What’s a little misconception among marketers? Well, in some cases, a minor misconception can lead to a huge missed opportunity. For instance, despite a significant, well-documented increase in multicultural consumers in the U.S., marketers of premium and luxury goods show little interest in this demographic.

Why the indifference? It appears to stem from an assumption that the higher their income, the less people are influenced by their culture when making buying decisions.

Makers of premium wine, beer, and spirits, for example, are in a prime position to take advantage of the growing opportunity with higher-income multicultural consumers. But to do so, they should consider what role culture plays in the purchasing decision. Do higher-income consumers really eschew their culture of origin when deciding what to drink?

We studied high-income consumers in the Asian and African American, Hispanic, non-Hispanic White, and LGBTQ+ cultures, and found some enlightening answers.

First, we established what “premium” means to each group.

Across the board, “quality” is recognized as the main definition of what constitutes a premium product. Within that parameter, however, we uncovered some culturally affected nuances in the perception of “premium.”

To non-Hispanic Whites and Asians, a premium product connotes expert craftsmanship, while Hispanics view exclusivity as a key attribute of a premium drink. Asians and Hispanics also tend to look for an attractive label as an indicator of a premium product. The LGBTQ+ cohort see higher cost as the key factor.

The type of premium alcohol preferred also varies by culture, with Black and non-Hispanic White cohorts preferring premium spirits, while Asians opt for premium wines and Hispanics are more likely to drink premium beer.

Different circumstances may trigger each culture to reach for a premium drink. Asian Americans are more likely to celebrate a special occasion or a personal achievement with a premium drink. African Americans are the group most likely to treat themselves to a favorite premium beverage “just because.”

And what about that popular belief that consumers are less influenced by culture of origin as income level increases? Most of the study participants are actually more likely to choose a premium drink based on cultural influences.

Hispanics overall are the ethnic group most likely to view their culture as the most important aspect of their identity, and indicate a strong preference for alcohol brands from their home country.

Some of these differences may seem negligible at first glance, but they are important because they drive purchasing decisions for each cohort. Marketers who want to engage multicultural, high-income consumers will do well to incorporate cultural cues in their marketing campaigns in order to connect with the desired segment.

So, you’re marketing a premium brand of beer, wine, or spirits (you’re never one to let an opportunity fly by). Where can you connect with a multicultural market? The good news is that all multicultural segments studied over-indexed (vs. NH-Whites) in using social media as a source for discovering new premium alcohol brands.

Think about the triggers identified by these various cohorts as a cue to indulge in a premium drink. Are they likely to be celebrating a personal accomplishment, splurging on a special occasion, or choosing a gift for a friend? Or maybe they just want to relax after a hard day’s work. Details regarding cultural preferences can inform your connections planning and help to expand your brand awareness to an entirely new audience.

This blog post was originally published on Engage: Hispanics