Breaking Biases

Breaking Biases



Brian Owens, Managing Director

Diverse Representation Amplifies Brand Power
Breaking Biases | Juneteenth | BAV Group | Brian Owens

As I prepare to sip my strawberry soda to pay homage to my ancestors on Juneteenth, I believe we still need more diverse representation in advertising. Leveraging diverse talent in advertising is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic opportunity for brands. By embracing more diverse talent in targeted celebrity influencer campaigns and broadcast TV spots, more brands can position themselves for long-term success in a competitive marketplace.

Due to the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, there was a notable increase in the visibility of people of color in media. It was a watershed moment for greater diversity and inclusivity. Yet, recent studies have shown a decline in the representation of diverse talent in advertising; a reminder that systemic biases still exist, and we need to do more collectively as an industry to overcome this inequity so more consumers can see themselves in our creative work.

Recent data from the Brand Asset Valuator’s (BAV) syndicated study reveals that Sprite, a brand long known for its use of diverse talent, enjoys high levels of relevance, knowledge, and esteem among the general  population, but struggles with differentiation causing it fall into the mass-market brand quadrant.

But when looking at Sprite's performance among the Hispanic community, the brand not only excels across all four key metrics– e but also is far more differentiated with Hispanic audiences when compared to the general population — elevating it to the status of a category leader within this audience.

By featuring Hispanic music artists and influencers in marketing campaigns, Sprite underscores its commitment to celebrating and representing Hispanic culture. For instance, Grammy-nominated Spanish singer Rosalía, whose influence permeates the U.S. market, plays a significant role in Sprite's broader efforts. Her collaboration with Sprite effectively connects the brand to the Latin music-loving community, helping  the Sprite brand to stand out among Hispanics in a culturally relevant way.

Brands that prioritize representation, especially during significant occasions like Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, are better positioned to succeed in today's multicultural world and will grow faster in a more inclusive society.

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Author: Brian Owens
Managing Director, Strategy & Insights

Brian comes to BAV Group with over 15 years of extensive work experience in CPG market research, creative advertising, management consulting, brand management, and direct selling to retailers. His expertise includes global commerce though leadership, selling with 1st party retailer data, and advisory support surrounding global retail health commerce activations. Specialty retail intelligence expertise includes deep relationships and experiences launching new brands at Walmart, Amazon, Target, Grocery, Club, CVS, Walgreens, Dollar General, 7-11 as well as specialty beauty retailers, such as Ulta and Sephora.

In addition, Brian is a frequent speaker in topics related to commerce & brand awareness, retail go to market strategy, DEI commerce transformation, shopper marketing customer experiences, the consumerization of healthcare and building diverse inclusive cross-functional empathetic teams.

Prior to BAV Group, he was at Kantar Consulting, Proctor & Gamble, and Reckitt Benckiser, where he transformed syndicated retail insights , managed retail CPG sales teams and lead a management consulting commerce practice for some of the world's largest and most successful brands.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn.

Opinion Party (Vol 3): Summer Beach Reads
This article is from the third volume of "Opinion Party" from BAV Group, a collection of points of view that focused on embracing the unknown, trusting ourselves and others, and ultimately a body of work that helps us all to connect around topics that unite us rather than divide us. Explore this, and the rest of the articles, to see how our authors have taken their unique experiences and written informative and timely pieces on the intersection of brands and belonging in today’s culture.