In her presentation about the many dimensions of the South Asian population in the U.S., Esther “ET” Franklin, Head of Americas Experience Strategy, Publicis Media, had a slide titled “size + influence = power.” This is not only the theme of her presentation, but also the theme of the 3AF 2016 Asian Marketing Summit which just concluded on June 3, 2016 in Los Angeles. Asian American consumers as a group has not only drawn attention from Fortune 500 marketers, but also flexed its power in entertainment and politics.
The fact that Google included Asian American in its multicultural reach and began to provide metrics and services targeting this audience at the request of its customers is a manifestation of the power yielded by Asian American consumers.
For years, marketers hesitate to venture into Asian marketing citing the small size of the population and fragmented market. Given recent immigration chance, this will no longer be the case in 50 years. According to the Pew Research Center, currently at 6%, Asian Americans are projected to be 14% of the total population, slightly more than the African American population, by 2065.
Asian Americans are also exerting influence in culture much bigger than its population size. Take for example, 85% of DramaFever’s subscribers are non-Asians. Suk Park, founder of DramaFever, shared his vision of Korean pop culture at the 3AF 2016 Asian Marketing Summit, that Korean drama will become mainstream and is “a content class that has the ability to be consumed globally.” Warner Brother apparently shared that vision and acquired DramaFever earlier this year for undisclosed terms.
There is no doubt that the segment is a tough nut to crack given its diversity. However, marketers and their agency partners have used innovative approaches and multiple platforms to reach the different sub-segments in a cost effective way. In some cases, the story board can also be used for non-Asian targets. For example, Western Union partnered Saavn to launch Direct from Bollywood to modernize its brand image and connect with South Asian consumers on digital channels. Chase connects with Asian Americans culturally in a campaign that features masters in different fields in English. Verizon successfully drove traffic to stores with its KCON artist collectible card campaign while connecting with millennial consumers on their passion for K pop. East West Bank leveraged on the passion point of hot sauce and featured the creator of Sriracha sauce, an East West Bank customer, in a commercial that has English and Chinese versions.
Tight budget and higher expectations for return have motivated marketers and agencies target Asian American consumers to be innovative, flexible and create campaigns that are effective in targeting multiple consumer segments in a cost effective way while at the same aligned with the brand’s overarching messaging. Total Market marketers will benefit from taking a chapter from the Asian American marketing playbook because Total Market has been practiced by these marketers since the beginning.