Any marketer who doesn’t recognise the value of multicultural consumers is missing a great opportunity. The ethnic population in the UK are a well-educated and a loyal one. If the industry can reach out to them and show them the relevancy of their products and services, they will stick with that brand for the long run. If marketers have the right insight, a strong message and an effective plan to communicate they can have a very positive impact on these diverse audiences, however it is crucial that there is a diligent planning process in place, rather than simply checking off a list of media strategies under ‘ethnic’ campaign.
Companies should consider whether they need to reach English or multicultural consumers and the geographic location and country of origin. It’s also important to factor in the bi-cultural population – younger ethnic consumers navigate comfortably between their culture and the general market. It is simply not enough to translate a general marketing message. Brands should understand and respect the market’s cultural and geographic diversity and precisely identify the target consumer.
Consider the example of an Asian family consisting of a 35-year-old male married to a 28-year-old lady with two young children. They wake up in the morning speaking Hindustani or Punjabi, eating Asian foods and listening to Asian radio or watching Asian TV. They dress in Asian clothes in the weekend and take their children to the temple or mosque to attend language and cultural classes to absorb their culture. When they go into the workplace, the UK culture begins to dominate. But if Mum is shopping for food or clothes for her family, the Asian cultural triggers become very important and relevant.
Most importantly, it’s critical to think about the different ethnic cultures and adjust your message accordingly and commercially speaking, targeting specific communities with specific products could greatly increase your profit margins without increasing your marketing budget by being diligent with your budget allocation. An example of this is the fact that most Afro-Caribbean and African women residing in Britain spend an average (6x), six times the amount of money on hair and beauty products than their mainstream peers ), that is 6 bottles of shampoo or moisturiser for every bottle bought by a mainstream customer), and yet very few beauty and hair campaigns effectively reach out to this lucrative audience. If the product suited the market and marketing budget was redistributed fairly this could mean a higher return for brands.
Targeting ethnic media should have the same rigor as that seen for the mainstream and should be a result of the insights and planning to create campaigns that are targeted, effective, engaging and deliver ROI.
A recent survey carried out by Think Ethnic showed that advertisers in ethnic media get better ROI when compared with mainstream campaigns. But ultimately both agencies and our clients need to be sure that their messages reflect the culture they are targeting so that the consumer feels “this brand cares about me”.