Is Your Brand Neglecting The Fastest Growing Demographic In America?

September 27, 2021

The South Asian diaspora is on an upward trajectory in the United States. According to data released by the Asian American Foundation the South Asian population in the US grew by 81% in the last decade. 

It is not just in numbers that the community is expanding, their purchasing power is growing too, and the curve is on a steep uptick. Indian Americans, a major segment of the South Asian diaspora, today, have an average household income of $120,000, which is 1.2 to 2 times the income of other ethnic groups. 

Brands looking to stay relevant in the new normal need to market to this audience, however, engaging with the segment is a complex affair. It needs a highly curated, personalized approach with a deep understanding of the demographic. That is why brands in their marketing efforts, unknowingly end up neglecting this segment. 

Through FrontAd’s experience of working with digital platforms that serve the South Asian audience, we will explain how to gauge neglect, highlight its causes, and a roadmap to solve it. 

Mapping Neglect

21st-century brands are expected to challenge the status quo and be more inclusive. Brands that embrace inclusivity and create fundamental changes to service the needs of multicultural audiences have been rewarded multi-fold. 

Identifying the neglected target audience has become a necessity in the post-pandemic digital-first world. The positive aspect of being in a digital-first world is the number of available insights that brands have to settle the dilemma of allocating resources on dominant vs emerging and growing demographics.

With consumers using a multichannel affair to engage with brands, understanding where negligence is happening needs a bird’s eye view through multiple lenses.

For instance, interactions via live chat are a great way to gauge neglect. When consumers need a constant explanation of the product or services in the interaction, neglect is occurring in the brand awareness strategy. If the consumer drops out during the chat abruptly, it is a signal of gaps being present in the conversational tone or lack of cultural affinity. If there are drop-offs in the conversion state or after the consumer has put items in the cart, there is a disconnect in the value proposition.

Brands can also participate actively in forums the target audience frequents. This will also allow the company to understand why a certain ethnicity prefers some brands over others. And even though questions on ethnicity are seldom asked, preliminary data collected from past interactions can help in mapping patterns.

For a self-aware brand that is introspecting where the neglect might be, there are multiple ways to catch the signals of neglect. The first step is to be self-aware.  Re-evaluate how the target demographics are being reached and if any of the demographics are being neglected by design.

Demographic Deep-dive

Let’s look at the fastest-growing demographic in America – the South Asians. 

South Asian Americans are individuals who trace their origins to the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives). The community also includes family members and relatives of the South Asian diaspora who have settled in other countries but have a vested interest or business in the United States.

Brands often misunderstand this definition when targeting the South Asian American market, leading to the clubbing of campaigns with the traditional Asian community. There are two main reasons why this happens. The first is the lack of demographic information to nail the buyer persona. A glaring example of this happening is business owners/brand marketers keeping their marketing strategies to South Asian Americans similar to those for central Asians and Southeast Asians (residents from China, Philippines, Malaysia, etc.) 

They are all Asians, right? Technically correct, but South Asians have very different cultures and lifestyles than their neighbors. When it comes to demographics and interests,  South Asian American consumers are poles apart from communities like Chinese and Koreans, that are generally identified as Asians. 

The second area where brands fall short is in reaching out to the right audience. This happens because the South Asian diaspora is as diverse in its interests. From living a life of high luxury, surrounded by modern technology to staying grounded to family values, the audience is as different as they come. The wide range of interests South Asians have makes it crucial for any brand targeting this segment to curate the audience correctly before advertising.

Curated Targeting 

Demographics that do not come under the traditional and reductionist targeting cannot be ignored and are waiting to be served. Retail brands like Trader Joe’s and financial companies like Western Union and American Express understand this well. These brands have always factored in the customer’s lifestyle, cultural, and personal preferences. Brand messages are consistent and customized to each segment of the South Asian demographic.

You do not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel to be successful in the new demographics. Consider an emerging skincare brand that wants to increase its affinity to the South Asian consumer. The first step it needs to take is to understand the market’s unique traits. Partnerships with experts in the audience segment will be highly effective. 

For example, the brand can use FrontAd’s extensive first-party and expanded database of South Asian consumers. The analysis will shed light on what kind of product messaging will resonate with the customer and what strategy to follow when communicating with the perks of the brand. Insights like, South Asian women are highly interested to know what goes inside the product, rather than the promised results will be key to achieving targets. 

Using exhaustive databases like those of FrontAd can also broaden the market and provide opportunities to tap into potential customers. For example, males of the South Asian community often buy beauty products as gifts for their loved ones. A business that is neglecting this fact is missing out on both revenue and a huge audience. 

Growing Your brand 

Unchecked customer neglect means missed opportunity and revenue, especially when the target demographic has high purchasing power, like the South Asian Americans. Neglect can also lead to negative reviews and high resistance to penetration in new demographics.

To ensure neglect does not occur, marketing professionals need to make their customer engagement and targeting watertight. Understanding the demographic through curated lists, segmentation of the audience based on states, interests, and lifestyle will be key to successful targeting.