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.

Debunking The Myths Around Multicultural Australia

Debunking The Myths Around Multicultural Australia

Over the years, so many “facts” have been casually dropped about Australia’s migrant population that are just wrong.

Here’s a quick guide that might come in handy at the water cooler or BBQ stopper (with the help of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census).

All Arabic speakers come from the Middle East

Wrong. Two in five (41 per cent) of Arabic speakers were born in Australia, while the next largest countries of birth for Arabic speakers are Lebanon (23 per cent) followed by Iraq (9 per cent).

All Arabic speakers are Muslims

While 52 per cent of Arabic speakers in Australia nominated Islam as their religion in the last Census, 42 per cent practised Christianity. And I have it on good authority that all Muslims aren’t terrorists. If we’re talking about the proportion of communities who nominated their faith as Islam then some of the highest proportions are Urdu speakers (96 per cent) and Turkish (88 per cent).

Cantonese = Traditional Chinese, Mandarin = Simplified Chinese

It’s a rough rule of thumb, but it’s wrong. In the 1950s, China “simplified” the written characters by reducing the number of strokes used. Given Mandarin is the official language of China, many equate Mandarin with Simplified Chinese.

That would ignore people from Taiwan who speak Mandarin and still use Traditional Chinese characters and the Mandarin-speaking diaspora who still use traditional characters. In Australia, over 90 per cent of the print publications are in Traditional Chinese with Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking readership.

The misunderstanding arises because the majority of Cantonese speakers are assumed to come from Hong Kong and they use traditional Chinese characters. In fact, according to the Australian Census, a quarter of those born in China, speak Cantonese — that means they speak Cantonese and use simplified Chinese.

Fact: Cantonese and Mandarin are spoken forms of Chinese, traditional or simplified Chinese are written forms. There isn’t a one-to-one correlation between the written and spoken Chinese.
And while I’m at it, Mandarin and Cantonese aren’t the only languages spoken by Chinese Australians; there are more than 51,000 people in Australia who speak other Chinese languages including Min Nan, Hakka and Wu.

All people from India speak Hindi

English is the most spoken language in the home for Indian-born Australians (28 per cent) closely followed by Hindi (26 per cent) and Punjabi (25 per cent) and Malayalam (9 per cent).

Italians live in Leichhardt

Wrong. Leichhardt’s postcode, 2040 ranks 8thfor Italian speakers in NSW. The top three postcodes are 2046 (Canada Bay), 2176 (Bossley Park, Edensor Park) and 2770 (Liverpool).

Twenty-five per cent of Australians were born overseas

Technically, it’s correct, but often used in the wrong context. According to the last Australian Census (2011), 5,284,502 Australians were born overseas, making up 25 per cent of the Australian population. But that includes Australians born in the UK, USA, Canada and NZ. Factually correct if that’s disclosed, but when used to support translating communications to migrants, it’s misleading (unless you have the urge to translate into Gaelic).

If we just looked at people who spoke a language other than English at home, the figure is 18 per cent. Not inflated but still respectable.

Forty-three per cent have one parent or both parents born overseas

Again, huge number but it’s misleading for the same reason.

There are so many rational reasons why marketers and governments should be communicating with Australia’s diverse population. But those reasons should be grounded in appropriate facts.

Originally published at SBS on June 3, 2016.

702 ABC Sydney Radio Cabramatta Outside Broadcast

702 ABC Sydney Radio Cabramatta Outside Broadcast

Live radio with 702 ABC Sydney’s Simon Marnie.

Live radio can be nerve racking as Thang Ngo from IDENTITY found out.

I had the awesome opportunity of co-hosting 702 ABC Sydney Weekends with the lovely Simon Marnie last Saturday for their outside broadcast in Cabramatta to celebrate Lunar New Year, 2016.

 

Two hours of fast paced, commercial-free, live radio. Simon was in his element, and I was on my toes the whole time. The team put together some fantastic content, looking at the old and new – with particular focus on the second generation.

 

And of course, when it comes to Simon and I, there’s always food. The pork roll segment with Vinata’s Hot Bread was hugely popular, over 8,000 views so far.