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Multicultural Marketing and Ethnic Advertising

posted Jul 2, 2016, 12:04 PM by Suchandra Chatterjee   [ updated Jul 2, 2016, 8:48 PM ]
Let me start with an anecdote without going into the specifics. As a qualitative researcher in the advertising evaluation arena, I have had my fair share of startling consumer insights but this one left a lasting impression on me. We were doing eye tracking(those cool neuro-marketing exercises where you can magically tell which part of an ad gets consumers' precious attention the most through a 'heat-map') for some online banner ads. One particular ad had it all that previous researches had suggested our TG was aspiring for: a smiling couple with an infant having a merry picnic in sunny outdoors. It should have been a clear winner, it had all the elements. But it wasn't.

The family depicted in that ad were from a ethnicity consumers could not identify with. While the move on part of the agency was clearly to add on to the aspirational aspect, it backfired into alienation instead.

Another very personal example would be when I went to the grocery store the other day. Now, cons of being a marketer is that even when you are the consumer, you put yourself under the constant radar of scrutiny by trying to analyze why you picked up one brand over another. The product in question was a low involvement puffed rice. I do not like puffed rice. But I purchased it nonetheless. Because besides English, the scripting on it was also done in my mother tongue. It immediately hit my amygdala which oozed out fond memories that eventually successfully penetrated my purse.

For a multicultural country like Canada, where the visible minorities are often majorities in certain specific areas, PoS ethnic marketing is something that still has a lot of scopes to work on. We marketers need to understand the importance cultural backgrounds play in consumer decision making process and successfully leverage those findings into effective campaigns.  With the immergence of ethnic millennials  who spend majority of their time on their smart phones, ethnic content marketing & social media strategies should also be carefully designed.  With most B2C brands already acknowledging this trend, an exciting time is ahead for us brand builders to be creative and make meaningful impact in consumers' mindspace.
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