Communicating with and promoting to ethnic minority markets
Marketing to and communicating with ethnic minority communities does not mean reinventing the wheel. The basic principals of marketing apply as much as to any market. It is however essential to be sensitive to the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of each community.
It is also important to recognise that ethnic minorities are not homogeneous. As with any market segment, we need to think about individuals and human beings, not pure labels and to recognise the diversity within each market. For example, the Black community can be broadly divided into African and Caribbean. Further segmentation might also be necessary, dividing into groups of those born abroad and those born in the UK. There are also generational differences as well as differences in interests, motivations, lifestyle and aspirations…
If you employ an ethnically diverse workforce, they may be able to help you evaluate the materials you are proposing to use, especially to avoid stereotypes.
Although we have tried to emphasis that each ethnic or faith community is different, it is worth bearing in mind these generalistions:
- Many people from ethnic minority backgrounds believe they are of equal value to other groups but are ignored or undervalued by society at large
- Many people do not believe they see images of themselves that are balanced and truly representative of their diversity or values
- People from ethnic minority backgrounds seek recognition and respect like all others in society.
In addition to targeting BMEs through their particular interests and some mainstream media, it is definitely worthwhile considering the wide range of ethnic media which is now available. Ethnic media has grown rapidly over the last two decades. Consumption of mainstream media is low due to lack of relevant programming/language barriers. This is one of the reasons it is important to ensure more positive and relevant representation of ethnic people in mainstream media, especially Asians who are currently under-represented.
Ethnic communities pay £120 million in license fees to the BBC, but many consider they get very little in return. This is one reason for the explosion of ethnic television channels and one reason for the development of new BBC channels such as BBC Asian Network.