Top 5 Tips for Marketers during Chinese New Year 2019

Top 5 Tips for Marketers during Chinese New Year 2019

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by almost 1.5 million people in Australia. IDENTITY Communications, Australia’s largest multicultural marketing agency has 5 tips for marketers looking to cash in.

The Year of the Pig starts on Tuesday, 5 February 2019. Get ready for a sea of red and gold, paper cut pig icons, red packets, dragons, and gratuitous use of ‘8’ and ‘luck’ as marketers jostle for the lucrative Asian dollar. Examples of brands cashing in from last year include Chobani (above) and ANZ (below).

What’s wrong with red and gold?

It wouldn’t be in the festive spirit to deride these attempts as bad example of multicultural marketing. Overwhelmingly, ‘red and gold’  has been the approach of marketers and their multicultural agencies over the years. So basically everyone had done it to some degree.

It isn’t the wrong thing to do, but there are drawbacks, which has been best articulated by Alain de Botton.

“The problem with cliches is not that they contain false ideas, but rather that they are superficial articulations of very good ones” Alain de Botton.

5 ways to avoid being superficial in Chinese New Year marketing.

1. Demonstrate cultural understanding rather repeat cliches

Coca-Cola’s approach in 2017 was to put family reunion front and centre rather than default to the road often travelled of new year cliches. Apart from red, which is Coke’s corporate colour, the usual festive cliches have been dialed down.

2. Be confident to stand out

Can a brand win the hearts and minds (and wallets) of their customers without resorting to cliches or even promoting their brand. Against the sea of red and gold, Pokka, Singapore’s number one ready to drink tea beverage brand takes us back to what’s important during the new year, without gratuitous product placement.

3. Inject your brand into the Chinese New Year season

Apple highlights their phone’s product benefits in Chinese New Year commercials. Three Minutes, a Chinese New Year short film was shot on an iPhone X by director, Peter Chan. The tactic showcases iPhone X’s high quality video capabilities via Chinese New Year.

Vodafone’s unlimited calls to China for Chinese New Year campaign compared the ‘unlimited’ promotion feature with the seemingly unending Great Wall of China.

Disclosure: I worked on this Vodafone campaign at a previous multicultural marketing agency.

4. Don’t try to out-Chinese the Chinese

In all of the examples above, the brands weren’t trying to dial up cliches to demonstrate understanding. If you’re marketing to Australian-Chinese, it’s also important to recognise these migrants have come to Australia for a better life. Demonstrating this might take you further than repeating cliches.

While not a Chinese New Year campaign, IDENTITY’s TVC for client, SunRice reflects the the migrant experience – what could be a more uniquely Australian-Chinese experience than having your Australian neighbours over for dinner for the first time? SunRice has effectively claimed the territory of bringing their customers the best of both worlds, a point of difference their competitors can’t compete with.

5. Be inclusive

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by those in China as well as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea. The festive season is about reunion and inclusiveness, so marketers should also remember to include all cultures celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Brand should use the inclusive term of ‘Lunar New Year’ rather than making it just about China.

Vietnamese celebrate this festival also, they call it ‘Tet’. The commercial above by food brand Knorr for Tet in 2017 appeals to parents who yearn for their children to celebrate tradition in the face of encroaching Western culture. When their children asks for Pizza to celebrate the New Year, mum cleverly gets the family cooking banh chung, a traditional Tet food.

Cracking a $32b Consumer Segment

Cracking a $32b Consumer Segment

Sean Zhu, Identity Communication’s business analyst shines a spotlight on a potential audience that’s worth $32b. 

If you’re a marketer, I can recommend a group in Australia that is over 626,000 in size and contributes $32 billion to the Australian economy. They’re easy to reach as they’re concentrated in major cities. They’re young, most are between 18-26 years of age, are tech savvy, enjoy entertainment and travelling and embrace new experiences. They should be a marketer’s dream. But this group maintains a strong connection with the homeland and homeland media channels, so your ‘mainstream’ media may not get through to this large and lucrative group.

You’ve probably guessed, they’re International Students, a potential multicultural marketing segment for Australian brands.

International Student

The numbers are up….

International Student enrolment includes those studying in the Higher Education, VET, Secondary Schooling, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).


