Australia is a unique and diverse country in every way - in culture, population, climate, geography and history. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than one-fifth of Australians speak a language other than English at home. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that we are also communicating with that 20% of our population in the language and via the communication channels they prefer.
The pandemic posed challenges for all businesses, including media organisations. Early last year, the Australian government announced a $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program that supports public interest journalism delivered by commercial television, newspaper, and radio businesses in regional Australia.
In addition, the Victorian government announced $1.6 million in funds to support 48 multicultural media outlets as they recover from the impact the pandemic had on their services in March. The next round of grants under the Multicultural Media Stimulus Program is also now open, with multicultural media outlets encouraged to apply for grants of up to $50,000. We are pleased that the effort, support and value of our multicultural media is being acknowledged by our government, as they have been critical in supporting multicultural communities over the past year – delivering up-to-date, culturally and linguistically relevant information and news to all Victorians.
These media enable more effective communication and message delivery to targeted audiences, and more thoroughly capture cultural nuances which could otherwise be lost in mainstream English language media. Through various online and offline platforms, multicultural media offers multiple touch points to their audiences, both locally and abroad.
Wendy Huang, Director of the Chinese News and Media Group said: “Communicating and advertising to Multicultural audiences should no longer be considered a niche in Australia. We must embrace this opportunity and recognise that diversity opens up vast areas for expansion and can offer major returns. There are always opportunities to start a campaign around specific group cultural traits (traditions, customs and celebrations) and build marketing campaigns that can resonate with customers across diverse cultural groups. An effective marketing campaign can successfully engage Australia’s multicultural audience and the brand will earn their loyalty and stand out against its competitors.”
Brands that understand the importance of engaging with multicultural communities earn their trust and form deeper connections, particularly where referrals and word-of-mouth are powerful tools to help raise brand awareness. Multicultural media, community influencers and intermediaries play a significant role in changing perceptions, encouraging behaviour, and influencing attitudes through trusted, authentic voices and stories.
Take the nutrition brand Swisse for example. It has been engaging with multicultural media for a number of years, such as establishing its presence on popular online and social media and e-commerce platforms including WeChat and Xiaohongshu, to engage with Chinese audiences. It’s global revenues grew by 30.3% in 2018, with Australia and New Zealand markets and China active sales increasing by 13.7% and 63.2% respectively. The brand has a clear defined strategy to engage Chinese audiences and works with Chinese influencers to further enhance brand awareness and drive sales. It has a rough 2020 like most businesses but looks to reboot in Australia in 2021.
Tonee Sethi, Founder of G’Day India believes that there is no better investment than investing in the existing reach of the multicultural ethnic media. People engage more and are convinced when they are communicated in their own language and especially through the platform they trust. The target message gets more attention from the community. Communicating and advertising with the multicultural ethnic media has always been more result oriented. This is the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful campaign for brands who understand. Supporting multicultural ethnic media is vital for reaching out and harnessing the power of multicultural communities in Australia.
The pandemic has taught brands and businesses many things but an important takeaway for them is not to neglect our local audiences. Brands need to share their purpose and engage with their audiences in more targeted and deeper ways that are authentic, comfortable and convenient.
Written by Diana Pong, APAC Communications Lead at Thrive PR + Communications