July 09, 2010

And they are not the lines you think. They are the lines that separate integration from assimilation from isolation.

And they are not the lines you think. They are the lines that separate integration from assimilation from isolation.

Today, many Multicultural agencies say that they are “integrated” even if they are isolated from their General Market counterparts.

And some General Market agencies that “dabble” in Multicultural marketing also say they are integrated because they work in multiple channels. But the bottom line is that many don’t have the deep cultural knowledge and appropriate resources to properly integrate.

Total integration is so much more than simply being able to execute work in a variety of channels. It’s about being able to successfully intersect every segment via every channel — through the line — with powerful and culturally relevant messages. All the while maintaining your clients’ brand identity. If “integrated” has been the ideal adjective or definition for agencies over the past decade, why hasn’t anyone really accomplished it, until now?

Why? Because it is not an easy task. It is a fine balancing act. The agency that crosses the line between integration and assimilation risks isolation. What do I mean by that?

Once you assimilate your staff, your strategies, your insights, your concepts, your executions into the mainstream … you become isolated from the very target you are trying to reach and motivate. And that’s bad news for our clients.

Because the moment that happens the intimacy you share with your customers starts to implode. You lose your cultural identity and credibility with your targets. And your clients lose business. Fast.

The agencies that will win the cross-cultural race are the agencies that integrate purely … without staying isolated or crossing the line into assimilation.

Why do we run the race when it is so grueling? Because in today’s marketplace, it is the only way to ensure that our clients achieve the ultimate success.

So … watch what line you cross.

BY Eduardo Dehesa-Conde
SVP, Group Creative Director Multicultural
Draftfcb

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