In 2017, there were 796,529 enrolments. This represents a 12% increase on 2016 and compares with an average annual enrolments growth rate of 4% per year over the preceding ten years.

Higher education a greater contributor

44% of international enrolments in 2017 are in higher education and 27% in vocational education (VET) out of the total number, with China and India being the two largest contributing countries.

VET: The VET sector accounted for 27.2% of total enrolments, India contributed the largest share of in the sector. China was the next largest source country followed by the Republic of Korea and Thailand.3

ELICOS: The English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector accounted for 19.4% of total enrollments in 2017. China was the largest ELICOS market followed by Brazil, Colombia and Thailand.

Higher education: The higher education sector had the largest share in 2017. China and India accounted for 53% of enrolment.
The larger proportion of Higher education means two things:
– Longer time spent in Australia which brings more opportunities for brands
– But they maintain their home networks including social channels, knowing they will return

Tuition Fees
International Students are not eligible for most of the scholarships or student loans and need to pay each semester in advance. Typically, the costs are:

  • ELICOS: $250 – $350 per week, 10-60 weeks
  • VET: $1,000- $20,000 depends on the degree and institution
  • Higher education: The average tuition fee for undergraduate students is around $29,000 per year; Master’s degree ranges from $20,000 to $37,000.
    For example, an International Student studying a Bachelor degree of Marketing and Media (3 years full time) in Macquarie University, the estimated annual fee is $36,450. These fees tend to increase each year.

Geographically concentrated on NSW & VIC

NSW and VIC is home to nearly 70% of international students. And in NSW and VIC, International Students make up one in three students at many universities.

Opportunities:

  • This is a young group of consumers, perfect for entertainment, travel, banking, FMCG, food & beverage and beauty brands
  • Reach these audiences via their preferred channels, such as WeChat, Weibo, YouKu, to name a few
English language proficiency as a criterion in audience selection

English language proficiency as a criterion in audience selection

Audience size and English language proficiency are often the two most critical selection criteria for multicultural marketing campaigns. IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency agrees, and disagrees. Here’s why…

The audience selection for multicultural campaigns can be a little formulaic. Pick the largest language population for a particular demographic (age, gender etc), then consider their English proficiency as a way of further ranking them. For example, if the campaign targets all people 18yo+ then multicultural marketers might pick the largest 20 language groups in Australia, then they’d rank them by the proportion with low English language proficiency (those who claimed to speak English “poorly” or “not at all” when they answered the 2016 Census).

Use the table below to rank/sort languages by the respective columns – currently it’s ranked by groups with the lowest ratio of English proficiency.  On top that is Marra, an Australian Aboriginal language spoken in the Northern Territory around the Roper, Towns and Limmen Bight Rivers. Of eight people who speak Marra at home, 75% claimed to have low English language proficiency. Rounding out the top 3 are Zomi and Rohingya, mainly spoken by migrants from Myanmar.

