Editor's note: Roben Allong is CEO of New York research firm Lightbeam Communications. Patricia Lopez is a Los Angeles-based independent moderator. Iris Yim is principal and chief strategist at Sparkle Insights, a Chapel Hill, N.C., research firm. 

COVID-19 has been a jarring wake-up call. While the idea of traditional research on ethnic consumers and their disparate COVID-19 experiences is certainly not a groundbreaking proposition, what clearly will be evident post-COVID-19 is that one size does not fit all. As infection numbers and death tolls from the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. are tallied, racial breakdowns show that the pandemic has had different impacts on communities of color.

Regardless of whether you do multicultural research, the advent of COVID-19 will have a tremendous impact on consumers across all ethnicities and their engagement with brands going forward. According to The Age of Dissonance, a recent Nielsen annual marketing report, the No. 1 goal of 41% of marketers surveyed was to reach new customers. In the quest for new customers, striking the right tone with brand messaging and communications to broaden your audience and reach consumers across all ethnic groups will become increasingly important. Companies that invest now in research to better understand the cultural and social dynamics of people of color will come out ahead because of the extensive influence they wield.

This article explores possible contextual and cultural factors behind the pandemic’s impacts specifically on the African American, Asian and Hispanic communities to provide a better understanding and foundation, post-COVID-19, for more successful research studies and brand interactions with these audiences.

According to recent Associated Press reports, African Americans account for more than one-third of the COVID-19 deaths even though they make up only 14% of the general population. And while med...