Think more than just advertising when you’re planning a multicultural marketing campaign, writes Brenda Leung, IDENTITY’s Insights Manager. 

Below The Line (BTL) activities should be part of an integrated communication strategy, complementing Above The Line (ATL) components whilst being relevant and specific to the multicultural communities drivers. While ATL advertising is important in creating general awareness, a strategic non-media/public relations approach is critical to build credibility, understanding and engagement through positive environment and stakeholder participation.

An effective BTL campaign should be able to create a pull by identifying core drivers to create interest and drive urgency amongst the target audiences, encouraging action amongst the communities.

Why do BTL activities work well for CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) audiences?

When we understand the characteristics of CALD values, we will see the opportunities.

Diwali Federation Square

Diwali, Federation Square Melbourne. Image credit Indian Link

Collectivism is a predominant basic cultural element amongst many CALD communities. They value the importance of cohesion within social groups. Goals are more possibly achieved through collaborative efforts through participation from a group of people rather than individual. Understanding this mindset of “partnership” and “companionship” amongst CALD communities, group activities that involves group participation can be more effective.

Family orientated and communal group of people, especially the Asian and Middle East communities, tend to settle in suburbs that are highly populated with the people from their community, forming segregated communities. This provides location advantages in implementing local area engagement such as community/cultural events which are always taken as a chance to socialise with someone who shares the same cultural backgrounds.

Tapping into these local events is a key tactic to engage within the comforts of their environment. Taking ‘stall’ and sponsorship options at these festivals enables more effective engagement across a higher number of CALD community attendants. Some festivals attract over 100,000 people.

The presence at these local community/cultural events can be used to not only provide an official ‘information source’ of brands at grass root level, but also build awareness on ground and further drive responsiveness by engaging the target audience.

SBS Migrant Map

Credit: Where Australia’s immigrants were born, SBS

Other support tactics include multilingual letter box drop in local areas with large population size of target communities. CALD grocery stores also play a major role in information dissemination to large numbers of people. These stores frequently have bulletin boards where bi-lingual posters for local community residents are posted. Bi-lingual flyers are made available at the check-out counters for store visitors to pick up, or to be put in the shopping bags.

Community/Religious leaders and professionals are highly regarded by the CALD communities, who initiate engagement with new schemes, products and services, playing an important role during their process of decision making.

Influencer engagement can be done by identifying the key spokespeople from the community and engaging them to support key messages, providing a solid basis in building the credibility. Their presence at interviews and local events can provide the local and in-community face of the campaign to engage with the public.

The CALD audience are closely-knit groups of people, in conjunction with the ease and comfort factor in dealing with people within their network. Members in personal, community, religious or social groups are regarded as one of the most reliable sources of information. We want to get the target communities to engage with the campaign through creating greater understanding and awareness, subsequently it helps create a multiplier effect through word of mouth with friends and family.

There is visible dependency on own community media as a core information tool amongst the CALD communities, which should be leveraged. This kind of media outreach activities, such as media release and live reads, can significantly impact the success of changes in awareness and attitudes as the ethnic media are credible and trusted information sources.

CALD communities are passionate, and non-advertising tactics can facilitate an emotional connection with your campaign.