All posts by irisyim

Size + Influence = Power

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The Line Hotel

 

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.

Differences between the East and the West

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Chinese designer Liu Yang used images to illustrate the differences between the East and the West in her book “Differences between the East and the West” after living 13 years in China and in Germany respectively.  I thought these illustrations are very insightful and explain the cultural differences in a concise and humorous way and are helpful for those of us who are in the space of multicultural/cross-cultural marketing.

 

Attitudes

Self Image

Self image

Impression of the Other

Impression of the other

Perception of Beauty

Perception of beauty

Attitudes towards Something New

Attitudes towards something new

Impact of Weather on Mood

Impact of weather

Anger Management

Anger management

 

Communication

Communication of Opinions

Communication of opinions

Communication of Ideas

Communication of ideas

 

Family and Relationship

Relationship

Relationship

Children

Children

Senior’s Life

Senior's life

 

Work

Boss

Boss

Problem Solving

Problem solving

 

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Life style

Get Together

Get together

In a Restaurant

In a restaurant

Street Scene on the Weekend

Street scene on the weekend

Food

Food

Fashion

Fashion

Sun

The Sun

Shower Time

Shower time

Transportation

Transportation

When They Travel

When they travel

Relationship with Animals (Companion or Food)

Relationship with animals (companion or food)

Why WeChat should be part of your social media strategy and marketing mix, and why you should care

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By Iris Yim

 

Although WeChat is relatively unknown in the U.S., it has close to 550 million actively monthly users and has become the default social media and a cultural and social phenomenon in China in the short amount of time since its launch in 2011.

 

WeChat is a messaging app developed and owned by Tencent which also owns another popular messaging service in China – QQ.  It’s essentially a messaging app with which you can make free voice and video calls and leave voice and text messages but it also has “Moments” which is similar to a Facebook wall where you can see the updates of your contacts and the content they share.  So it’s like a combination of Whatsapp + Facebook.  It’s easy to set up a group chat to interact with friends and family or a group of people with similar interests.

 

Here are some interesting statistics of WeChat:

– Percentage of Internet users in China that use WeChat – 65%

– Number of registered WeChat accounts – 1.1 billion

– Average amount of time Chinese adults spend on WeChat daily – over 40 minutes

– Percentage of users that open it more than 10 times a day – 55.2%

 

So WeChat is the default social media in China, so what?  Why and how does it concern marketers in the U.S?  You may ask.  It’s true with all its marketing efforts to expand in the U.S., WeChat has barely made a dent in the social media market in this country which is dominated by Facebook.  Latest statistics suggest only 2% mobile Internet users in the US that use WeChat on a monthly basis.  However, if you’re targeting Asian Americans, you will need to pay attention to WeChat and here is why.

 

– Chinese is the largest segment of the Asian American population and 70% of them are foreign born.  They have friends and family in China who all use WeChat and the immigrant himself will be enticed to sign up as well.

– There are 274,439 Chinese international students in the U.S. for the school year of 2013-2014 who all use WeChat to keep in touch with friends and family at home and fellow Chinese international students in the U.S.

– Then not to mention the tens of thousands of Chinese tourists who visit the U.S. and shopping is an essential item on the itinerary.  Last year, 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited America and spent a whopping $21.1 billion. The number of visitors from China to the U.S. is expected to rise to 3.1 million in 2019.  And they use WeChat to share information on merchandise, deals and brands with friends and family.  Many of them are on a shopping mission to not only shop for themselves but also shop for friends and family.

 

For Chinese who live in the U.S., WeChat provides a platform to bring the community together to share news, interests, concerns and bond with each other.  Some large group chats have hundreds of active participants.  News travels fast among these group chats and the community will be galvanized into action in a very short amount of time.

 

On May 15, 2015, when a coalition of Asian American groups announced a complaint against Harvard on discriminating Asian Americans for admission at a press conference, one of the attendees sent pictures, videos and reporting of the press conference to his WeChat group chat and these messages, pictures and videos were redistributed to the numerous group chat across the U.S.  The Chinese community learnt about the news of the complaint hours before mainstream media’s report on the complaint against Harvard.

 

Given WeChat’s influence on the Chinese community in the U.S., politicians and community organizations are taking notes.  I have seen Hilary Clinton’s ad on WeChat recruiting Chinese staff and volunteers for her campaign.  Recently, a police department in Flushing, NY, established a public WeChat account to communicate with and better serve the Chinese community in the area.  However, brands in the U.S. are largely missing in action.

 

Given that China is the number one source of new immigrants, the number one source of international students to the U.S. and the whopping spending power of Chinese tourists, WeChat is an effective way to reach these target groups and should part of your social media strategy and marketing mix.

 

Here is an example of the marketing power of WeChat

A friend of mine shared a blog post on “Moments” by an entertainment news blogger about the shoes the female lead wears in the latest Jurassic Park movie.  It has an interesting and humorous twist to it.  It comments on how the female lead miraculously outruns the dinosaurs in those shoes and why every girl should have a pair of shoes like that so that they can win the race of life.  It goes on to talk about the brand and designer of the shoes.  The result?  I went on Amazon.com to order a pair for myself!!

 

WeChat Bazaar blog Jurassic World WeChat Bazaar blog Jurassic World 2 WeChat Bazaar blog Sam Edelman shoes  WeChat Bazaar blog Sam Edelman shoes 2