Multicultural audiences feel underrepresented in media

A study by NBCUniversal, Magna and Identity shows audiences demand more intersectional representation.

“Diversity” is a term that encompasses many intersectional identities. Brands and media companies need to recognize those nuances better, according to a study conducted by NBCUniversal, Magna and Identity. 

The Deconstructing Diversity study, which surveyed more than 3,500 U.S. respondents, reveals 87% of people feel a strong attachment to multiple communities, and 93% want to connect with cultures other than their own. 

However, 33% say they do not identify with different communities because of inaccurate media representation or a lack thereof.

“Even though there is a correlation between ethnicity and [diversity], heritage and traditions such as language, race, ethnicity and nationality are just as important in defining identity,” said Oscar Allaín, SVP of cultural research and strategy at Identity. 

All segments in the study cited family as the core element for defining their sense of identity, over race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other factors. 

Audiences expect the media to highlight all of the elements that shape their identities, said Yusuf Chuku, NBCU’s EVP of client strategy and insights, advertising and partnerships. 

“People want to see representation, and not just a tick of a box, but authentic representation of culture and diverse talent,” Chuku said. 

According to the study, 80% of respondents believe brands can get involved in cultural identification through media. Three-quarters of Hispanic and Black audiences also expect brands to accurately reflect their cultures. Multicultural audiences are 4.6 times more likely to rely on visual forms and media.

“We're living in a time when race, ethnicity and hobbies are forming new personas,” Allaín said. “Those concepts have a better probability of standing out of the clutter and winning hearts and minds.”

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