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. 
_________________________________________________
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

Ten things to consider when developing bespoke multicultural creative

Ten things to consider when developing bespoke multicultural creative

Tailoring your creative to specific multicultural audiences will deliver a 100% increase in engagement, says Thang Ngo. Marketers need to see the value in true bespoke multicultural creative to capture the attention of their entire audience.

Almost five million Australians speak a language other than English at home, according to the 2016 Census – up 20% from five years ago!

Brands looking for new growth opportunities are increasingly eyeing their multicultural marketing potential. But when the ‘rubber hits the road’, marketers and their agencies rightly devote time and resources to getting the media schedules right but often default to running their ‘mainstream’ creative assets when clearly bespoke creative would be considerably more effective.

How effective you may ask? We are seeing a 100% increase in engagement in some instances when culturally relevant creative work is introduced.

Advertising basics recognise the complementary contribution of media and creative in an effective campaign. But at the first creative development hurdle for their multicultural campaign, advertisers are often signing off on less effectiveness by running mainstream creativity.

Many clients think it’s too hard or costly to develop bespoke in-language creative for their brands, overwhelmingly opting to translate their existing ‘mainstream’ creative. I am sure that instinctively clients know that a lack of relevant creative reduces the performance of their campaigns.

Their media schedule might provide great reach and cost effectiveness, but the creative could turn the audience off.

Of course, one size does not fit all. Budget, timing and other factors come in to play in the real world. Here are some considerations that might help focus more attention to multicultural creative development:

  • Budget – If the marketing budget is limited, it might not be feasible to invest in bespoke creative because it might take a disproportionate share of the budget.
  • Timing – In-language creative often takes longer to produce, sourcing the right talent from a limited pool and translation lead time might complicate your logistics.
  • Creative capacity – There isn’t the breadth of creative and production talent compared to mainstream, so this may impact on the quality of the message you are crafting.
  • Collaboration – Consider if your current creative agency could work with a cultural consultant during creative concept and development.
  • Face to camera – If it’s just a voiceover, then consider re-voicing the commercial.
  • Customise static assets – TV production requires a larger budget, but if you’re doing a print advert that has talent, consider shooting the mainstream material with a mix of talent or shooting talent that’s from a relevant community for your campaign.
  • Product benefit – Particularly in the beauty category, a well-known culturally relevant talent may be the inspiration for this audience, so maybe subtitling is all that’s needed. However, if the benefits of a beauty product might be better demonstrated on someone with a skin tone similar to your target audience, the talent choice may not be appropriate.
  • Your brand – If you are a major multinational, and you’re investing a significant budget in media, is there an expectation that you should develop tailored creative for the target community?
  • Brand sentiment benefits – In an environment where creative is almost always translated from mainstream, consider the significant uplift in positive brand sentiment from investing in bespoke creative.
  • ROI – Brands that appreciate and focus on tailoring their creative to multicultural audiences will reap the benefit of a little extra investment. It’s advertising 101.

Ignore the importance of multicultural creative development at your own peril.

Thang Ngo is managing director at Identity Communications.

This article first appeared as an Opinion Piece in Marketing Magazine.

New Year Fun Continues…

New Year Fun Continues…

Just when you thought the new year fun was over…

Well it’s not. Some you you might have heard of Songkran in Thailand. If you haven’t then you really, really should look at the video below. It’s too fun for words.

What’s Songkran?
Songkran is a three day festival which celebrates Thai New Year which starts on 13 April 2018. April is the hottest month of the year so not surprisingly water features prominently. But it’s not (just) about getting wet and wild, when Thais throw water at you it’s not because they don’t like you and want to wet your best tourist clothes. The idea is to wash away back luck from the previous year so you can start the new year fresh.

But it’s just not Thais who celebrate new year at this time. Khmer, Lao and Tamil communities celebrate their new year at during this time also.

Where can you celebrate in Sydney?

Leumeah’s Wat Pa Buddharangsee in Sydney’s south west hosts one of the biggest Thai New Year celebrations in Sydney (above), with food stalls, opportunity to make offerings to monks and of course, it all ends with one big water fight – make sure you dress for fun.

Wat Phrayortkeo Dhammayanaram, Edensor Park (above) is where you should go for a delicious Lao new year. The food is soooo good.

If you want to celebrate with Sydney’s Khmer community, why to visit the Wat Khemarangsarm in Bonnyrigg.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s celebrate the New Year all over again.

Credits: main image Du Lich Thailand, videos noodlies Sydney food blog.

What creative should I use in my multicultural campaign?

What creative should I use in my multicultural campaign?

What creative should I use for my multicultural campaign?

The answer is easy, and not easy. Identity Communications, the intelligent multicultural agency, has some food for thought…

When it comes to a multicultural marketing campaign, marketers and their agencies rightly devote time and resources to developing the media schedule. When it comes to creative assets, clients think it’s all too hard or costly to develop bespoke in-language creative. Overwhelmingly clients translate their existing ‘mainstream’ creative.

