Cornerstone Alliance


Multicultural Marketing is more than the colour of your graphics

To get the maximum impact with your multicultural marketing, there are a few more things to consider than colouring your graphics with different skin tones or translating words written in English into a set of languages for distribution.

Think about it through a simple comparison. You steam your fish, I curry it. You wear a silk skirt, I saree it. You love your morning coffee, I cherish a spiced chai. You understand what ‘How you going?’ means. Well, I thought, I needed to answer, “By bus!” I mean, surely the questioner would know this, we were standing at a bus stop back in June 2004. It takes years to acclimatise, and this experience is both a joy and a bit of a scary am-I-getting-this-right phase. By the way, my current answer is, “Great thanks, how about you?”

Cultural Nuances affect communications

Cultural nuances affect communications significantly and one small error in interpreting your message could cost you millions in under-achieved campaign goals.

If you look around in the current pandemic climate, there are people/communities/regions just not getting the messaging. This does warrant the unpacking of traditionally packaged marketing and shines the spotlight back on the critical importance of a solid multicultural marketing strategy.

In the past year alone, Cornerstone Alliance would have delivered hundreds of such messages through various channels on behalf of federal agencies. Unfortunately, we are often brought into the frame after these campaigns have been delivered in English around the nation. This is usually a clear sign that the planning wasn’t done right, or that it simply didn’t include a purposeful culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) marketing strategy.

Tips & Tricks

So, what’s the most effective strategy to base your multicultural campaigns upon?

There are ways of getting through to the CALD communities you wish to target with your communications. Before you plan a generic multicultural marketing strategy, please appreciate that each community has a unique character, and this means you won’t get a return on investment if you are not willing to customise your communications and marketing.

Here are some tips for you to consider while you plan your multicultural marketing activity.

  • Start with multicultural marketing exactly at the same time you begin planning a new marketing campaign. Do NOT do this as a tokenistic afterthought to tick diligence-boxes.
  • Get a community focus group going, ask all the questions pertinent to your target segment. Incentivise the group’s commitment and participation with gift vouchers or similar.
  • Design campaign messaging with specialists who know how to craft simple messages that can be translated without losing meaning and impact. Do NOT use complex words, jokes or idioms. These end up being just ridiculous once translated.
  • Use colour, go for bold and beautiful graphics, and strongly consider accessibility standards.
  • Use QR codes in print collateral to engage people with rich and relevant content, preferably through customised language videos, animations, or augmented reality interactions.
  • Develop rich and relevant content for all platforms in various formats to suit your campaign delivery.
  • Use your community focus group to test creative assets and content. Pay attention to the little details presented in feedback sessions.
  • Use a specialised agency to translate your messaging. Please get every message rechecked and confirmed by an independent translator.
  • Use research to investigate the best-fit marketing channel-mix for your multicultural campaign delivery. Keep an eye on insights and adjust in-campaign, if necessary.

Wrapping it up

So, to wrap that up, design your multicultural marketing strategy around the message, package the design in a culturally relevant format, implement via a best-fit channel mix, and position with impact.