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.)
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???
Johnnie Walker Black Label wants to attract the Latino community! Johnnie Walker Black Label will be launching a grassroots community effort to showcase events, promotions and new business opportunities to New Jersey Latinos. Johnnie Walker is celebrating its centennial birthday and has a good reason to reach out to the Latino community in New Jersey.
Latinos making up more than 16 percent of the New Jersey population are a powerful force in New Jersey, representing the fastest growing segment in the state. The 52,000 Latino businesses found in NJ in 2008 are predicted to double by 2010 in New Jersey. This makes New Jersey the 5th largest concentration of Latino businesses in the country.
Gerry Rojas is the brand ambassador chosen by Johnnie Walker for their outreach to the NJ Latino Community. Gerry is an industry veteran when it comes to designing campaigns to target the Latino market. Johnnie Walker Black Label’s new brand ambassador, Gerry Rojas says that they want to celebrate the accomplishments of the Latino business community and also want the Latino community to participate in the celebration of their accomplishments.
It’ll be interesting to see how with Rojas’s help, Johnnie Walker will convince Latinos to give up their favourite tequila in favor of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
(I also look forward to seeing when Johnnie Walker will target market to the Indian American community. I hope they know that the South Asian Indian community is perhaps the biggest fan of Johnnie Walker Black and Blue brands!)
Who doesn’t understand the need to market to multicultural audiences? Marketing to Hispanics has become quite popular and many large companies like McDonald's, Coca Cola, and Johnny Walker, are increasing their focus towards this ethnic community. By 2010 it is estimated that Hispanics will have a buying power of almost a trillion US dollars so it’s not surprising that brands are clamoring to reach them.
The Tribune Company has launched Tribune Hispanic Media Group which is a national sales team for the Hispanic market targeted media. They will offer advertisers customized solutions across print, digital, mobile, direct and event marketing.
Tribune already has four Spanish-language media properties that reach an estimated 1.7 million Hispanic consumers in markets like LA and Florida where the Hispanic population is less than 30%.
Since Tribune’s four media properties already have a ready audience, the new sales team should have an easy job convincing brands to advertise with Tribune’s various media platforms.
Brands are paying more and more attention to ethnic consumers of late. Brands like Coca Cola have taken multicultural marketing to heart and according to Coca Cola's Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Katie Bayne, Coke plans to focus more and more on multicultural Americans between now and 2020.
Coke’s CMO also pointed out that Coke is no longer focusing on event based marketing. Meaning it is not just targeting Hispanics around Hispanic events or African Americans during the Black History month.
Now this makes a lot of sense right?
Ethnic consumers don’t just make buying decisions a few times a year. They are buying year long and so engaging with them every day is the right thing to do. Wonder why no one got that until now?
Increasing the attention paid to multicultural or ethnic consumers is a smart marketing strategy. Brands are already finding out that ethnic marketing impacts the bottom-line with significant gains in sales and market share.