InSites for the Future: Multicultural Communication in 2012

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Today, as part of Vanguard’s “InSites for the Future” series, we’re looking at the future of multicultural communication. Vanguard’s multicultural services leader, Leah Holmes-Bonilla, predicts that cultural relevancy will become even more critical in a fast-paced world, while Kirana Bammarito sees that multicultural approaches will expand from a PR specialty service to an essential ingredient in all aspects of communication.

Keeping Pace with Culturally Relevant Communications

“Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” – Steve Jobs

Social media has facilitated unprecedented social change from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street and beyond. The lightning speed and mobility with which social change can happen will only accelerate in 2012.  But with great speed will come great responsibility to ensure communications are culturally relevant and personal. Effective communication happens between people who trust each other, so social change will happen most successfully in spheres that are responsible, competent and real. Beyond providing accurate information, communicators will find it critical to be culturally responsive in order to remain a credible resource. A piece of advice for communicators in 2012: Never be afraid to listen to and learn from your audience. If you don’t, they will tell you and many others in their social network, exactly what they think. And you may not like the results.

– By Leah Holmes-Bonilla

Multicultural Communications Will No Longer Be a Specialty – It Will Be Expected

Source: Staff reports. The Washington Post.

More and more public relations agencies are listing multicultural communications as one of their specialties, but eventually this will be a standard service not a niche one. In 2012, I predict that communications agencies will be expected to incorporate multicultural needs into all their services, much like clients have come to expect social media expertise. Demographics are shifting, and communicators must adapt to the change. The U.S. is quickly approaching complete majority-minority status, meaning that non-Hispanic Whites will no longer comprise the majority of the population. Washington, D.C., along with seven other major cities, achieved this status in 2000. Beyond racial, ethnic and linguistic cultural competence, savvy communicators will apply a broad definition of culture to include LGBTQI, youth, seniors and any other audience segment that requires tailored attention. Successful public relations in 2012 means understanding that one size no longer fits all.

By Kirana Bammarito

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