With Asian American buying power projected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2024, it is evident that this consumer group wields substantial economic influence and presents a tremendous market opportunity. (Asian American Retail Report) Moreover, the projected growth of the U.S. Asian population, estimated to reach 46 million by 2060, reinforces the long-term significance of engaging with this demographic. (Pew Research)
According to MyCode, 26% of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) adults express a strong affinity for culturally relevant creatives, especially those that reflect their own race/ethnicity. This highlights the significance of incorporating authentic cultural elements in advertisements to resonate with AAPI consumers.
In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, we held a webinar showcasing notable industry leaders – Philip Tseng, VP of Strategy at Spark Foundry; Alicia Chai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Amazon, Jannet Kim, SVP, Account Services at Zefr and LG Ad Solutions’ Head of Product Marketing & Strategy, Esther Maguire.
In case you missed the webinar, watch it on-demand by signing up below or check out the top three takeaways here:
- One size doesn’t fit all: The AAPI community encompasses diverse subcultures, experiences and traditions, emphasizing the fact that it is not monolithic, but rather a tapestry of unique identities. Acculturation levels, too, influenced by generational heritage and family background, significantly vary within this community. For brands, comprehending these levels of acculturation is crucial for predicting consumer behavior. The AAPI community is incredibly nuanced, so brands must approach their activations, targeting, and messaging with intentionality. On the other hand, it is also important to acknowledge that there are certain common threads, such as immigration stories and language/code-switching, that unify all AAPI groups. There is a fine line for brands to walk between the uniqueness of each person’s experience and the shared experiences of the community as a whole.
- Breaking barriers and going beyond ethnicity: It is important to note that Asian culture has gained popularity beyond Asian American audiences. Content tailored to this community, such as K-Pop, K-Dramas, and Asian cuisine-related content, is appreciated by people from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. With the world becoming more interconnected and technology enabling better access to diverse cultures, ethnic targeting alone is not the sole determining factor. By neglecting to advertise to non-Asian communities who are interested in Asian culture and content, there is a missed opportunity to engage a significant portion of an invested audience. Ultimately, if we target based on interest vs. identity, not only is an advertiser spreading awareness of AAPI cultural experiences beyond AAPI groups and helping educate via inclusive targeting, but they are contributing to the idea that we live in a cultural melting pot.
- Say no to tokenism: It is crucial to distinguish between genuinely incorporating Asian representation as a fundamental element in storytelling and the superficial inclusion of Asian Americans solely to appear diverse and inclusive. Modern viewers are discerning and will readily call out brands for inauthentic attempts to gain favor. While understanding the Asian American audience is vital for creating targeted content and advertising, not every product necessitates an Asian influence. Placing excessive emphasis on cultural nuances can seem insincere and result in negative consequences. Although achieving the right balance can be challenging, brands should not let the pressure of getting it right hinder their efforts toward broader inclusivity.
Multi-generational households play a significant role in Asian life, influencing their viewership behavior. Traditionally, older generations turned to cable TV to watch their favorite Asian language shows. However, the rise of Asian-language and Asian-centered streaming content has prompted even older generations to become more tech-savvy, eager to access content that resonates with them.
By demonstrating an understanding of the unique experiences and values of the AAPI community, advertisers can create more compelling and impactful campaigns. Leveraging culturally relevant creatives not only fosters a sense of connection and relatability but also acknowledges and celebrates the diversity within the AAPI community. In this way, brands can forge stronger bonds with AAPI consumers and drive meaningful engagement with their advertising efforts.