Take for example, Bayer’s Elevit pregnancy multivitamin (below) targeting Chinese-Australian women. The investment on Youku Chinese video social media is significant, just about every pre-roll served this week uses either Elevit or Menevit material. In this case, the audio was left in English with text copy translated into Chinese.

Elevit multicultural marketing creative

Another example is our recent work for Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena Ultra Sheer (below). The mainstream creative, featuring Jennifer Garner, was subtitled into Chinese.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer - Chinese

A much rarer approach is developing bespoke in-language creative, particularly for TV. Reckitt Benckiser’s current campaign for Finish Quantum Ultimate dishwashing tablet (below) was developed and produced by Identity Communications especially for the Chinese-Australian audience. Concept and copy were developed in Chinese and translated to English for client feedback and approval. We sourced and selected local Chinese talent and shoot location. Judging by the comments across video and social media channels, the audience is resonating strongly with this bespoke creative approach.

Finish Quantum Ultimate Chinese TVC

Of course, it’s not one size fits all. Budget, timing and other factors come in to play in the real world. Here are some considerations that might help you decide:

  • Budget: if it’s a limited marketing budget, do you really want to spend 80% on creative and 20% on media?
  • Timing: in-language creative often take longer to produce, sourcing the right talent from a limited pool and translation lead time will add to your timeline
  • Creative capacity: there isn’t the breadth of creative and production talent compared to mainstream, so this may impact on quality
  • Collaboration: consider if your current creative agency could work with a cultural consultant during creative concept and development
  • Face to camera: if it’s just a voiceover, then consider revoicing the commercial
  • Customise static assets: TV production requires a larger budget, but if you’re doing a print advert which has talent, consider shooting the mainstream material with a mix of talent or shooting talent that’s from that community for your campaign
  • Product benefit: particularly in the beauty category, a well-known ‘mainstream’ talent may be the aspirational inspiration for this audience, so maybe subtitling is all that’s needed
  • People like me: then again, if the benefits of a beauty product might be better demonstrated on someone with a skin tone similar to your audience, maybe the ‘mainstream’ talent, especially if they aren’t well known, may not be appropriate
  • Your brand: if you are a major multinational, and you’re investing a significant budget in media, is there an expectation that you should develop tailored creative for the target community?
  • Brand sentiment benefits: in a world where creative is almost always translated from mainstream, consider the significant uplift in positive brand sentiment from investing in bespoke creative

We’re experienced in the creative scenarios outlined above. If you have a question about multicultural creative development please contact us.

A complete list of Lunar New Year Festivals in Sydney 2018

A complete list of Lunar New Year Festivals in Sydney 2018

Where are all the Chinese New Year Festivals in Sydney?

This year, Chinese New Year, Tet, Lunar New Year falls on Friday, 16 February 2018. 

While the City of Sydney’s “Chinese New Year” celebrations are the biggest – there are plenty of other festivals around town that also showcases the diverse Asian community in Australia who celebrate Lunar New Year, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.

There are at least 13 celebrations all across Sydney – Parramatta, Cabramatta, Hurstville, Chatswood and more.. 

Dragon and lion dancing, visits by the god of wealth, art exhibitions, fireworks and of course, lots and lots of food – the video below, from an earlier Lunar New Year Celebration in Hurstville, gives you a sense of the excitement and colour (video credit: noodlies).

Sydney’s 2018 Lunar/Chinese New Year festivals.

Wednesday, 7 Feb 6pm – 7.30pm: Ashfield Town Hall, Uncommon Feast, Lunar New Year 2018, Inner West Council
Usher in the Year of the Dog with a special literary event at Ashfield Town Hall. Join celebrated Asian-Australian writers Lachlan Brown, Wai Chim, Eileen Chong, Isabelle Li, and emcee Sheila Ngoc Pham, as they read from and discuss their work including themes of culture, identity and, of course, food. ‘The Uncommon Feast’ is a coming together to showcase writers who have intriguing commonalities and differences. The event will open with a live performance by Eugenia Teng playing the gu zheng (Chinese 26 string zither), and concludes with traditional Chinese tea and snacks, book sales and author signings. Free event, bookings essential.

Saturday, 10 Feb from 10am, Forrest Road, Lunar New Year Festival, Georges River Council
With the Council merger the Kogarah and Hurstville festivals have been merged into one large event located in Hurstville. As in previous years, the event will commence at 10.00am and run until 4.00pm with a variety of stalls, activities and community performances on stage. For the first time, we will introduce an evening program at Hurstville which will start with a vibrant street parade on Forest Road and a free night-time concert, including a spectacular stage show with a professional headline performance.

Photo credit: City of Sydney

Saturday, 10 Feb 4pm – 9pm: Saigon Place, Bankstown, Lunar New Year Festival, Canterbury-Bankstown City
The annual Lunar New Year Festival will transform Bankstown’s Saigon Place into a colourful centre of entertainment, in celebration of the Year of the Dog. Expect food, cultural exhibits and entertainment, eating competitions, dog tricks and best dressed dog competition, even fashion parades and of course, lion dancing.

