How Correct Racial, Ethnic Denomination Can Benefit Brands’ Acceptance In US

For 60% of Americans, race or ethnicity are important for their identity and how they are seen by others, according to a study by Collage Group

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July 24, 2023 | 12:05 PM

Bloomberg Línea — People’s race and ethnicity are increasingly important to them and how they view their own ethnicity, according to a study by Collage Group, which analyzes audiences and their behavior with brands. So much so that 60% of Americans surveyed agree with that statement, and Black Americans even more so: three-quarters of that group say their color has never been more important to them.

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“When you think about proper terminology and the connections it has to identity, you can see very quickly how complex it becomes and how important it is,” explained Jack McKinnon, senior director of Cultural Perspectives at Collage Group.

“The terms a brand uses indicate how well it understands a person and how well it understands a segment. And the willingness to continue to understand and learn about them as well. And it also shows that they are respected and how they want to be identified,” he said. “The challenge is growing, as it is more difficult to know exactly what terminology is correct, because the language is evolving and the country is becoming more and more diverse.”

The study reveals that it is the Black community (74%) that cares most about the correct ethnic or racial designation, followed by Hispanics (60%), Asians (59%) and whites (34%).


On a community-by-community basis, Hispanics are segmented into three groups: acculturated (more identified with US culture and English), non-acculturated (more identified with Hispanic heritage and Spanish) and bicultural (in the middle of both).

Thirty-five percent say they use the term “Hispanic” to describe themselves, followed by “Latino or Latina” with 22%. Country of origin ranks third, with 14%; and only 4% of respondents chose “latinx” or “latine” as their preferred label for self-identification.

In Black communities in the US, the terms “black” and “African American” are the most popular, with the former receiving 46% preference and only 4% difference with the latter. Other terms such as “African,” “Caribbean,” “people of color,” and “none of these” are also numerous, but less popular.


Minorities, compared to other segments, have less preference for terms used to describe marginalized communities. There is low positive sentiment and high negative sentiment around these words.

The study also analyzed the term “multicultural”, which is the most voted and positive term overall. However, it highlights that among African-Americans, sentiment is lower, with 19% showing less affinity for the term.

The term “BIPOC,” which can refer to “Black Indigenous People of Color,” is a relatively new and little-known acronym. Only 17% of the total population knows it, and among Blacks, Asians and Hispanic Americans, it also has little familiarity. While it has a positive sentiment, its unfamiliarity places it behind the term “multicultural.”

This data is important to consider in communication strategy and understanding what audience a company or organization is targeting.

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