Ethnicity as marketing tool, is it ethical ?

Our society has passed the last twenty years to send many messapix 1ges of openness minded designed for all races that make up our civilization. At school children are educated with values such as tolerance and respect for their peers and all people in general, values that are essential and necessary to live in our actual society.

People around the world are affected by these sensitizations; this is why companies have decided to step into the breach of a new market, full of opportunities and thus a new lucrative market for them. However, is it ethical to use ethnicity as a marketing tool? 

All colonizing countries have experienced population flows, which today make our world so rich in cultural differences. That is why it is a factor not to be overlooked by companies that always want more customers and entice them to consume.

 

In the academic journal focused on the topic “Ethnicity in the study of the consumer: a statement of research”, it is quoted that “Our modern societies are now recognized as being multicultural through their historical trajectory (eg, colonization, war and slavery…) or the fact of migration flows related to economic or political conditions”

 

This has turned the company into a multicultural society with different ethnic groups. France for example, is the first outbreak of immigration in Europe with 4.9 million immigrants; it is one of the factors that pushed the marketing men to pay attention to cultural differences due to many specific cultural. They want and should to continually adapts in the market to meet the expectations of their consumers, we have seen born on the various markets of new products with particularity being “ethnic”.

Indeed, the famous French “L’Oréal” launched through its brand “SoftSheen” cosmeticspix 2 that adapt to different skin and hair of their consumers. The media are also interested in this phenomenon by introducing specialized programs such as “Beur TV” on the television medium, the Internet also with “toubab.fr.” It is noted that mobile telephony has also benefited from this new marketing strategy to implement with “allomundo.com”. The money transfer like “Western Union” and banks are not left with offers tailored to ethnic minorities.

 

Companies try to get closer to the maximum expectations of minorities consumers order to sell their products. And consumers increasingly express their culturally distinct desires. The United States is the pioneers of this new sector since 1980 and trying to capitalize, on the cultural various origins of their own employees to improve the quality of the products they offer. They choose their promoters based on their ethical membership to promote in the best way to consumers, then they are safe to want to consume.

But the question that may arise face this new way to create and sell products and services to customers is it ethical?

The importance of ethnic pride is also a factor to consider, which takes to heart the designers, developers and consumers who feel attached to the new ranges designed for them.

Search ethnic marketing has been able to show that 5000 Hispanic American, African American, African, Asian and Anglo-Saxon expressed a need to support their cultural heritage with ethnic traditions and symbols.

Much more than money, then ethnic marketing really provides an opportunity for different ethnic groups to defend their values, and their eating habits and consumption in general.

 

The fact of creating marketing strategies related to specific ethnic, highlights the fact to ask questions about moral judgments that may arise and the rules of conduct in the creation, promotion and communication that are important to establish.

 

The main purpose of creating these marketing strategies specifically directed at ethnic minorities is to better meet consumer expectations, however this should not divide our multicultural society by dividing populations. It is important to remember that the richness of our present civilization is obviously cultural richness. That is why in the search “Ethnic marketing ethics” we talk about social responsibility, must meet an individual and a societal need.

 

But these marketing strategies may lead to some form of discrimination. Indeed, should we see ethnic marketing as a business strategy or a discriminatory practice? The answer that we can give to this question is that it depends of the way of thinking of the organization, and if it is develops in the right way in the only reason of helping ethics minorities of population, eager to satisfy their desires, their tastes and needs.

 

Contrary to what one might think, ethnic minorities asylum products tailored to their needs and expectations, which arise directly from their ethnic characteristics. This is why the marketing Men, were launched in search of products and campaigns to affect them directly. We note indeed that behavior varies according to cultural differences consumers. This finding has opened new doors for marketing professionals, to a carrier and lucrative market. They offer a range specifically designed for ethnic minorities, and can afford to give it a higher price.

 

Even if it carries great opportunities for Men marketing, ethnic marketing causes a big problem of ethics, putting his finger on ethnic minorities. It reinforces therefore ethnic and racial differences between Men, what which go against the values ​​espoused by our multicultural contemporary society. But we have to use it in order to propose to ethnic minorities products and services that they need and they want without making them feel at any time, a difference of treatment, just a way to offer what suits their tastes, their way to be and live with. All this in order to live together with our similarities and our differences to account for only a single population: the population of the Earth.

 

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Finally…

 

Ethnicity can really be used as a marketing tool in our actual society, but the professionals have to use it correctly, so that not put aside ethnic minorities.  In order to work on a positive discrimination, to further develop the offer for ethnic minorities, propose a greater range at prices more affordable than is currently proposed in our actual society.

LAURE PINAULT

Sources:

“Ethnicity in the study of the consumer: a state of research”: by Nil Özaçaglar- Toulouse, Amina Béji-Bécheur, Marie-Hélène Fosse-Gomez, Maud Herbert, Sondes Zouaghi

« The new age of ethnic marketing » : by Marilyn Halter

« Ethnic marketing ethics » : by Guilherme D. Pires and John Stanton

 

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2 Responses to Ethnicity as marketing tool, is it ethical ?

  1. myriameliott says:

    I think it is pretty interesting to read about this. Ethics is a major concerns when it comes to business nowadays. And there is so many cases of bad marketing. A non ethical marketing and branding can so easily break a brand. But in the same case, it is common to target ” communities” as those ones have often a great sense of, as said, community. It is tricky to find the perfect way to target those, and to be ethical. And I am not even sure that someone will come with the perfect solution; I guess it really depends on the company and the risks they are willing to take.
    Thank you for your blogpost!

  2. I would like to thank you for your post and for your analysis of this subject that I really like.
    In my opinion, we are not talking enough of the use of ethnicity as an effective marketing tool. Even if I love the marketing field and I feel that one of the most interesting thing to work on, is the evolution of our society by the marketing way. However sometime I am a bit shocked by all the actions marketers are ready to use just in order to sale their products.
    Since these past 20 years our world changed a lot, and it is normal to think about the needs and wants of all the differents populations and ethnies. But there is a right way to do that, a proper way, to use differencies between people in an ethical way. Even if everybody knows that marketers exist to make money and profit. You are right when you said that depends of the company, its values and its implication into this process. If the company can deal with all this factors, then it is a huge market and a lot a precious customers, which is opening to them. Some companies understood that but not all of them right now. Thank you for your interest in my researches.

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