The past decade has seen an increase in Asian representation in all facets of American life. In 2018, the romantic-comedy movie Crazy Rich Asian, which features an East and Southeast Asian cast and crew, became a box office hit, earning over $238 million worldwide. In the same year, 70% of all Asian-American candidates who sought legislative seats won — a record-breaking feat.
Then, of course, in 2020, the nation elected its first female and Asian vice president.
Asians have been present in the U.S. for centuries but, recently, the population of Asian-Americans has increased. Asians are now the fastest-growing race group in the U.S. In the past 10 years, their numbers increased by more than 45% compared to the previous decade.
To ignore Asian-Americans, therefore, would be a mistake. They are a key demographic, with a capacity to spend and have the power to influence the market because of their size. Businesses can no longer afford to exclude Asian-Americans in advertising and marketing.
Challenges of Asian-American Marketing
However, selling to Asian-Americans has its challenges. Asia, the largest continent on the planet, is very diverse. Every region and member country has its own cultures and traditions, religion and beliefs, and languages.
For example, products that are sold to members of the Muslim communities should follow the principles of Sharia law. Even in investing and trading, they need Islamic ECN brokers to ensure that all processes and decisions follow the words of the Quran. Islam is one of the widely-practiced religions in Asia.
Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon recently received criticism from the Asian-American community. The animated movie is inspired by the different cultures and traditions of nations in Southeast Asia yet only one actor credited is Southeast Asian. The rest were of East Asian descent.
To target Asian-Americans as a whole would result in marketing campaigns that are too broad and, therefore, likely ineffective. So, how should marketers craft a marketing campaign that Asian-American consumers will pay attention to?
Know Where to Find Your Audience
Asian American groups are very fragmented. In New York, for example, Chinese-Americans dominate the population. The Filipinos, on the other hand, are in San Diego and in Phoenix. Meanwhile, the largest number of Asian Indians are found in Chicago and Atlanta.
Knowing this would allow the brand and marketers to create targeted advertisements that will reach each group.
Identify an Effective Message
Asian consumers are different from their American counterparts. Many of them are highly-educated, and they have strong work ethics that help them succeed in their chosen careers. They are affluent but still seek out the best deals. More importantly, they prioritize and value their family above anything else.
When brands use the same messages to market to consumers from the West in Asia, it usually loses its impact. It has already been observed in the sales of luxury goods in Asia where brands do not see the kind of growth they expected. The messages used to market luxury goods do not work because Asians buy designer bags and shoes for reasons that are different from Americans or Europeans.
Asian-Americans may not respond to the same messages used to market to white Americans or black Americans because their upbringing is different. An effective marketing message that will touch the Asian-American community should be tailor-made based on their unique values, culture, and tradition.
Brands should consider asking a member of the Asian-American community, to create a marketing message. Many corporations make the mistake of pandering or using offensive stereotypes to address Asian consumers. Instead of growth in profit, these corporations suffer a backlash and bad press. Hiring an expert would prevent spreading the wrong message.
Despite the recent increase of representation in the mainstream media among Asian-Americans, the community still feels under-represented. As a response, communities of Asian-Americans, especially younger generations, turn to the internet to look for information and communicate with each other.
Asians spend so much of their time every day online. They watch the least amount of television compared to Caucasians and African-Americans. However, they log an average of 80 hours on the internet monthly, consuming video content online through Netflix and YouTube.
Brands that want to cater toward Asian-Americans should have a strong online presence because, otherwise, they would not gain the type of audience that they want.
Asian-Americans have the highest household income among all racial groups in the U.S. They have a collective buying power amounting to $1 trillion. They also live longer and have a longer buying power than the rest of the population. Businesses that invest resources into swaying Asian-Americans have a lot to gain.