Category Archives: Multicultural Milestones

Multicultural Marketing Blog: Postage Stamps for Indian Americans

An Atlanta-based company www.USA-postage.com has launched a series of custom made stamps or rather "postages" featuring various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Krishna, Laxmi, Ganpati, and Sai Baba are just a few of the Gods and Goddesses featured on these 44 cent postages.

What is interesting to me is that although the issuance of these stamps would be a huge "emotional" pull for Indian Americans, little if any buzz about these stamps is found anywhere. All I found was a few press releases announcing these stamps and a few others challenging the validity of these stamps.  And although the usa-postage.com site has a "follow-us on Twitter" link & a Facebook link on their site, those channels are barely being used to promote these stamps to the people who could and would be interested in using these stamps.

Indian Americans are VERY internet savvy. Therefore Internet campaigns to get these stamps visible to the Indian American population would be highly successful. Also, outreach activities to create awareness among non-Indian Americans on the significance of having Laxmi devi (goddess) on a letter would also garner new customers wanting to buy these stamps.

Bottom-line: Market to your constituents and educate your non-constituents about the cultural relevancy of a new product or service. That's what differentiates successful product launches from not-so-successful ones.
 
NOTE: According to USA-postage.com, these postages are valid for use even though they are not issued by the US Postal Service (USPS) because by law, custom postages are permitted in the US. I have however been unable to find any information on the USPS site or through any other google search that validates this claim.)

Multicultural Marketing Blog: Reaching Muslim Audiences Finds Best Buy in a Tough Situation

Talk about a no-win situation. The US Muslim population is estimated at over 2.3 million by Pew Research. Their buying power is obviously attractive enough that Best Buy decided to incorporate a holiday message during the holiday season. Oh what a storm that ad created!
 
US Muslims were ecstatic that US companies were finally getting it and were interested enough to recognize one of their holidays. However non-Muslims were insulted. Many wrote that they'd take their business to other retailers because they felt that Best Buy was "catering to those responsible for the 9/11 attacks" (Note, this is a quote, not my opinion but what was shared by others online and in public forums).

The Muslims rejoiced Best Buy's move and Best Buy said it stood by its campaign. However many marketers believe that they ought not to go down the path that Best Buy did so as to not get caught in a similar storm.

So what's the answer to this problem? Unfortunately there is no clear cut, one answer.
 
Companies need to target market to ethnic populations. That means that they need to use ethnic media channels to attract ethnic populations. However mainstream media is influential and needs "diverse" messages for diverse audiences. However, companies will need to do more research to create these diverse mainstream messages without creating an explosive situation like the one Best Buy faced.

(Note: I'm not saying that what happened to Best Buy was right. Nor am I saying that companies should not be creating targeted marketing campaigns to appeal to Muslims.  However, perception is 99 times out of a 100, reality. So how can companies take those perceptions into factor so that your campaigns don't backfire?) Anyone???