LanguageTotal% Low Eng
Marra875%
Zomi 1,105 60%
Rohingya 2,245 56%
Warramiri1856%
Chin Haka 4,806 52%
Karen 10,271 51%
Ritharrngu2540%
Wagiman1937%
Hazaraghi 22,270 37%
Mongolian 2,144 34%
Mon28234%
Khmer 35,428 33%
Gooniyandi13833%
Korean 108,999 32%
Ngarinyman23231%
Hmong 2,451 31%
Vietnamese 277,405 31%
Murrinh Patha 1,971 31%
Wu 3,383 31%
Chaldean Neo-Aramaic 17,170 31%
Tibetan 1,474 30%
Dari 30,437 28%
Pintupi14728%
Uygur 1,023 27%
Lao 9,981 26%
Mandarin 596,713 26%
Burmese 16,320 26%
Timorese49926%
Uzbek52426%
Wergaia1225%
Cantonese 280,947 25%
Hakka 8,986 25%
Kirundi (Rundi) 3,098 25%
Acehnese10625%
Georgian19724%
Javanese7424%
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic 28,349 23%
Auslan 10,114 23%
Pashto 9,232 23%
Tatar11023%
Kurdish 6,202 22%
Anuak24022%
Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)87921%
Galpu9021%
Thai 55,446 21%
Luritja95621%
Mandinka57920%
Ngaliwurru2520%
Ngaanyatjarra 1,113 20%
Tigre17120%
Lingala30020%
Tigrinya 4,578 19%
Oromo 3,045 19%
Loma (Lorma)7419%
Min Nan 17,907 18%
Turkish 58,354 18%
Persian (excluding Dari) 58,315 18%
Somali 14,176 18%
Dinka 12,700 17%
Djambarrpuyngu 4,286 17%
Belorussian18817%
Moro (Nuba Moro)19417%
Bosnian 15,830 17%
Serbian 53,802 17%
Kpelle1817%
Dhanggatti3716%
Arabic 321,723 16%
Albanian 9,177 16%
Pitjantjatjara 3,127 16%
Macedonian 66,020 16%
Greek 237,586 16%
Romany16516%
Mann9016%
Japanese 55,969 15%
Lardil6515%
Ewe54215%
Russian 50,318 15%
Nuer 2,154 14%
Tetum 1,105 14%
Kaytetye12014%
Turkmen33214%
Madi93414%
Balochi25514%
Fulfulde52814%
Warlpiri 2,305 14%
Alyawarr 1,548 14%
Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian, so described 6,066 13%
Cypriot, so described24713%
Nyamal3013%
Wagilak2313%
Gupapuyngu14713%
Ndjebbana (Gunavidji)17813%
Italian 271,598 13%
Croatian 56,888 13%
Yumplatok (Torres Strait Creole) 6,172 13%
Yankunytjatjara41913%
Portuguese 48,853 13%
Liyagalawumirr4813%
Kune17812%
Na-kara5712%
Mandaean (Mandaic)16312%
Nunggubuyu27812%
Rembarrnga4112%
Bilinarra4112%
Acholi 1,091 12%
Swahili 11,465 12%
American Languages11812%
Amharic 6,811 12%
Bari85412%
Harari57511%
Shilluk23211%
Aromunian (Macedo-Romanian)4511%
Daatiwuy3611%
Yinhawangka3611%
Azeri44211%
Spanish 140,818 11%
Dan (Gio-Dan)22011%
Armenian 10,193 11%
Kiwai3711%
Latin30711%
Walmajarri28011%
Nepali 62,004 11%
Polish 48,080 11%
Hausa20011%
Kunwinjku 1,711 10%
Ukrainian 7,680 10%
Punjabi 132,490 10%
Kriol 7,153 10%
Balinese19610%
Bassa7910%
Basque7010%
Finnish 5,967 10%
Kalaw Kawaw Ya/Kalaw Lagaw Ya95610%
Western Arrarnta43910%
Romanian 12,951 10%
Hungarian 19,895 9%
Gujarati 52,889 9%
Eastern Arrernte3899%
Tamil 73,162 9%
Gurindji4009%
Burarra9969%
Tokelauan9549%
Tongan 17,694 9%
Indonesian 67,894 9%
Urdu 69,300 9%
Dhuwaya3369%
Czechoslovakian, so described1639%
Mayali1458%
Sindhi 1,593 8%
Yawuru618%
Liberian (Liberian English)2498%
