Selling Ethnicity Inc.

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    Success Stories
    Signing up a multicultural marketing agency is only the first step toward tapping into New Mainstream business. Here are some examples of well-crafted, ethnic-focused strategies.

    **When Bank of America decided to go after its share of the $12 billion flowing between U.S. and Mexico each year, it acquired Grupo Financiero Santander Sefin, the most profitable bank in Mexico, for $1.6 billion. To make sure its key product, an electronic-fund-transfer system called SafeSend, was accepted, the bank conducted focus groups in both countries to determine the optimal colors, design and tone of the SafeSend marketing materials, and produced a series of Spanish, English and bilingual ads that reassured prospective customers with the tag line "Cremos en ti" (We believe in you).

    **After successfully reaching out to Hispanics and African Americans, Allstate Insurance Co. launched a campaign targeted at the Chinese community in New York City. By translating its slogan "You're in good hands with Allstate" into Mandarin and Cantonese, the company hoped to pitch a sense of security to Chinese foreign-born immigrants, who make up 65% of the U.S. Chinese population.

    **Brazil's state of Bahia, with one of the most vibrant Afro-derived cultures in the world, has begun a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign aimed at African Americans who want to get closer to their African roots but may find Africa too distant, expensive or dangerous. Bahia's state tour operator estimates that 60% of the 45,000 Americans who visited the region in 2002 were African American.

    **The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has launched a Drive for Diversity program to develop and showcase minority drivers and mechanics in an effort to tap the sport's expanding ethnic fan base. According to an ESPN sports poll, NASCAR's number of white fans declined by 14.6% between 1995 and 2001, compared with increases of 631.3% among Hispanics, 111.7% for Asians and 17.8% for blacks. NASCAR is planning to run its first race in Mexico in 2005.

    The Next Frontier
    Five hundred years after Columbus reached the coast of America, a New World once again looms on the horizon, changed but still teeming with possibility. The natives have even more colors to choose from, more gifts to offer, more tribes to which they can belong. They speak more languages and have more money, and their houses are bigger. Most important, they can no longer be taken for granted. Corporate Americafrom the boardroom to the stockroomis being transformed as it learns how New Mainstreamers live their lives and spend their cash. The challenge is great, but the payoff could be even greater.

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