In a recent blog post, Joe March presented the opportunity for marketers to set their brand apart from their competition: to stop advertising to them and, instead, start marketing to cultural Canada. In a somewhat companion piece to that post, DMS recently produced a column on some topline insights of newcomers and personal care products. An abridged version appeared in a recent Canadian Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) newsletter. What follows is the column in its entirety.
By 2022 more than 70% of growth in purchasing power in Canada will be attributed to newcomers: $64 billion of a projected $90 billion in growth over the next decade! (CIBC World Markets: The Ethnic Consumer, September, 2010)
Every year more than a quarter of a million new consumers arrive in Canada. This will not stop, and may possibly accelerate.
Much is made of the impact that millions of new Canadians are having on marketers responsible for connecting consumers with brands and products and services. Some see Canada’s immigration, unprecedented throughout the world, as a problem. Others see it as an opportunity. Still others yet have not taken the time to consider a group that is now 1 in 5 Canadians.
Half the newcomers flooding into Canada each year come from the Philippines, India/Pakistan or China in that order. Between 70 and 80% of each of those cultural groups was not born in Canada, will consume ‘home media’ every day for the rest of their lives and brought with them almost all of the brand loyalties they developed in their country of origin.
Studies show that all immigrants gradually adopt characteristic behaviours of their new homeland but usually put their own “spin” on things. Most marketers now agree that connecting newcomers with brand messages cannot be done through traditional channels. Understanding immigrants attitudes, behaviours and need for a product or service is a critical first step.
As an example experience with personal care products by newcomers from India varies from the general population. Consider these topline insights into South Asians and personal care and what they might mean to any organization interested in connecting with this group of people estimated to number more than 2 million before the end of the decade:
Chinese, Filipinos and people from the Middle East all have varying experiences with personal care products and services. All will be influenced by prevailing attitudes and will adopt new behaviours as they assimilate into their new home country.
These large newcomer groups combine to create a definable market segment that represents an opportunity to capture new market share. Are you such a marketer? Do you know how to connect with this growing market segment to steer them toward your brand, products and services?
Time flies, but it’s extraordinary how music can so immediately transport you back to a time and place. Just yesterday, I serendipitously found myself reading the Wikipedia entry for Quartetto Gelato. Which caused me to remember, at least a dozen years ago, …
…how taken my Dad was with Quartetto Gelato, a Juno award-winning Canadian classical quartet. Two CDs of mine in particular found their way into his car – QG’s first self-titled, and Neopolitan Cafe. Perhaps because their Torna a Surriento or Rondine al Nido reminded him of my grandmother, singing him to sleep when he was a boy.
So, with that in mind, a personal indulgence to recognize today’s anniversary…below is Al di La from Quartetto Gelato’s Neopolitan Cafe.
A larger Quartetto Gelato playlist I cobbled together is here.
In a recent blog post we challenged Brands to stop advertising to ethnic groups and start marketing to cultural Canada. We believe it’s the only way to finally close the loop and add meaningful ROI to ethnic outreach. We gave a couple of examples we really like on how some major brands took existing products and slightly altered their aim to provide shoulder selling that added share points and in some cases possibly reinvigorated product SKUs.
In Toronto, the last weekend in October saw the completion of two weekends worth of celebrations by a large proportion of the South Asian community: marking Navratri with the annual Garba dance celebration. For what it’s worth, over the two weeks of Navratri, Eid was also marked by hundreds of thousands of Muslims across Canada.
Throughout the latter part of October huge Garba festivals were held across Canada, especially in the GTA, Greater Vancouver and Calgary North East. At some venues gatherings exceeded 10,000 people.
At a Garba, thousands of dancers revolve in cycles around a clay lantern called a Garbha Deep. The lantern represents life and fertility in particular. The Garba is performed in a cycle of circles as a symbol of the Hindu view of time with life going through its cycles from birth to death.
Below is a clip of a Garba that took place at the International Centre in Toronto. Notice the sponsors’ banners. Each year more and more advertisers are connecting with this opportunity to exclusively reach a growing market.
Close on the heels of the Garba and Eid will be Diwali, this year marked on November 13th.