Manyjilyjarra3138%
Samoan 44,869 8%
Malayalam 53,206 8%
Ngarinyin388%
Oriya7238%
Meriam Mir2198%
Bulgarian 2,680 8%
Bengali 54,565 8%
Krahn677%
Slovak 5,435 7%
Themne687%
Kuninjku557%
Warumungu3177%
Mangala697%
Telugu 34,433 7%
Maltese 31,987 7%
Malay 17,942 7%
Nyangumarta2147%
Paakantyi437%
Yiddish 1,499 7%
Wangurri597%
Iban617%
Dhalwangu617%
Nyikina617%
Krio 2,529 6%
Anindilyakwa 1,485 6%
Slovene 4,088 6%
Kukatja1306%
Czech 7,931 6%
Bikol1186%
Bardi3216%
Martu Wangka7276%
Gilbertese3896%
Djapu856%
Maori (Cook Island) 5,109 6%
Estonian 1,848 5%
Mauritian Creole 4,200 5%
Sinhalese 64,606 5%
Ganalbingu595%
Catalan4405%
Kannada 9,706 5%
Marathi 13,056 5%
Lithuanian 2,003 5%
Maung3755%
Hindi 159,653 5%
Kashmiri2135%
Bisaya 4,063 5%
Tiwi 2,043 5%
Luo1344%
Mudburra904%
Akan 3,094 4%
Pampangan2504%
Konkani 2,416 4%
Gumatj1164%
French 70,872 4%
Wajarri1464%
Dhivehi5444%
Rotuman3604%
Wik Mungkan4464%
Cebuano 2,821 4%
Tulu5864%
Seychelles Creole5224%
Igbo 2,033 4%
Tok Pisin (Neomelanesian) 3,743 4%
Latvian 2,951 4%
Hebrew 10,343 4%
Icelandic2854%
Fijian Hindustani 2,708 4%
Nauruan3153%
Ga2313%
Luganda4933%
Yindjibarndi3773%
Fijian 8,143 3%
Swedish 8,955 3%
Nyanja (Chichewa)4193%
Tagalog/Filipino 182,498 3%
Norwegian 2,902 3%
IIokano5623%
Guugu Yimidhirr7733%
Nyungar4773%
Gamilaraay1033%
Aboriginal English, so described6543%
Ilonggo (Hiligaynon)6973%
German 79,357 3%
Ngarrindjeri3173%
Tuvaluan2483%
Jaru2193%
Gaelic (Scotland) 1,007 3%
Niue7883%
Maori (New Zealand) 11,751 3%
Kuku Yalanji3242%
Motu (HiriMotu)6912%
Assamese3742%
Dutch 33,836 2%
Garrwa1312%
Tswana4472%
Danish 5,780 2%
Irish 1,946 2%
Swiss, so described7092%
Zulu6672%
Kuuk Thayorre2062%
Norf'k-Pitcairn 1,033 2%
Wangkatha2242%
Shona 11,040 2%
Wiradjuri4572%
Afrikaans 43,748 2%
Ndebele 1,366 1%
Yoruba 2,462 1%
Welsh 1,689 1%
Bemba7841%
Solomon Islands Pijin2941%
Bislama2610%
Kija1640%
Xhosa1580%
Miriwoong1530%
Adnymathanha1410%
Kikuyu1380%
Iwaidja1240%
Bandjalang1150%
Banyjima1060%
Gumbaynggir900%
Gudanji850%
Wambaya600%
Yorta Yorta600%
Gun-nartpa550%
Frisian530%
Kaurna510%
Wardaman500%
Djabugay490%
Letzeburgish470%
Gurr-goni460%
Girramay460%
Gundjeihmi450%
Karajarri430%
Bunuba380%
Yanyuwa370%
Ngarluma370%
Dharawal290%
Ngan'gikurunggurr270%
Narungga270%
Warlmanpa260%
Jingulu240%
Yidiny220%
Bidjara220%
Yugambeh220%
Batjala210%
Waanyi200%
Rirratjingu190%
Kartujarra190%
Kariyarra190%
Wubulkarra170%
Kukatha170%
Muruwari160%
Marrithiyel150%
Yulparija150%
Larrakiya140%
Yapese140%
Wurlaki130%
Liyagawumirr120%
Wangkajunga120%
Arabana120%
Madarrpa110%
Malak Malak100%
Koko-Bera100%
Tjupany100%
Kayardild100%
Jawoyn90%
Worrorra90%
Wunambal90%
Dyirbal80%
Githabul80%
Maringarr70%
Kuuku-Ya'u70%
Palyku/Nyiyaparli70%
Keerray-Woorroong70%
Marrangu60%
Kanai60%
Malngin50%
Alawa40%
Manyjalpingu40%
Gudjal40%
Wangkangurru40%
Guyamirrilili30%
Gurindji Kriol30%
Ngardi30%
Eastern Anmatyerr30%