Friday, 16 Feb, 4.30pm – 9:30pm: Centenary Square, Parramatta: Lunar New Year in Parramatta, Parramatta City
Sit back and enjoy beautiful traditional and contemporary cultural performances from China, Vietnam and South Korea, take part in interactive activities and workshops in Lunar Land, including calligraphy, lantern making, and cooking classes, and enjoy a Lunar feast at one of the many delicious food stalls. 
The event also features the family friendly Lunar Lounge, Lantern Garden installation, firecracker display, dragon and lion dances, and a fireworks finale at 9pm.

parramatta lunar new year

Photo credit: Parramatta City

Friday, 16 Feb 5 – 9pm: Lunar New Year Celebrations, Blacktown City Council

Chang Lai Yuan Chinese Gardens in Nurragingy Reserve will be adorned with colour as we prepare to ring in the Year of the Dog. Grab your family, friends and picnic blanket and join us for an evening of live cultural stage entertainment, food and market stalls, Paw Patrol Kids Show and jumping castle, free kids craft- lantern making, fan decorating, calligraphy, origami, lion dance and fireworks.

Friday, 16 Feb – Sunday 4 Mar: Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, City of Sydney
More than 1 million people will flock to 80 spectacular events in Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival, making it one of the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside China. Find your zodiac amongst the Lunar Lanterns popping up around the city and join the bustling crowds enjoying the flavours and sights of traditional celebrations in Chinatown. 
In 2018, Sydney will be illuminated by giant Lunar Lanterns representing the animal signs of the zodiac as we celebrate the Year of the Dog.

lucky chinese new year food 2

Saturdays, 17 Feb, 24 Feb, 3 Mar: Eastwood Plaza, Eastwood Ryde Lunar New Year Celebrations, City of Ryde
In 2018, the celebration of Lunar New Year reaches its 10th Anniversary and the organising committee is planning a bigger and better celebration to mark this great milestone!  Come along to three major events to celebrate the year of the Dog: Cooking competition is on Saturday 17 Feb from 10am, Lunar New Year Eastwood Night Markets is on Saturday 24 Feb from 4pm and Grand Celebration Day on 3 Mar from 11am.

Saturday, 17 Feb 4pm – 9pm: Dacey Gardens, Kingsford, Lunar New Year, Bayside Council
The event is a free family-friendly event featuring music, food, dances, workshops, traditional lion dances and heritage celebrations inspired by Asian and Chinese cultures.

READ: How to engage multicultural audiences for your brand via cultural festivals.

Saturday 17 Feb – Sunday, 4 Mar, Chinese New Year in Darling Harbour
Celebrate Chinese New Year in Darling Harbour’s hidden pearl, the Chinese Garden of Friendship. There are over 3 weekends of performances, demonstrations, workshops and tours. Slow down in a tai chi class, or experience acrobatic lion dancing, said to bring you good luck and fortune. Learn the ancient art of laughing from deep down inside or observe a traditional tea ceremony in silence. The kids will be entranced by watercolour painting and taking The Emperor’s Quest around the garden. They can also get creative decorating their own lantern to take home. $6 for adults, $3 children.

Friday, 23 Feb – Sunday 25 Feb, Fairfield Showground, Smithfield Rd, Prairiewood, Tet/Lunar New Year Festival, Vietnamese Community (Adults $7, Children $5)
Organised by the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA), this is an annual fundraiser for them and the largest Vietnamese celebration in the state, attracting over 60,000 visitors. This is the one to go to if you want to see how the Vietnamese celebrate new year (noodlies video round-up from the 2012 Festival below). 

Friday, 23 Feb, 3.30pm – 6pm: Lane Cove Plaza, Lunar New Year in Lane Cove, Lane Cove Council
Help bring in the Year of the Dog at this special Lunar New Year celebration. The event will include a host of live entertainment and activities including a Chinese lion dance, Japanese calligraphy performance, live music, creative workshops and more. Children will also receive their own lai see (lucky red envelope) for good luck.

Saturday 24 Feb, 10am – 5pm: Chatswood Mall, Chatswood Chinese New Year Festival, Willoughby Council
Chatswood’s Chinese New Year Celebrations will be held on Saturday 24 February 2018 in Chatswood Mall and The Concourse to celebrate the Year of the Dog. This year’s entertainment program includes the traditional and very popular Lion and Dragon Dances, Chinese Kung Fu, magic show, acrobatics, folk dances and much more. The official opening will be held at 11am in Chatswood Mall. More than 30 specialty stalls selling Chinese products and food, information and services in Chatswood Mall and The Concourse offering great retail and promotional gifts. 

Saturday, 3 Mar – Sunday 5 Mar, 9am – 4pm: Cabramatta Freedom Plaza, Lunar New Year Festival, Fairfield Council
A lower-key event compared to the Council’s huge Moon Festival, this one has a Vietnamese flavour. The cultural festivities, held in the Cabramatta CBD, will feature the God of Fortune, Lion Dancing and loads of exciting entertainment for the whole family. 

Enjoy!!!

The Identity Communications team wishes you all a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Dog.

PS. If you know of any other Festivals in Sydney, let us know!