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7.5 Case Study 5: Marketing the Right Messages
Diane is the president of a public relations and marketing company that is in its 10th year of business. The company has a wide range of clients in the government, in private businesses, and in the nonprofit sector. It provides media strategies, designs and develops media campaigns, and advises companies with their marketing plans.
Recently, she negotiated a contract with a local nonprofit organization interested in creating a media campaign to address domestic abuse and violence issues in disadvantaged communities. The nonprofit provides transitional housing, mental health services, and counseling and education to women and children seeking safety from their abusers. Residents are primarily women and children, of which 87% are African American, 10% are Hispanic, and 3% are Asians.
The nonprofit wants to reach out to the Hispanic and Asian communities. They want to provide information and education, and create awareness in the communities about their services. Felicia, the executive director, described to Diane what they have already done as an organization and the challenges they have encountered. She identifies these challenges as English language barriers, trust issues working with an organization not in their community, and different ways that the cultures respond to domestic violence and abuse issues. Felicia wants a campaign that will break these barriers and give the organization an opportunity to begin working with Hispanic and Asian communities.
Diane’s company has never worked on a media campaign such as the one presented to her. Although they have done campaigns and advised on strategies in the social services field, the topic of domestic abuse and violence, especially in Hispanic and Asian communities, is new to her and her employees. She is not worried about reaching the African American community, since she is from that community and has been successful in creating a variety of strategies and campaigns.
She knows that her employees will need to do some research before creating media messages that speak to the Hispanic and Asian markets. She is up for the challenge and thinks this project will expand the company in a new and exciting direction. In addition, it will help her staff improve their knowledge and work with the diverse communities within their city.
- How can Diane and her employees use the idea of “self-concept” to help them in their work?
- What cultural value dimensions should Diane and her employees be aware of when working with Hispanic and Asian communities?
Diane knows that there is culturally specific information and knowledge missing in her organization that could help the business execute a media campaign. Using cultural strategic thinking, she can outline the outcomes of what she wants to achieve by looking at the gaps. Diane’s team can also use Hofstede’s cultural value dimensions to gain an understanding of each cultural group. By doing this, they can learn about the nature of power, relationships, and identity that exists in each group. They may find that one cultural value dimension takes more precedence than others in a cultural group. As a result of their cultural strategic thinking, they will come to learn about themselves as an organization and as individuals. When they do this, they will be better prepared to serve the client and the community.
CI Model in Action
- Acquire: Diane and her team can acquire cultural knowledge by identifying what they currently know and what they would like to learn. For example, if they know the communities they need to reach have language challenges, the team can describe what they would like to learn to overcome those barriers. Based on this first piece, the team can develop strategies to bridge the gaps between their knowledge. As they implement the plan, they can monitor and evaluate the success of the strategies.
- Build: It may be helpful to Diane and her team to create an advisory group of people from the communities they would like to reach. A group like this can provide them with peer learning opportunities and offer guidance in the project. Additionally, they can build their cultural intelligence by attending local events or talking to people from the communities they will market to. This provides them with an opportunity to check their assumptions and gather cultural information and facts.
- Contemplate: Diane seems ready to address the challenges, thus indicating that she is motivated and confident that herself and her team will end up successful. To keep their spirits high, the team can identify moments of success from past projects as well as identify current successes. Creating environments where her team feels successful in their job and accomplishment of goals will help Diane and her team to stay positive and focused. Doing this helps to increase their levels of self-efficacy and mindfulness.
- Do: As the team performs their strategies, their focus must be on cultivating respectful relationships with the communities. Diane and her team will need to pay attention to how relationships are developed as well as how relationships are interpreted within the communities. Understanding this helps them shape messages that are not offensive or shaming.