When English proficiency is used, language groups such as Hindi, Punjabi and Tagalog/Filipino are often excluded. This makes sense for mass awareness campaigns because these groups are able to access information via ‘mainstream’ comms. In Australia, cultural media are relatively limited compared to mainstream options, so these groups are more likely to be exposed to campaign messaging via mainstream channels.

But what if we wanted to go beyond driving awareness? What if we wanted to drive consideration and action?

Even  groups with very high English language proficiency, advertising in-language, in either ethnic media or mainstream media, has a positive effect in terms of awareness, trust and likelihood to buy, according to a new US study by the Cultural Marketing Council (CMC). Their report, Digital Lives 2018: A World of Digital “Everything” Through a Cultural Lense found “ads placed on platforms with cultural content have more power across ages and languages… Spanish-language ads – even in mainstream sites – create more engagement with Hispanics. The CMC conducted an online quantitative study of 3,500 total 13 to 49-year-old respondents with equal representation of non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic African-Americans (NHAA) and Hispanics (HISP), as well as in-home qualitative among 15 respondents.

Culture Marketing Council 2018 Digital Lives Whitepaper

As can be seen in the image above, placing Spanish-language advertising on sites with content for the Hispanic community will lead to this audience paying more attention to the product, trust that brand more and ultimately more likely to buy that product. The results were similar regardless of whether the language on that site was in Spanish or English. Similarly, placing advertising on a site with African-Americans content, although the site is in English, dramatically increases the likelihood of purchase.

What does this all means? Well, if it’s a simple information campaign which doesn’t involve consideration and behaviour change, and you’re spending a decent budget on ‘mainstream’ channels, then translated advertising placed in cultural media may not be essential for groups with high English language proficiency such as those born in India and the Philippines.

But… if you are a car brand who want to stand out in a competitive market, it makes a lot of sense (and dollars) to use cultural media to build awareness, trust and consideration for your brand.

And that’s why our media planners used Indian media for the Sonata campaign for client, Hyundai.

Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

Have questions? Send us an email, we’d love to hear from you. 

Super Saturday Federal By-Election 2018 – Top Languages

Super Saturday Federal By-Election 2018 – Top Languages

IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency takes a quick look at the cultural diversity in these electorates.

July 28 is when voters in five federal electorates go to the polls in what’s being billed as “Super Saturday”. We’re staying away from the politics, but we can give you an idea of the cultural diversity of these seats that are in play.

Actually, in terms of cultural diversity at least, they’re not that diverse. This is particularly true for Mayo and Braddon where 91% of residents speak English at home, followed by Longman (88%), Fremantle (74%) and Perth (67%).

Italian speakers are shaping up as the largest cultural group in particularly in the West; Fremantle and Perth. Mandarin is second when you combine all five electorates, followed by Vietnamese.

Go for it, play with our table below and sort and search to your heart’s content!

