NEWS10 January 2012

IPA backs UK cultural diversity study


UK— A new regular study of how cultural diversity influences consumer behaviour in the UK is being launched with backing from ad agency body the IPA.


Culture Watch, led by brand strategist Kate Wilson, has formed a joint venture with consumer trends agency Future Foundation to undertake what they say is the country’s first major marketing-focused study of cultural diversity. The IPA is on board as a founding partner and corporate backers are being sought to join a consortium.

Around 14% of people working in the UK were born abroad, and many more second-generation residents make up the country’s various cultural and ethnic minorities. But Wilson said “surprisingly little” is known about the effect of these people’s cultural background on their relationships with major brands.

Janet Hull, the IPA’s director of marketing and reputation management, said the research will fill a “significant gap in knowledge for brands”. “There is a growing appreciation among advertisers and their agencies of the importance of culturally diverse groups. Finding reliable and timely intelligence into these diverse audiences has been extremely difficult, so we’re delighted to support Culture Watch,” she said.

Wilson said: “This project is not about niche marketing to specific ethnic groups, but about a completely new angle on how these consumers are engaging with mainstream brands and their marketing communications.”

The first wave of research is to be carried out during the first quarter of this year through face-to-face qualitative groups. These will look at the attitudes and behaviour of groups including Polish, Chinese and South Asian people in relation to brands and marketing.

Companies joining the consortium will get first sight of the results and will have the opportunity to add their own questions to the research, Culture Watch said.