The Asian American consumer market in the United States is an influential and growing consumer segment that your brand should be paying attention to. However, you can’t simply target this market with your mass-market advertising campaign and expect results. Multicultural marketing requires research, hyper-targeting, careful media selection, strategic messaging, and a deep understanding of the audience you’re looking to communicate with.
Your brand needs to be intentional about reaching this crucial consumer audience. The question is: How can your brand craft Asian advertising campaigns that truly make an impact? At Refuel Agency, we’ve been executing strategic and impactful multicultural marketing campaigns for over 30 years. Here are five things you need to know when marketing to the Asian consumer audience.
1. Who is the Asian American consumer?
The day of mass-market advertising is over and brands need to be more skilled than ever at creating messages that specifically target multicultural consumer audiences. According to Mariko Carpenter, VP of Strategic Community Alliances at Nielsen, “The face of America is changing—more than 90% of the population growth in the US came from multicultural Americans. If you represent a company that serves the American public, multicultural (and Asian specifically as a part of that group) is where the opportunity lies.” It’s time for your brand to get empathetic, strategic, and targeted.
But where should you begin? Just like most consumer audiences, the Asian American audience in the US is a fragmented one—consisting of consumers that span age ranges, nationalities, media preferences, and languages. Creating a marketing strategy that resonates and influences as opposed to alienates and offends is a matter of understanding the nuances of the audience—and being able to creatively represent and speak to that understanding.
The Asian consumer audience in the US is 24 million strong, with a buying power of $1.3 trillion in 2020—and that’s growing rapidly. According to the U.S. Census, the Asian consumer audience in the U.S. are an amalgamation of those with heritage from more than two dozen countries, with an even larger diversity of cultures, languages, and multiracial lineages.
Additionally, Asian American have the highest growth rates in population (+39% from 2010) and spending power of any U.S. ethnic or racial group, while continuing to lead in household income ($93.8K) and education.
Read next: 6 Examples of Brands Who Got Multicultural Marketing Right
2. Asian Americans Have a Strong Sense of Tradition and Culture
Our recent Refuel Agency Asian Explorer Series™ study found Asian Americans hold strong ties to their culture. Three-quarters of respondents speak languages other than English in their homes, either part or all of the time. In fact, we found that only 25% of the time is English the sole language spoken.
And, while ads do not need to be presented in other languages, Asian Americans are 64% more likely to pay attention to ads that reflect their culture. Brands need to pay attention to this and apply culturally relevant creative to advertising.
3. Asian Americans Consume Asian Media
As a whole, Asian Americans pay attention when it comes to Asian media. Our research from the Asian Explorer Series™ shows that 8 out of 10 this audience consumes Asian media. While members of other multicultural consumer audiences prefer reading newspapers, listening to local language-specific radio programs, or watching TV, the Asian consumer audience has taken to the Internet. In fact, they’re the most active group online, spending an average of 35.2 hours online per week. Asian American consumers also out-index the average U.S. population when it comes to device connectivity—91% of Asian Americans have a computer (over-indexing the U.S. by 14%), and 96% of Asian Americans have a smartphone (over-indexing the U.S. by 7%).
Additionally, Asian consumers are passionate consumers and reviewers. According to MRI-Simmons 2021, 82% read online reviews when considering a purchase, 60% recommend food products and 35% are eager to share their technology opinions.
When it comes to reaching your Asian target audience, you need to make use technology.
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4. Steer clear of stereotypes
The biggest mistake you can make when crafting your messaging, creative, and strategy for your multicultural marketing campaigns is to rely on stereotypes to relay your message. According to Refuel’s 2021 Multicultural Explorer™ study, only 31% of Asian Americans feel that their ethnicity is portrayed accurately in advertisements. The goal of your multicultural marketing campaign should not only be to reach your target audience, but to make them feel understood. Stereotypes and tropes have the exact opposite effect on audiences, alienating them, negating any connection you could have made, and spoiling your chances of winning over loyal consumers.
To avoid including cultural stereotypes in your marketing message, make the creative process an inclusive one. Include diverse team members, bring in consultants, and use focus groups to gather perspective and insight on the message you’re creating. Consumers and experts will be able to spot nuances, offer improvements, and ultimately make your campaign into a success.
Read next: 101+ Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know
5. Asian consumers support causes
Consumers care about causes, and they expect brands to care, too. According to Refuel’s 2021 Cause Explorer Series™, consumers are 26% more likely to support your brand if it supports a cause, and more likely to stop purchasing from your brand if they suspect you aren’t living up to their standards.
Asian Americans are most likely to care about causes related to the environment and their families’ well-being. In addition, 45% are willing to give up convenience in return for a product that is environmentally safe, and 62% buy natural products to benefit the environment. Additionally, 53% are more likely to try new brands that support a cause they care about.
Read next: 3 Reasons to Include Local Media in Your Multicultural Marketing Strategy
Are you ready to execute your Asian marketing strategy? At Refuel Agency, we’ve been targeting and influencing the multicultural consumer audience for over 30 years with omnichannel solutions and proprietary research. Contact us today to get started with your custom media plan.