By: Amandari Karaca (@amandari_karaca)
On January 10, the GVSU PRSSA held a meeting solely dedicated to multicultural PR. With former PRSSA president Tyler Lehner speaking, I was thrilled to learn about a topic in public relations in which I hold a personal stake. As a second-generation immigrant, I understand the importance of multiculturalism in the public relations industry. Having the opportunity to communicate with a variety of people in a way that resonates with them means you need to understand their culture.
This is easier said than done. Before the Multicultural PR meeting, I was under the impression that multicultural public relations simply meant “don’t be ignorant.” The classic case of this is the Chevy Nova, (in Spanish No Va means “not going,” not the best way to promote a vehicle). I thought it was a simple as that, just be considerate of cultures and languages and you will be fine.
However, Tyler Lehner opened my eyes to how much more involved the process can be (lucky for culture enthusiasts like myself!). Tyler currently works at Weber Shandwick handling Chevrolet accounts in a variety of geographic locations. Throughout his presentation, Tyler showed us how his team segments the population based on a variety of cultures such as LGBTQ, African-American, Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latino.
Tyler proceeded to dissect these markets one by one and explain the importance of reaching the proper media outlets, contacting them in the most appropriate way and the value of market research. He told us about a variety of media platforms that focused on news in each respective culture and how native languages are taken into account (many of Chevrolet’s promotional material are printed in multiple languages).
In hindsight, this all makes sense. But, before being exposed to this information, I was shocked to hear Tyler speak on the behaviors of each culture in such an informed way. I was eager to hear what he would say about the Asian-American market because that includes my family. “Many Asian immigrants focused on learning English so heavily, they never took the time to teach their offspring their native language and culture,” Tyler said, “So many second-generation immigrants are now fighting to discover and relate with that culture.” I couldn’t have said this better myself.
So how does Tyler know all of this? Research, research, research! The value of market research is so important. Tyler could speak about certain attitudes and behaviors of each culture with such confidence because of the credibility of research conducted on these demographics.
I was like a kid in a candy store when I realized that I, too, could one day do this. Understanding and communicating with a variety of cultures has always been a dream of mine, and the fact that I get to do so in a lively field has given me such excitement for my future.
Amandari is a senior from Kalamazoo majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and minoring in Spanish. Alongside being an Account Executive for GrandPR, Amandari is involved with her sorority, Sigma Kappa. Her favorite part of public relations is using different media to creatively problem solve. In her free time, Amandari enjoys watching John Oliver, reading skincare blogs, online shopping and cheering on the San Antonio Spurs.