market approach will soon become obsolete.
Another point of Francese’s to substantiate this statement is how diversity varies greatly by age, “with the younger population substantially more diverse than the old.” These young, diverse consumers will only gain buying power with time, making it critical to recognize investment in specialized campaigns now.
The question remains exactly how existing agencies will act. There will still be a need for an overarching campaign to encompass all that would be placed on the big channels like NBC, ABC and CBS, but a lot more cultural thought will need to be put into this campaign. The specialized ethnic agencies will need a bigger seat at the table to get such messaging right.
An answer we do know is that ethnic media is on the up and will continue to grow with this growth of a diverse population. Thus, vendors should begin to accept this new age and approach the American audience through targeted in-language and culturally relevant campaigns.
The Obama administration recognizes the need now, and acted on it by investing millions of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding specifically into the 2010 Census hard-to-reach markets such as Arabic, Russian, Polish, Farsi, Ukrainian and Armenian speakers.
Diversity is here to stay, demographics are the future, and we as communicators must embrace it.
Team Lead – Diversity and Outreach
The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking to partner with Russian American organizations to increase participation of hard-to-reach Russian communities for the 2010 Census count. Since 1790, the United States government has conducted a census every ten years in order to count the full population in the United States. The 2010 Census will mark the 23rd census of the U.S. It is a constitutional right of all U.S. residents to participate in the census.
For recent Russian immigrants and non-native English speakers, this might be the first census they participate in, so it is important to understand what to expect from the census. “It is extremely important for our community to be accurately counted,” stated Rabbi Alexander Milchtein, the Milwaukee Synagogue for Russian Jews (MSRJ). “The 2010 Census helps gain an accurate picture of America today. If this community is under-counted, they will be underrepresented for all the government and private services for the next ten years. The role of the government is huge and many decisions are going to be made depending on the results of the census.” Following the census, results determine how more than $400 billion in funds are allocated to states for the development of hospitals, schools, police stations, roads and other critical community services.
To Milchtein, success means correctly counting the community. To make that happen residents must get involved, step up, and spread the word—after all “everyone has friends or relatives who will benefit from the services.” To ease the process, a new shorter form has been introduced with only ten easy questions, and the Census Bureau guarantees total privacy and confidentiality of the data. Every person must be counted whether he or she is a citizen or non-citizen, documented or undocumented for the greater good of the community.
The Census Bureau hopes that partnering with local Russian American organizations will bring a greater sense of inclusion to Russian-speakers. “Get your full share!” Milchtein concludes. “Residents pay taxes no matter what, if taxes go back to the community, you want to get benefits back the same proportion that you paid. If you’re not counted, it’s like you’re not here.”