Identifying Diversity-Seeking Consumers

May 16, 2013, 10:07 ET from American Marketing Association

CHICAGO, May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the article, "Agents of Change: A Scale to Identify Diversity Seekers," Drs. Anne M. Brumbaugh and Sonya A. Grier develop and validate a new marketing scale to identify people who have a high propensity to seek out cultural diversity in products, services, and experiences.


Previous research has explored how some consumers' thinking and behaviors limit diversity and inclusion through ethnocentrism, prejudice, discrimination, and ignorance.  However, little has explored the flip side – how some people's thinking and behaviors facilitate cross-cultural consumption, marketplace inclusion, and promotion of diversity.  In their research, Brumbaugh and Grier show how some people have a propensity to seek out cultural diversity in products, services, and experiences that broadens, rather than narrows, marketplace diversity and cross-cultural consumption. 

In the article, which appears in the Spring 2013 special issue of the American Marketing Association's Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, the authors develop a seven-item scale to measure this diversity seeking trait and show how it influences diversity-related consumer behaviors.  Their results indicate that high diversity seekers are more likely to travel internationally, vote Democratic, purchase other-culture products, live in diverse neighborhoods, and champion diversity-related causes than people low on the scale.

"We were inspired to conduct this research based on real-life examples of folks who bucked convention, risked social ostracism, and went out of their way to immerse themselves in other-culture experiences," says Dr. Brumbaugh.  "There seemed to be no measure that captured this tendency, so we created one."  Dr. Grier notes the significant policy implications of their research:  "Diversity Seekers seem to be able to move outside of their own cultural belief systems and social networks to effect change by embracing and implementing diversity-related policies in employment, education, healthcare, and other key social arenas.  Identifying and deploying these individuals will be crucial in advancing successful diversity-related policies."

Brumbaugh and Grier refer to high diversity individuals as "positive deviants" who will lead a charge against fragmented and insular marketspaces and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive marketplace.

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SOURCE American Marketing Association