- Twitter hired God-is Rivera, former director of inclusion and cultural resonance at ad agency VMLY&R, in a newly created role as global director of culture and community. Rivera will help brands connect through the social network with communities like Feminist Twitter, Asian American Twitter, Black Twitter and NBA Twitter, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- Rivera also will work on programs with organizations and projects like #HereWeAre, a movement that started at the International Consumer Electronics Show after the annual conference didn’t feature any female keynote speakers, Ad Age reported. Rivera is a Bronx native who joined VML in 2016 in a social media strategy role and also has worked at iCrossing and T3.
- Meanwhile, Twitter is trying to reach more Hispanic users and advertisers, naming Marco Botero, head of Twitter Miami, to the newly created role of head of U.S. Hispanic, according to the Journal.
Twitter’s hiring of God-is Rivera as global director of culture and community and promotion of Botero comes as more companies are developing an awareness for market segments whose customs are different from their established corporate culture. Not understanding the sensibilities and sensitivities of cultural groups can be disastrous, especially on social media platforms like Twitter where complaints can go viral.
The U.S. is rapidly becoming more multicultural, with African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic groups forecast to comprise more than 50% of the population by 2044, up from about 40% currently, according to researcher Nielsen. Brands that don’t adapt to the changing marketplace risk missing out on reaching these consumers, who have combined spending power of $3.2 trillion and have contributed $14 billion of sales growth to the consumer packaged goods market since 2013, Nielsen estimated.
Brands that aren’t attuned to multiculturalism are in danger of costly missteps, as several examples in the past year have demonstrated. CPG giant Unilever was compelled to apologize after an ad for Dove body wash appeared to suggest that the product transformed a woman’s skin color from black to white. The outcry went viral on social media and received widespread press attention. Similarly, clothing company H&M this year faced backlash over an ad that showed a black child wearing a sweatshirt that said “coolest monkey in the jungle,” leading recording artists The Weeknd and G-Eazy to cut ties with the company after the scandal, The Washington Post reported. Intel, Popchips, Qiaobi, Nivea and Pepsi also have aired culturally or racially insensitive ads that they later regretted, according to The New York Times.
At the same time, brands rely on social media to recover from past missteps. Papa John’s, the pizza chain whose founder and CEO John Schnatter resigned in July after reports he’d used a racial slur on a media training conference call, has worked to rebuild its damaged brand with a social campaign that highlights its efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Its social media ad featuring negative customer tweets had been watched 1.7 million times by August, Entrepreneur reported.