LanguageFremantleMayoPerthBraddonLongmanTotal
Total14874114036815108997058160600697853
English11049912734510069488757140951568251
Italian41996744447683379723
Mandarin297429142312277058424
Vietnamese3131343289351963969
Cantonese8381202379672393637
Spanish119719211791222822975
Tagalog14601217241234812921
German7758287171624032883
Portuguese1790388519772766
French7992721023622592410
Croatian17264438320732247
Korean471281051353581941
Hindi394461011603091824
Filipino825123500812881815
Serbian8194681212461735
Japanese382166880472071685
Arabic47178886581501646
Greek17525692848981498
Polish390203732251271479
Afrikaans560232239823581471
Indonesian6896557730821450
Dutch3133222871572681346
Thai35678592741701269
Punjabi3546562222941141
Persian (excluding Dari)3974263013271103
Malayalam4522736131111971
Russian281983416184864
Tamil25734473424770
Samoan5843414649759
Urdu16995062030741
Non-verbal, so described2275927661113732
Macedonian66461008687
Gujarati25511330030628
Sinhalese241532375143624
Nepali11513467021617
Malay152243131226528
Burmese65539990477
Bengali1913232174441
Bosnian1686225714418
Hungarian996310314103384
Telugu127192061015377
Maori (New Zealand)119141097133377
Shona19211951136339
Min Nan869226310333
Inadequately described8464932669329
Auslan76503733103299
Swedish11542791734282
Swahili13412108913271
Turkish9210125324250
Chinese, nfd750149423247
Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian, so described1043115913237
Ukrainian20431511313232
Danish5651631832219
Czech862576420204
Romanian941365412190
Tongan6906699177
Hebrew3322100019171
Marathi35011086169
Maltese232867939167
Kannada27011874155
Amharic12012933154
Dinka9047098152
Southern Asian Languages, nfd276771226150
Somali0014900149
Khmer182045060143
Albanian13411743138
Finnish301328645136
Bisaya561523931126
Slovak5464569125
Mauritian Creole3608204124
Irish3077005114
Norwegian221351015109
Tigrinya0010000102
Estonian1845231199
Dari130780698
Hakka2905301297
Tok Pisin (Neomelanesian)1041776297
Latvian1545176787
Fijian8322124387
Cebuano587631086
French Creole, nfd160570783
Kirundi (Rundi)73060082
Welsh2419203875
Bulgarian1114370071
Lithuanian1316350068
Pidgin, nfd00036368
Bemba290315061
Australian Indigenous Languages, nfd111511121160
Lao116276355
African Languages, nec177230454
Karen5101302152
Kurdish100360051
Yoruba280961451
Krio230260049
Gaelic (Scotland)190951048
Slovene1010143947
Sign Languages, nfd1111601247
Nyungar230180045
African Languages, nfd200136345
Pashto120350044
Konkani160260044
Akan140244444
Ndebele21090838
Motu (HiriMotu)00003838
Mongolian90306037
Creole, nfd40185635
Bari140220034
Hazaraghi120240033
Igbo341512431
Chin Haka00303030
Other Southern Asian Languages30200028
Yumplatok (Torres Strait Creole)40301828
Zulu75130028
Seychelles Creole130130028
Armenian50160327
Tetum19030025
Nuer40220025
Nyanja (Chichewa)8090022
Fijian Hindustani00401721
Tulu00200020
Indo-Aryan, nfd6090920
Kriol00100819
Ilonggo (Hiligaynon)5030318
Maori (Cook Island)4000918
Eastern European Languages, nfd17000017
Dhivehi14060017
Nauruan00001717
Swiss, so described5400417
Balochi00160016
Azeri6080016
Mon-Khmer, nec00041015
Icelandic3000014
Aboriginal English, so described3000314
Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)8050014
Mandinka15000014
Moro (Nuba Moro)8090014
Oromo00130013
Fulfulde0090013
Yiddish00120012
Sindhi5000012
IIokano7000012
Timorese8000012
Bikol5400012
Lingala9000012
Czechoslovakian, so described0030011
Acholi10000011
Key Word Sign Australia0650511
Wu00100010
Catalan300009
Uzbek300069
Indo-Aryan, nec008309
Tibetan540009
Kikuyu603009
Luganda003049
Anuak0010009
Loma (Lorma)009009
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic300008
Mon300008
Javanese800008
Pitjantjatjara080008
Wiradjuri000088
Niue308038
Turkic, nec007007
Burmese and Related Languages, nfd005007
Hmong000707
Pampangan008007
Warlpiri000007
American Languages400007
Tokelauan000067
Solomon Islands Pijin000047
Papua New Guinea Languages, nfd0000107
Iranic, nfd000006
Southeast Asian Austronesian Languages, nfd600006
Torres Strait Island Languages, nfd000056
Wangkatha503006
Other Australian Indigenous Languages, nec030046
Gilbertese000046
Norf'k-Pitcairn070046
Latin000335
Other Southern European Languages, nec400005
Romany000005
Dravidian, nec005005
Other Southeast Asian Languages004005
Arrernte, nec050005
Other Eastern European Languages, nec000004
Southeast Asian Austronesian Languages, nec500004
Ewe400004
Madi300004
Tuvaluan000034
Celtic, nec003003
Frisian000033
Mandaean (Mandaic)000033
Oriya003003
Balinese300003
Other Eastern Asian Languages, nec000043
Ngarrindjeri030003
Wajarri003003
Tigre003003
Tswana003003
Xhosa300003
Liberian (Liberian English)005003
Pacific Austronesian Languages, nec003003
Oceanian Pidgins and Creoles, nec000033
Papua New Guinea Languages, nec300003
Invented Languages340003

Photo credit: Australian Electoral Commission.

Go beyond cliches and go places

Go beyond cliches and go places

If this story resonates with you, I think you have a career with Identity Communications – the intelligent multicultural marketing agency. Read on and you’ll see what I mean…

Over six years ago, way before Gangnam Style, I thought Australia needed an Asian pop music show on free-to-air TV. People scoffed. Today, SBS PopAsia is going strong on TV, online, mobile and digital radio, with over 1.3m followers on their Facebook page.

