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Self-referencing and optimal distinctiveness theory: The theoretical underpinnings to US multicultural marketing
This paper revisits in-culture marketing, a model that has served as the strategic backbone to Hispanic marketing in the USA for more than three decades. Although popular and useful, in-culture marketing lacks a theoretical foundation and empirical validation. To help brands do a better job of engaging with an increasingly multicultural population, this paper introduces two theories rooted in social psychology: self-referencing, which has been shown to drive advertising effectiveness when information is linked to the self, and (2) optimal distinctiveness theory, which helps explain social identity and how people come to define themselves in terms of their social group memberships. At a time when the US population is becoming increasingly multicultural, this paper advances a conceptual fourquadrant model designed to improve marketing effectiveness for leading corporations. The paper argues that the US advertising industry bears the responsibility to develop and promote new strategic approaches that help leading brands grow — even if it means challenging today’s business models and disrupting the status quo.
The full article is available to institutions that have subscribed to the journal.
Jake Beniflah is the Executive Director of the Center for Multicultural Science, a leading US non-profit, non-partisan multicultural marketing research think tank and data science accelerator dedicated to increasing the representation of women, and ethnic and racial minorities in the USA. Dr Beniflah is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy and author of ‘The Big Shift: Redefining Marketing in a Multicultural America’. He has a doctorate in business administration from Golden Gate University.
Pamela Razo is a research analyst at the Center for Multicultural Science, where she conducts primary and secondary research on key marketing issues relating to US Hispanics. Her research interests cover culture and social media. She earned a bachelor’s of arts at California State University Fullerton.
Julie Veloz is the Vice President of Diversity Intelligence and Strategy for the Interpublic Group of Companies, a global leader in marketing solutions, employing more than 50,000 diverse and talented individuals worldwide. Julie is a subject matter expert in learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and organisational change. Her work has appeared in such publications as Forbes, Adweek, AdAge and Shark Tank with Daymond John, among others.
CitationBeniflah, Jake, Razo, Pamela and Veloz, Julie (2022, March 1). Self-referencing and optimal distinctiveness theory: The theoretical underpinnings to US multicultural marketing. In the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, Volume 6, Issue 2.