Many Canadian marketers are familiar with Diwali celebrations, some with Eid, few with the Garba. Some use Diwali in particular to advertise in the South Asian community through special Diwali editions of newspapers. Offering Diwali greetings digitally and through radio media are easy to do and relatively inexpensive.
At each celebration a few independent, culturally connected commercial sponsors took advantage and supported event organizers. A few celebrations were supported by the banks, but pretty well all of the National brands that have a legitimate connection or should have interest in connecting with the people attending, missed the opportunity.
The point is that throughout the fall, in excess of a million people – South Asian Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Middle Eastern Muslims – gathered together at dozens of large scale, well-organized events to celebrate. Many more continued the celebrations in their homes.
Studies show that about half of the people we are talking about do not consume mainstream media with any regularity; and when they do, they consume it in ways that are different enough for them to miss your already-planned Thanksgiving outreach or other mainstream observances.
Connecting to these events is also possible and highly recommended if you want to start really connecting. So, here’s the big idea… these events happen more or less around Thanksgiving.
Why not leverage your Autumn ad budget and Autumn marketing infrastructure? Distribution, co-op programs, merchandisers and samplers, as well as major events could attract hundreds of thousands of potential new consumers at a time when your whole organization is mobilized anyway.
We maintain that you need to slightly widen your aim from just Thanksgiving and Christmas to include Navatri, Eid and Diwali.
So, you have a year. Let’s get started!
How many media planners and marketers have Thanksgiving on their promotion calendars? My bet is, many. But how many include celebrations like Diwali, Eid and the Garba? Anyone? … Bueller …? Bueller …?
For some time, we’ve been suggesting to clients and potential clients that they genuinely bring these cultural celebrations into their marketing mix. Why? They are more authentic activators in the South Asian community than Thanksgiving and happen at roughly the same time. The associated efficiencies – allowing you to leverage infrastructure around Autumn promotions – is a given; and, with the right planning, strategy and execution, this inclusive approach also makes the wider point that there is a difference between advertising to newcomers and marketing to cultural Canada.
For marketers in the multicultural advertising space, most are familiar with and/or have targeted two or three key cultural celebrations, including: Chinese New Year and Diwali… some even have more than a passing knowledge of Chinese Harvest Festival and the Sikh observance of Vaisakhi.
Typically, ads are prepared to mark the occasion, usually offering seasonal greetings and linking brands in a respectful, albeit somewhat muted, way. It’s a terrific way to begin a process that should ultimately connect with a group of consumers that will be responsible for $7 out of every $10 in economic growth in Canada over the next five years.
So far, few marketers really dig in and authentically activate these holiday occasions in their outreach efforts. But those that do, reap valuable rewards. The truth is, the vast majority of cultural Canada has lived here for less than 10 years; as a result, brands (and their competition) are seeing more market share potential that did not exist before.
Insight into cultural needs and behaviour is the beginning to any successful and truly multicultural marketing outreach. Grocery retailers have certainly learned the value of these and other observances – flyer inserts that promote culturally relevant foods are common from all the big chains.
Long distance phone companies and some mobile companies also plan special pricing and offer other incentives to “phone home.” This fall, to promote its phone stores, phone contracts and TV programming, Rogers announced it is offering free calls to select cities around the world during Diwali and Chinese New Year.
Both these industries have direct connections to the millions of Canadians who march to a different calendar. In these cases, Canada’s cultural diversity provides significant “over the shoulder selling” opportunities – ones that even outperform the seasonal peaks and valleys of the old mainstream sales cycle of Back to School, Christmas and Spring/Summer.
In addition to adding significant sales dollars to the bottom line outside the usual cycle, connecting with Canada’s newcomers, or even longer tenured immigrants and their families on their own terms – by ‘marketing’ instead of advertising to them – can set a brand apart from its competition. The key is to be thoughtful and authentic.
In fact, it’s still the case that in most industries the competition may not be doing this at all.
So, an opportunity to capture new market share sits waiting for the discerning marketer…but it takes insight and planning. And, usually more time than is almost always allotted to the ‘ethnic strategy.’
Related: DMS Briefing Document - Eid al Fitr & Eid al Adha 2012 (.pdf)
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