Innovation Through Diversity: Understanding The Ever-Changing Consumer Landscape

Esther Uduehi, Americus Reed, and Jehoshua (Josh) Eliashberg, Marketing, The Wharton School

Abstract: As firms look to innovate, attention must be paid to the role cultural diversity (e.g. racial and gender diversity) plays in consumer interest in new products. In today’s society, firms need an understanding of how diversity can be used as an asset to engage consumers with their brands. Cultural diversity within the United States has continued to be a trending topic and we are only beginning to understand its role in how consumers engage with brands. There is little work that deals with the impact of diversity on consumers’ relationship with products over time. Using IMDb film data across almost 70 years in the United States, we are investigating how the diversity of films relates to the film popularity over time as well as factors that influence consumer interest in diversity. Accompanying the film data, two large scale Mechanical Turk studies will be run to obtain the gender and race of the main actors of the film as well as to what extent each film deals with racial and gender themes. Our results can help companies better plan for innovation through diversity because they can identify important variables to best use diversity as a way to connect with consumers.