5 Trends That Will Change Multicultural Marketing In Australia Forever

5 Trends That Will Change Multicultural Marketing In Australia Forever

IDENTITY Communications are predicting the multicultural marketing industry in Australia will change dramatically in 2017.  Here’s why.

We’re not talking about terminology and semantics which have changed over time such as NESB (non-English speaking background) and LOTE (languages other than English) being replaced by CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse), refugee with asylum seeker, ethnic marketing with multicultural marketing

Beyond descriptors, we believe there are five key trends in multicultural marketing that will change the industry forever. And it will happen in 2017.

Multicultural Marketing

1. Census 2016
The multicultural industry relies on Census data to quantify the size of the opportunity. Size and English language proficiency are two data points referenced frequently by multicultural agencies. While Census 2016 isn’t in itself a trend – it’s the trend in the data that will make a big splash.

We predict when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases the full 2016 Census data on 27 June, the multicultural opportunity will be more compelling than ever before. We’re predicting it will show the Chinese speaking community in Australia will pass 1 million people for the first time and that Mandarin, followed by Cantonese, will be the two most spoken languages in Australia (other than English). Our modelling suggests Australia’s population will increase by 11% between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses, however, the China-born population will increase by 90% during the same period.

2. Data, Insights & Strategy
While Census 2016 will help multicultural marketing agencies get in front of the client, the general lack of CALD data and insights to inform strategy will continue to be a major set-back. Roy Morgan, with relatively small migrant sample sizes, is of limited help. There are still no independent media consumption data sources for in-language print, radio and TV (most print publications are not audited) and consumer insight research is severely lacking for CALD audiences.

Similarly, it’s not enough to respond to a client brief with a media schedule. Those days are over. Clients expect data, insights and strategic thinking to inform the agency’s recommendations.

Multicultural marketing is more than translation and agencies that invest in data, insights and build up their strategic offering will gain a significant competitive advantage.

3. Collaboration & Consolidation
Multicultural agencies have tended to work independently of ‘mainstream’ media and creative agencies. That’s another agency in addition to media, creative, digital, PR, social and search agencies for a time-poor client to manage. There’s been a trend back to the full service agency model, and we believe it will impact the multicultural marketing sector. Multicultural agencies that understand how mainstream agencies work and can collaborate seamlessly, will reap the rewards. Similarly multicultural agencies that are part of a larger mainstream marketing communications group will benefit by being a part of that group’s comprehensive offering.

4. Shift from Traditional Media
The shift from in-language traditional media to digital, social and mobile is on. It’s no longer enough to spend the bulk of a client’s budget on ethnic print or radio channels. And increasingly, it’s not enough to recommend a couple of Facebook and WeChat posts as add-on. Programmatic, data, retargeting, building ‘look alike’ audiences, community management, influencer marketing, search and SEO are expertise that will distinguish successful multicultural marketing agencies from the also-rans.

5. Multicultural is dated?
Just as multicultural replaced ethnic, CALD replaced NESB, there’s an argument that multicultural is an out-dated concept. Supporters of the change argue that multicultural often refers to different ethnic backgrounds, but if we’re talking about embracing diversity what about sexual orientation, indigenous, age, ability, etc. In California, Latinos have outnumbered Whites since 2015 – what’s multicultural and what’s mainstream in this context? Rather than differentiating with multicultural, should we not look at cultural marketing that recognises similarities and differences? Some say polyculturalism should replace multiculturalism.

Whatever term we’ll end up using in the future, the undeniable truth is that cultural diversity is here to stay and clients are looking to their agencies for effective strategies to reach this valuable and growing market.

Thoughts?
That’s our view. Do you agree? Are there any other trends in multicultural marketing that you’ve picked up? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Sydney Water Appoints Identity Communications To Help It Connect With Multicultural Audiences

Sydney Water Appoints Identity Communications To Help It Connect With Multicultural Audiences

Campaign Brief, 8 March 2017

Sydney Water has appointed Identity Communications to its panel of creative, design and multicultural agencies after a competitive tender. The appointment is effective immediately.

Sydney Water is Australia’s largest water and wastewater provider, servicing almost five million people in Sydney, the Illawarra and Blue Mountains areas. Census statistics show that in Sydney one in three people speak a language other than English at home and Identity Communications’ key role will be supporting Sydney Water’s communications to its highly diverse customer base.

Identity Communications has been appointed to the multicultural agency roster, supporting the roll out of Sydney Water’s external communications program. A key focus will be to reinforce the high quality of Sydney’s water supplies delivered straight to people’s taps.

In appointing Identity Communications to its multicultural communications agency roster, Sydney Water was impressed with the agency’s digital communications and social media capabilities.

