Think marketing to a multi-cultural audience is a niche opportunity?

Think again.

The 2011 Census revealed that one in four Australians are born overseas and another 43 percent have at least one parent that was born overseas.

With such a multicultural country at our fingertips it is important that businesses and advertisers learn to adopt certain practices and trends in order to appeal to different ethnicities.

According to Jon Potter, the CMO and EVP of Moet Hennessy in the USA, companies really need to develop strategies that integrate different cultures into the brand and theme of the product.

“Brands need to develop strategies that integrate them into part of the brand.”

There are many challenges when it comes to multi-cultural marketing however we have 5 easy to explore tactics that your company can adopt:

1. Provide Bilingual Marketing

Around 20 percent of the Australian population speak another language other than English. Of these different languages the most common are- Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese and Greek.

By creating advertising campaigns in another language other than English, you broaden your network and appeal to international clients and customers. Although most people speak English in Australia, when you appeal to your customers native tongue it also helps you to establish a connection with them and may separate you from the competition.

One thing to note however, when providing bilingual advertising campaigns is to ensure that it uses voices and values that are authentically portrayed.

Nely Galan, founder of the Adelante Movement states, “while many Latinos/Latinas love Sofia Vergara and Charo, most of us don’t look or sound like them. They are unique talents not to be manufactured and cloned over and over to serve a vision of Latinos to non-Latinos.”

2. Values and Behaviour 

Most customers choose to give their money to brands that effectively communicate and appeal to their lifestyle and values. When marketing to a multi-cultural audience, the policy is the same. However, it is worth noticing the subtle differences and habits between cultures.

For example, research from the Pew Center found that while use of social media is pretty consistent across many cultures, Latinos favoured Instagram whereas whites preferred Pinterest. These subtle differences can make a big impact when it comes to creating appropriate campaigns.

3. Entertainment and Music

Art is one of those things that doesn’t need explanation which is why music often has a mass appeal to a wide audience.

Certain genres of music also appeal to different cultures so doing some research in that field can definitely help market your products and services more effectively.

In fact, Potter claims that “for Hennessy, we’ve continually created partnerships with culturally relevant influencers such as Nas and Manny Pacquiao….Hip hop is big with Latino millennials. Latino youth are looking for inspiration and stories, and they find a lot of resonance with hip-hop culture, as well as our own Latino music, world and culture.”

4. Content Appeal

When targeting a different ethnic group, it’s not just good enough to have a bilingual campaign. In fact creating a blog or other marketing content that caters to your chosen ethnic group can definitely help draw in a wider audience.

“Content is a relatively untapped space and brands have an opportunity for creating meaningful content,” states marketing specialist, Nonie Carson from Perfomics.

This means that brands really have the potential to appeal and build trust with different cultures by providing relevant content such as videos, images and blogs.

One strategy that works for SBS, according to their head of marketing Helen Kellie is to “have journalists and production teams from those (ethnic) groups that helps us understand how to market to those groups.”

5. Perception 

Indian and Chinese communities are among the fastest growing in Australia, so learning how to cater your marketing campaigns to a diverse audience is imperative in order to stay relevant.

Many brands are understand the changing face of the Australian demographic but hardly anyone takes the opportunity to utilise it. In fact, Maryanne Tsiatsias from Telstra commented-

“Its whether you choose to take an advantage of the opportunity and whether you’re willing to take the risk…because it requires fundamental change of how you market.”

She continued that many of Telstra’s multi-cultural marketing strategies were built “from scratch” just because there wasn’t a lot of resources out there.

While catering to an ethnic audience may take time and research, here is a quick checklist you can use when approaching your marketing –

1. How will this campaign resonate with the family values of my audience?

2. How will my audience feel about this product/service? Will it appeal to their values/goals?

3. Am I fairly representing the community I am targeting?

4. Am I offering something of value and genuinely engaging my audience?

5. Is this campaign respecting my demographic and their culture?

6. Am I using the best medium to target my audience?

As Procter and Gambles marketing director for Australia and New Zealand, Sujay Wasan says-

“Multiculturalism has to be part of your DNA, your culture and structure. It gets fuelled and it gets momentum if you have a champion for it at the highest level of your business.”