Chapter 14Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Subcultures CONSUMER BEHAVIOR, 8eMichael Solomon
Chapter Objectives When you finish this chapter you should understand why: • Our memberships in ethnic, racial, and religious subcultures often play a big role in guiding our consumption behaviors. • Additional influences come from our identification with microcultures that reflect a shared interest in some organization or activity. • Many marketing messages appeal to ethnic and racial identity.
Chapter Objectives (cont.) • African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans are the three most important ethnic/racial subcultures in the United States. • Marketers increasingly use religious and spiritual themes when they talk to consumers.
Subcultures, Microcultures, and Consumer Identity • Consumers’ lifestyles are affected by group membership within the society-at-large • Subcultures of age, race/ethnicity, place of residence • Microcultures share a strong identification with an activity or art form • Have own unique set of norms, vocabulary, and product insignias
Ethnic and Racial Subcultures • Ethnic subculture • Homogeneous versus heterogeneous cultural societies • Marketers cannot ignore the diversity of cultures in society today • Ethnic minorities spend more than $600 billion a year on products • Click for Crestkids.com
Ethnicity and Marketing Strategies Subcultural memberships help shape people’s needs/wants • Minorities find an advertising spokesperson from their own group more trustworthy • Ethnic subculture affects level/type of media exposure, food/apparel preferences, political behavior, leisure activities, willingness to try new products • High-context culture (group members infer meanings from verbal messages) versus low-context culture (group members take words literally)
Is Ethnicity a Moving Target? • Defining/targeting an ethnic group is not always so easy (“melting pot” society) • Many identify with two or more races • De-ethnicization: a product we associate with a specific ethnic group detaches itself from its roots and appeals to other groups as well • Example: bagels
New Ethnic Groups • The dominant American culture exerts pressure on immigrants to become absorbed in mainstream society • New immigrants are much more likely to be Asian or Hispanic • Tend to cluster together geographically • Word-of-mouth is especially important
America’s Newest Markets Figure 14.1
Ethnic and Racial Stereotypes Many subcultures have stereotypes associations • Subgroups are assumed to possess certain traits (often erroneously) which can be cast either positively or negatively • Marketers in the past have made vast use of ethnic stereotypes to communicate product attributes • Aunt Jemima and Frito Bandito
Discussion • Locate current examples of marketing stimuli that depend on an ethnic or religious stereotype to communicate a message • How effective are these appeals?
A Model of Consumer Acculturation • Individual differences affect how rocky adjustment will be • Acculturation agents include culture of origin and culture of immigration • Assimilation, maintenance, resistance, and segregation • Progressive learning model • Consumer behavior as mix of original culture and host culture • Differences between consumers who retain strong ethnic identification and more assimilated consumers
A Model of Consumer Acculturation Figure 14.2
Discussion • Locate one or more consumers (perhaps family members) who have emigrated from another country • Interview them about how they adapted to their host culture • In particular, what changes did they make in their consumption practices over time?
The “Big Three” American Subcultures • African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans • Hispanic population is now the largest ethnic subculture (12.5%) • Asian Americans (3.6%) are the fastest-growing racial group (due to immigration)
African Americans • The African American market is hardly as homogeneous as many seem to believe • Overall spending patterns of blacks and whites are roughly similar • Household income and educational levels are rising for African Americans • Differences in consumption behaviors can be subtle but still very important
Hispanic Americans • “Hispanic” = many different backgrounds • Hispanics are: • Brand loyal • Highly concentrated geographically by country of origin (easy to reach) • Many are rushing to sign Hispanic celebrities/actors
Hispanic Americans (cont.) • Some ad campaigns don’t work well among Hispanics, while Anglos don’t understand some products popular among Hispanics
Distinguishing Characteristics of the Hispanic Market • “Young bicultural” Hispanic consumers • Latino youth are changing mainstream culture • Looking for spirituality, stronger family ties, and more color in their lives • Large family size of Hispanic market • Spend more on groceries • Shopping is a family affair • Regard clothing children well as matter of pride • Convenience/saving time is not important to Hispanic homemaker
Levels of Acculturation: Understanding Hispanic Identity • Acculturation: process of movement and adaptation to one country’s cultural environment by a person from another country Table 14.2 (abridged)
Levels of Acculturation (cont.) • Hispanic consumers are sympathetic to marketing that emphasizes Hispanic cultural heritage • Many younger Hispanics are searching for their roots and rediscovering the value of ethnic identity
Asian Americans Are… • Fastest-growing population group • Most affluent and best educated • Most likely to hold technology job and buy high-tech gadgets • Most brand-conscious but least brand loyal • Most concerned with keeping up appearances • Made up of culturally diverse subgroups that speak many different languages/dialects
Religious Subcultures • The rise of spirituality • Explosion of religion/spirituality in pop culture • Churches are adopting aggressive marketing • Megachurches • Religious themes can spill over into everyday consumption • “Cult products” • Marketing opportunity among religious subcultures
Demographics of Religious Subcultures Figure 14.3
Discussion • Should members of a religious group adapt marketing techniques that manufacturers customarily use to increase market share for their products? Why or why not?
Old and New Religions Large variety of flourishing new religious movements • Scientologists • Wicca • The Raelians • The Ahmadis • The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University • Cao Dai • Soka Gakkai International • The Toronto Blessing • Umbanda • Click photo for Beliefnet.com
The Impact of Religion on Consumption • Religion is seen as a taboo subject to marketers • Polygamy Porter beer billboard • Lipton ad mocking the Catholic Church • Pirelli tires ad with Christ the Redeemer statue • Dietary and dress requirements create demand for certain products • Religious subcultures affect personality, attitudes toward sexuality, birthrates and household formation, income, and political attitudes • Church leaders can encourage and/or discourage consumption (e.g., boycott of Disney)
The Born-Again Boom • Those who follow literal interpretations of the Bible and who acknowledge being born again through belief in Jesus • Fastest-growing religious affiliations in United States • Christian merchandising activity is increasing • Christian bookstores • C28 stores/Not of This World brand • Click photo for C28.com
Discussion • Born-again Christian groups have been instrumental in organizing boycotts of products advertised on shows they find objectionable, especially those they feel undermine family values • Do religious groups have a right or a responsibility to dictate what advertising a network should carry?