Part of the IPG Mediabrands group of businesses, Identity Communications will be working with other Mediabrands agencies to deliver a comprehensive communications program for Sydney Water. These agencies include data, technology and insights business Cadreon, socially-led marketing agency Society, as well as activations and brand experience agency Ensemble.

Says Thang Ngo, managing director, Identity Communications: “Multicultural audiences are highly digital, very mobile and have deep engagement with content that is relevant to them. This is an area where Identity works 24/7 and we are looking forward to our assignment with Sydney Water.”

Identity works with a range of government and commercial clients. In 2016 the agency’s work for Meat & Livestock Australia was recognised with two Australian Multicultural Marketing Awards for excellence in communications.

IDENTITY Communications Scores TVB Award

IDENTITY Communications Scores TVB Award

IDENTITY multicultural marketing agency starts 2017 in winning style

Only a few months after winning two AMMAs, IDENTITY Communications has been recognised with the Outstanding Branding Image Award 2017 by TVB Australia.

TVB says “the award is given an agency with new and innovative ideas which has lead to positive branding awareness amongst TVB Australia viewers”.

TVB is the largest Chinese and Vietnamese media platform in Australia, boasting over 160,000 daily viewers via household and commercial subscribers. Operating in Australia since 2000, it is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Television Broadcast Limited, one of the largest producers of Asian dramas and content, which is widely distributed in Australia, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

TVB IDENTITY Award

“Strategic thinking and innovation are in our DNA and I’m really happy the IDENTITY team’s hard work has been recognised by the industry and our multicultural media partners” said Thang Ngo, IDENTITY managing director.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary present to mark my 12 months leading one of the top multicultural marketing agencies in Australia”.

IDENTITY Communications is a specialist multicultural marketing agency and is part of the global IPG Mediabrands network.

MLA CAMPAIGN WINS AT 2016 AMMAS – B&T Magazine Media Coverage

MLA CAMPAIGN WINS AT 2016 AMMAS – B&T Magazine Media Coverage

B&T Magazine, 7 December 2016

The winners of the 2016 Australian Multicultural Marketing Awards (AMMAs) were revealed at the Sydney Opera House last night, with the latest lamb campaign by Meat & Livestock Australia and independent agency The Monkeys receiving a double dose of recognition with two gongs.

The ‘Bringing EVERYONE together over lamb’ campaign, which also had contributions from UM, One Green Bean and Identity, won the Communications category as well as the People’s Choice Award.

SBS Radio and Access Community Services were the other big winners on the night, both receiving two awards.

SBS Radio took out the Communities category for its SBS Arabic24 station and the Youth category for its National Languages Competition, while Access Community Services won the Business Diversity award for its ‘#OurStories campaign’ and the Arts and Culture award for its Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre.

Telstra denied Access Community Services a third award win with its ‘A place to belong’ indigenous recruitment campaign in the Big Business category, while Why Documentaries won the Small Business award for its film From Foe to Friends.

Western Sydney University’s popular ‘Unlimited’ campaign featuring Sudanese refugee Deng Adut claimed the Education category, while Cricket Australia won the Sport category.

The Public Sector award went to the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service and the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service for their multi-platform campaign which aimed to raise awareness of organ tissue donation among the state’s different cultures.

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, John Ajaka, said the outstanding quality of this year’s winners is a testament to all the creativity and imagination of marketing and advertising professionals who are breaking barriers and promoting diversity on screens and across society.

“The large spike in nominations this year is a testament to marketers increasingly exploring the Australian identity in new and innovative ways,” he said.

“I congratulate all the winners and finalists for their vision, passion and commitment to their field.”

IDENTITY is a specialist multicultural marketing agency that is part of IPG Mediabrands.

IDENTITY Scores Two Awards At The 2016 AMMAS: Mumbrella Media Coverage

IDENTITY Scores Two Awards At The 2016 AMMAS: Mumbrella Media Coverage

Meat & Livestock Australia’s diversity work wins at Multicultural Marketing Awards

By Simon Canning,
Mumbrella, 7 December 2016

Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) controversial spring lamb ad which called on Australians to come together over lamb has won the People’s Choice award at the 2016 Multicultural Marketing Awards.

The ad, by The Monkeys, opened with the statement that too many “perky white males” were contributing to a lack of diversity on TV screens.

It went on to feature people from diverse backgrounds, including Indigenous Australians, Indians, Greeks and people from the LGBTQI communities.

The ad was the focus of a series of complaints by viewers, some of which claimed it was ‘racist against white people’. All complaints were subsequently dismissed.

MLA’s campaign also won the Communications award.

During the awards presentation, SBS presenter and Logie Award nominee, Lee Lin Chin, declared she was “Australia’s best Asian” in a tongue-in-cheek video promoting SBS’s new cultural training courses.

