How BuzzFeed Is Winning With Asian-Americans

Article Source: Ad Age
Original Post Date: August 5, 2015

Four Strategies for Brands to Engage with the Asian-American Audience


At first glance, a hard-hitting piece on affirmative action seems far removed from the humorous viral sensation“Ask An Asian.” Yet both pieces were published on BuzzFeed — an unlikely hub for issues affecting Asian-Americans. BuzzFeed hasn’t been shy about pursuing this wildly underserved market and has achieved impressive cultural relevancy that many brands have failed to earn.

Asian-Americans have quietly overtaken Hispanics as the fastest-growing multicultural segment in the U.S., albeit from a much smaller base, and brands are taking notice. Combined with the fact that the median household income for Asian-Americans surpasses that of the total U.S. median income by 28%, you have a highly lucrative segment that demands to be courted.

1. Use CRM to customize messaging. Asian-American consumers are the leaders in online shopping, tech adoption and smartphone usage, which makes inbound marketing a terrific investment. However, most brands aren’t dedicating enough resources to targeting Asian-Americans or targeting them effectively.

Treating Chinese, Korean, South Asian and Filipino consumers the same just doesn’t work; you must address their individual cultural nuances by segmenting your audience and customizing your content, imagery and creative for each group.

I once worked with a client that used the same creative to reach Filipino, South Asia and Chinese consumers. The client’s average email open rate was only 12%, because the messaging ignored the differences within the distinct Asian communities. After segmenting the client’s audience based on their countries of origin, email open rates increased by 10% in the first month and 60% by the eighth month.

ourageous content on themes that resonate. Content that touches on enduring themes such as family, community and tradition can be effective for winning over different Asian-American subsegments. BuzzFeed has proven this works by publishing a mix of content tackling sensitive cultural issues such as casual racism and heartfelt topics such as what Filipino-Americans miss most about the Philippines.

3. Use in-language messaging.This may seem like a no-brainer for multicultural marketing, but in-language media is more integral to reaching Asian-Americans than other cultural segments. Three out of four are foreign-born and often feel more comfortable consuming in-language content.

For instance, 47% of Asian-Americans speak English less than “very well.” In fact, even those who speak English outside the home use in-language media and consider it a vital part of their cultural heritage.

4. Emphasize the benefits. Asian-Americans are a value-driven segment and spend more dollars on deals than non-Asians. They’re willing to pay more for high-quality products, but they react better to blatantly promotional messages than other ethnic groups (such as deals mentioned in email subject lines).

With nearly 19 million Asian-Americans living in the U.S., no brand can afford to ignore this valuable segment. But it isn’t enough to translate your mass-market campaign into various languages or hire Asian-American models to appear in your ads. You need a distinct approach and a voice that resonates with each unique subsegment. Only then can you show Asian-Americans that your brand understands them and cares about their cultural values.