Fastastic Baby - Big Bang

Sure these songs are ultra pop with incredible talent, dancing and over the top production value. If you’ve watched Big Bang’s Fantastic Baby music video (images above and video below) you’ll be impressed by the big budget, epic production.

The naysayers had their doubts:

There just wasn’t enough Korean teenagers for a feasible audience.
WRONG. While there were a few thousand Korean teenagers in Australia back in 2011, Korean Pop (Kpop) was a phenomenon that was spreading across Asia, particularly South East Asia, China and Japan. The Kpop wave was infectious. So the potential audience in Australia includes local Koreans, Asian-Australian teenagers and also local teens.

It’s in Korean limiting the audience base.
The doubters warned that local teens wouldn’t get Kpop because the lyrics are in Korean. When I asked a local youth in Phnom Penh why Kpop was so popular in Cambodia when the songs are Korean, he shrugged and said “we don’t understand that much English and we like American pop. Kpop shows that Asians can be cool and sexy too”. A quick scan of SBS PopAsia’s facebook page today shows the diversity of the show’s fan base
.

These clips were available free on YouTube so why would this audience tune into a TV show?
On the surface, this objection made a lot of sense. I was confident the show would work because SBS PopAsia wasn’t just a two-hour TV show, it was a community. The avid fans of Kpop at the time thought they were the only ones in Australia who loved Big Bang, 2NE1, 2PM, Girl’s Generation and other Kpop groups. They were watching it on their own, on their laptop in the isolation of their bedroom. SBS PopAsia was the first Asian pop music show on free to air TV. It wasn’t a secret. To build engagement, for the first 6 weeks of the show, I managed the twitter account while other members of the team managed the Facebook page. Our purpose was to engage with the fans and encourage them to engage with each other, to build a thriving, exciting community. They also had a chance to interact with the show with selected viewer tweets and Facebook comments appearing on TV.

The other reason the fans told us they loved tuning in was that they could watch their favourite show on the big TV screen, in glorious hi-definition and pump the music loud through the lounge room audio system.

SBS doesn’t have a budget to pay for these music videos.
At the time, Australia was the #3 country in terms of illegal Kpop music downloading. In negotiation with the Korean music labels, we argued that SBS could build the Kpop market further via our TV show and they could commercialise it by setting up Australian iTunes stores. I had no real negotiation experience, but the logic was compelling enough for these music labels to agree to supply SBS with their music clips.

What’s the moral of this story?

At a superficial level, some may see challenges and it’s easy to find reasons to say ‘no’. Others can’t see past the surface. At Identity, we’re about insights not anecdotes. We believe a multicultural marketing agency shouldn’t speak in shallow cliches. Our team looks beyond to understand the real reasons that motivates our audience. Our recommendations come from considered strategy that have been built on available data and insights. 

Join Us

Due to a string of new business wins, we’re looking for a strategy/channel planner. Starting a pop music TV show isn’t a prerequisite, but a wide-eye curiosity and desire to understand “why” is a great start.

Our core behaviours, the ones we encourage you to employ daily, are also the ones you will be rewarded for. We’d love you to be:

  • Open-minded
  • Collaborative
  • Positive
  • Knowledgeable
  • Good

If this is of interest, call a taxi, Mr Taxi (watch the clip below) and submit your application here. It’s a great role and one that doesn’t come along everyday!

What products do new migrants need?

What products do new migrants need?

New migrants are an immediate source of potential consumers for your brand. Brenda Leung, Identity Communications Insights and Production Manager writes about some of the potential.

Australia has been a “nation of settlers” since the European settlements in the late 18th century. Since then, migration has been continuously a major contribution to the annual population growth of the country, resulting in a mix of various cultural and linguistic backgrounds in its population. In the past 5 years, there has been a significant change in the migration regarding the number of new arrivals and the origins of these settlers.

Apart from getting themselves familiar with and enrolled in various systems in Australia, what do our CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) consumers need? Do they need the same products as everybody else in Australia? Does every single product in the market suit the multicultural consumers? If not, what products are the most desirable in the multicultural market?