Other winners on the night included Telstra, Cricket Australia and Western Sydney University for its ‘Unlimited’ campaign.

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, John Ajaka said the awards were a celebration of marketing that embraced all communities.

“The outstanding quality of this year’s winners is a testament to all the creativity and imagination of marketing and advertising professionals who are breaking barriers and promoting diversity on our screens and across society,” Ajaka said.

The full list of winners:

  • Communications – Meat & Livestock Australia, The Monkeys, UM, One Green Bean and Identity, ‘Bringing EVERYONE Together Over Lamb’
  • Public Sector – NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service and NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, ‘Life Giving Stories: ‘Storytellers on the Ultimate Gift of Life’ Multiplatform Strategy Organ Tissue Donation Multicultural Campaign
  • Big Business – Telstra, ‘A place to belong/Indigenous Recruitment Campaign’
  • Small Business – Why Documentaries, ‘From Foe to Friends’
  • Business Diversity – Access Community Services, ‘#OurStories Campaign’
  • Arts and Culture – Access Community Services for the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre
  • Sport – Cricket Australia, ‘A Sport for All – Cricket Campaigns’
  • Communities – SBS Radio, ‘SBS Arabic24’
  • Education – Western Sydney University, ‘Unlimited Campaign’
  • Youth – SBS Radio, ‘National Languages Competition’
  • Peoples’ Choice Award – Meat & Livestock Australia, The Monkeys, UM, One Green Bean and Identity, ‘Bringing Everyone Together Over Lamb’


IDENTITY is a specialist multicultural marketing agency that is part of IPG Mediabrands.

Multicultural Festivals: How To Engage More Effectively

Multicultural Festivals: How To Engage More Effectively

A bit of common sense and strategic thinking will go a long way…

Multicultural marketers will have been here before. Their agencies recommend activations at cultural festivals to engage with potential customers.

The most common cultural festivals recommended by multicultural agencies are Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year or Tet for Vietnamese migrants. Other festivals most commonly put forward include Moon Festival and Diwali.

These are colourful events. The larger ones attract over 100,000 attendees. The City of Sydney is said to be the biggest Lunar New Year celebration in the Southern Hemisphere.

The recommendations are usually based on reach – lots of attendees gives means you’ll drive awareness and sales for your product/service. Banks, telcos in particular are regular fixtures at these festivals, with special offers, brochures, lucky envelopes and staff engaging with the crowd.

How to make your brand stand out?

In the ultra-competitive banking segment, I’ve help St.George to boldly break away from the crowd and grab 100% share of voice. Instead of sponsoring, say the Willoughby Chinese New Year Festival and fighting it out with the other banks on the day, we created our own Lunar New Year event.

St.George Australia’s Longest Lunar New Year Table set a national record. 66 lucky members of the Sydney Chinese community were treated to a VIP experience, joining the Willoughby Mayor for a 10 course feast by world renowned Chinese restaurant, Din Tai Fung.



This activation delivered 100% share of voice and a unique experience which created buzz and excitement. It positioned the challenger brand as an innovative and clever bank that could successfully engage the community at a bigger scale and greater depth.

How do we know if a festival is right for my brand?

Bigger festivals aren’t necessarily better. There are a range of other cultural festivals in Australia that may be more appropriate for your brand, creating a deeper connection and greater cut-through.

Canterbury Bankstown Children's Festival 2016

Recently Transport for NSW engaged IDENTITY to help communicate the potentially life saving message of seatbelt use and the correct use of child restraints. Newer migrants come to Australia with different experiences and rules around the use of child restraints and seatbelts. Additionally, the right child restraint changes with age, so it was important to bring this message to the community.

Canterbury Bankstown Children's Festival 2016

Instead of a typical Lunar New Year festival, we recommended the Canterbury-Bankstown Children’s Festival. In its 18th year, this is Australia’s largest multicultural children’s festival with over 10,000 attendees. Children and their safety would be top of mind for many festival attendees, providing less wastage.

With a life-sized displayed unit, a knowledgeable Transport for NSW demonstrator and translators, we were able to explain the importance of the use of seatbelts and child restraints. We backed this up with in-language brochures.

Canterbury Bankstown Childrens Festival

While the parents were getting a demonstration, we entertained their kids with seatbelt colouring in activity.

It worked too. The client said this was the most engaged child restraint activation across mainstream or multicultural. But the best measure of success is the client’s confirmation that they want to be involved again next year.

So multicultural festivals don’t have to be the ‘biggest’ and most obvious ones. Marketers and their multicultural marketing agencies should consider other events that may be a better fit for your brand.

Thang Ngo is managing director of IDENTITY Communications, the intelligent multicultural marketing agency.