Multicultural Marketing: Tokenism Won’t Cut It – New Canadian Media – NCM

Good review by Gautam Nath of Robin Brown and Kathy Cheng’s book, Migration Nation: A Practical Guide to Doing Business in Globalized Canada:

Migration Nation introduces the concept of the Cultural Lens, which affects how people view products, services, or brands in the Canadian landscape. The Cultural Lens is shaped by one’s ethnic culture, pre-migration experiences with products and brands, and post-migration experiences of acculturation. Together, all those factors influence one’s habits and attitudes towards retailing, service style, and service conventions.

Our tastes and preferences are shaped by the language, cultural, religion, values, and habits from our countries of origin. Brown and Cheng provide the example of Chinese Canadians who, they say, may like orange juice, but “tend not to drink it in the mornings, unlike the mainstream, as they find it too cold and acidic, and therefore prefer something hot for breakfast.”

Yet, while such practices may trend culturally, they also vary by individual, particularly post-migration. Many immigrants experience a period of disorientation as they scramble to get their ducks in a row, but over a few years, a greater sense of belonging and ease develops as they acculturate, and although they never really forget or lose their cultural roots, a sense of independence begins to balance their earlier cultural practices.

“The settlement journey as we conceive it is not a linear process of leaving one’s ethnic culture behind and adopting something else,” the authors write. They very simply and meaningfully explain the stages of disorientation, orientation, belonging, and independence that characterize the immigrant’s settlement journey. It makes for interesting reading for any marketer, but perhaps especially for those not born overseas or who have not lived in another country.

Understanding the settlement journey will help marketers to better understand their consumers and the need to communicate with them in a more relevant and actionable manner.

Multicultural Marketing: Tokenism Won’t Cut It – New Canadian Media – NCM.

When the “Multicultural” Penny Dropped – NCM

Diff comms have diff hot buttonsGautam Nath of Balmoral Multicultural Marketing on marketing to an increasingly diverse Canada:

Research was the backbone to facilitate professionalism in this market. There were but one or two long-established multicultural communication firms in Canada 20 years ago. Soon talent got together and a string of new agencies cut their teeth in the new space.

Today, there may be over 20 agencies, and in this digital era, each one looks very professional and established online.

The proof is in the pudding, however. Several agencies are literally one-man-shows operating from the confines of their basements looking to bag new business. A few have dedicated physical office space but operate with less than a handful of staff. And, literally, less than five agencies have dedicated in-house resources to support the full suite of client needs. However, this thin selection is supported by a contingent of planning, production, and other freelancers that give outside support to wherever the business goes.

Notwithstanding, over the years, the market has seen a wide range of companies wooing the multicultural consumer. In fact, it is estimated that the dollar spend of this community is about $40 billion annually and growing. But the challenge is that few marketers are constant spenders year on year.

With clients being erratic in their spending, each year is anybody’s guess.

Fortunes are made in a day and fortunes are lost with equal haste in the multicultural support services business. The long-standing, endurance-oriented and action-driven agencies will survive, others will truly shake in the wind.

Product groups that addressed these segments were the Big 5 banks initially and then the telecommunication providers. This was soon followed by large retailers, food products, real estate, automotive and entertainment. Education and settlement agencies are also growing in their spend in communicating to these audiences. But other than a handful with long-term vision and deep pockets, many are still in a pilot and a learning phase.

When the “Multicultural” Penny Dropped – New Canadian Media – NCM.