REAL ESTATE:  No matter how different the settlement plans are from individual to individual, searching for places to rent or purchase is one of the most significant steps of all migrants once they set their feet on the ground of a new country. Migrants from the same cultural backgrounds tend to cluster in the same areas creating a familiar environment. They also place high regards on peer-to-peer endorsement of services in their own language, which has created a niche industry of influencers. It is not surprising when you find out the Chinese speaking estate agents actually outnumber the English speaking in suburbs like Hurstville.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: migrants want to stay in regular contact with family and friends back in home. Naturally, migrants over-index for international calls (landline and/or with mobiles), SMS and various interactive and social media channels. Being heavy users of the telecom products could mean the multicultural consumers have to be price savvy. Coupling with the desire to retain the existing customers, bundled telecom products at special price offered by the service providers have become the focus to cater to the need of the multicultural segments.

CALD consumers are always on the lookout for new mobile phones with new features and functions. Changing handsets to keep up with the latest is common among the young age group. Key CALD communities that over-index in their intention to purchase or upgrade their mobile phones include Arabic (ix 145), Greek (ix 160), Mandarin (ix 120) and Punjabi (ix 112)1.

BANKING AND INSURANCE: While migrants stay in contact with their original homeland, they also look for a bright future with a sense of security in the new country. There is a desire for a well established and reliable financial institution that can help them to plan and grow their wealth, providing a brighter, more secure future for their family.

Young skilled migrants with a high education level and self-funded middle-class specialists have provided Australia strong skilled human capital and resources. Sound financial management and growing wealth are important for this CALD segment.

Banking products that help manage their financial needs along the settlement process will certainly be popular, including credit or debit cards, daily transaction accounts, wealth creation/investment products.

ANZ lunar new year 2018

ANZ Lunar New Year Campaign, 2018.

 

Buying property as the first home or investment with home loans offered from the bank to secure a financial future, or for the next generation, is not uncommon amongst CALD communities, so investment loans and packaged products are appealing to their “palate”.

New migrants show a greater propensity to setting up new businesses of their own. According to the 2018 CGU Report, on thrid of small and medium business owners in Australia are from a multicultural background2. Business loans products would be of interest to this entrepreneurial group.

Online money transfer is also one of the high demand services as it is common for the migrants to continue sending money back to support their parents/family back in their home country.

FMCG: With such diversity in the cultural backgrounds of the Australian population, it is important for retailers to cater for the need of the lucrative multicultural consumers. It is not uncommon to see special sections with various Asian, Indian, Halal and Kosher products on the shelves in the big supermarkets, or individual community grocery shops with focus put on unique cultural merchandise. With different cultural festivals or celebrations like Chinese New Year, Passover, Diwali, and more happening during the year, shop managers can see increases in sales for specific food products related to the cultural festivals at certain times. Brands are getting into the festive spirit with decoration and stocking popular items for the occasion such as watermelons (below).

Woolworths Cabramatta Lunar New Year 2018

Lunar New Year Woolworths Cabramatta

Spend on FMCG retailing amongst the CALD consumers displays a faster growth rate than the Australian born group. In the next 5 years, the Asian-born consumers will play an important role in the sales in the grocery sector, accounting for 57% of the total growth, with distinctive differences in food preferences. 32% of Asian CALD consumers’ grocery spend is allocated to fresh food when compared with 26% amongst the Australian-born consumers. They are also keen on the options of seafood, fresh herbs and healthier food in general. So meeting the needs of the Asian-born consumers is essential in developing new business opportunities. Brands that are in play and being able to connect with the Asian consumers through strategic communications will make their mark early on this growing group and obtain advantages over their competitors in enjoying the benefit of these lucrative and savvy consumers3

AUTO: Just like the FMCG sector, with the change in the demographic regarding the cultural backgrounds in the population mix of Australia, being aware of the need to reach out and engage with the CALD consumers is crucial to thriving vehicle sales. Different CALD groups have their own preferences when it comes to the choice of vehicles and brand preference from the home country. Different communities have different priorities when it comes to value, safety, performance and reliability. A recommendation through “word of mouth” from friends can often cut-through, so building brand awareness and preference with existing migrant groups can help. 
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1 Roy Morgan data, December 2017
2 CGU Migrant Small Business report, 2018
3 Asian-Born Australians Driving New Opportunities in Food Retailing, Nielsen Ethnic-Australian Consumer Report, June 2017