The Asian American consumer market is an influential, growing consumer segment that your brand should be paying attention to. However, you can’t simply target this market with your mass-market advertising campaigns and expect results. Now, we know what you’re thinking — why do I need a separate marketing campaign according to ethnicity? Aren’t all Americans Americans? Well, things are not that easy, friend. It’s not just about having a website in English and another in an Asian language — it’s a lot more nuanced than that.
How can your brand talk to the Asian consumer? What cultural norms and aesthetics do you take into account when creating Asian advertising campaigns? Does your brand even need to make an effort to reach this audience? These questions may appear difficult to tackle, but the answer is simple: it does. As the Asian-American consumer becomes more diverse and more important, marketers must understand the opportunities and challenges of reaching this influential demographic. To help you out, we are sharing five things to keep in mind when marketing to Asian consumers.
1. Learn who Asian American consumers are.
The Asian American consumer is a unique demographic that cannot simply be treated as the same. Their market is very diverse, and the different cultures have their own unique values and consumer behaviors. Different groups of people from Asia will have varying degrees of cultural familiarity, language proficiencies, and knowledge about the products you're selling. People who were born and raised in Asia might be more familiar with local brands, while first-generation immigrants may be more used to Western brands. Younger generations are usually more open to new products and experiences. Some people might speak English fluently or even as a first language, while others may prefer their native tongue. You should always consider what kinds of Asian consumers you’re trying to attract.
2. Asian Americans value their culture.
Asian Americans are more likely to pay attention to ads that reflect their culture. This is an exciting opportunity for companies looking to reach this demographic—but how do you make sure your ad resonates with Asian Americans? The most important thing is that you have an authentic voice. And when you know who you're talking to, it's easier for them to understand what you're saying. That said, not all Asian Americans are the same: There are several different subcultures within this demographic, and each one has its own language and customs. If you are speaking directly to a specific subgroup within the greater Asian American population, do your research so you can use terms that are authentic and meaningful. Beyond having an authentic voice, keep in mind that not all Asian Americans feel comfortable being labeled as such; they may feel more connected with their country of origin.
3. Asian Americans are enthusiastic consumers of Asian media.
The most important thing an advertiser should know when marketing to Asian Americans is that Asian Americans consume Asian Media. That's right, they watch TV shows in their own language, read newspapers and magazines in their own language and listen to radio shows in their own language. This might seem obvious to some, but the mistake many marketers make is not realizing how influential the Asian media is over the buying behavior of Asian Americans. If you're going to spend money on Asian American advertising, make sure it's where they will see it. The key here is understanding how each medium works best so you don't miss out on opportunities by not targeting your campaign appropriately.
4. Stereotypes can do you a disservice.
When it comes to Asian Americans, the old stereotypes are just that—old. Just like other racial and cultural groups, Asian Americans come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. They have a wide range of interests and hobbies. They have varying beliefs, religions, political leanings, and lifestyles. Trying to appeal to them with a blanket marketing approach or using outdated tropes will only alienate them and render your efforts ineffective. So don't lump them together in your messaging and avoid using stereotypes that portray Asian Americans as being all the same. They aren't. Instead, get to know your target audience and speak to their needs individually.
5. Asian American consumers support causes.
Asian American consumers care about all the same things that other American consumers care about—health and wellness, the environment, education, animal rights—and they expect companies to share those values. But it's not enough to have an Asian American-focused marketing strategy. The next step is to think about how you're going to convey your company's values, whether they're community-based or socially conscious. So how can your brand get involved? Find out what Asian American communities really care about—or what causes resonate with your own company—and find a way to make a difference. It might be as simple as sharing an article on Instagram or starting a conversation on Twitter. Or it could be as big as holding an event or donating a portion of your profits. The most important thing is to foster a culture of compassion and support in your marketing efforts.
The idea here is to help brands develop marketing campaigns that appeal to Asian American consumers. Hopefully, these five approaches will give you a place to start when developing your own campaign.