Marketers need to take a less “monolithic” view of Indian Americans if they want to make tangible, lasting in-roads with this important audience.

Senthil Govindan, president of Datawrkz, a digital-media shop with offices in the US, India and Singapore, discussed this subject at the Asian American Advertising Federation’s (3AF) 2020 Asian Marketing Summit.

“Agencies and brands tend to think of the Asian and Indian space in the US as being monolithic. But the truth is really far from that classification or that categorisation,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Three ways for brands to reach Indian Americans in a nuanced, relevant way.)

In connecting with Indian Americans, he recommended that marketers pursue nuanced linguistic and cultural considerations, as well as a deeper understanding of the events and passion points for this audience.

Govindan used language as a case in point: “Yes, there is an English overlay, where almost all Indian Americans will speak English and will be familiar with, and go to, websites that are English-based,” he said.

But, to gain a full perspective on this audience, “you also have a whole bunch of regional pockets that you also need to look at”.

Previous research from the 3AF, for example, found that 43% of Indian Americans engaged better with advertising shown alongside culturally relevant content.

This total reached 51% when it came to preferring ads in their language with Indian origins rather than English, demonstrating the need to adopt granular strategies.

Forty-five percent of Indian Americans were also more likely to pay attention when ads included celebrities or people with Indian or Asian origins.

Similarly, while Diwali is an obvious point of focus for brands targeting Indian Americans, Govindan urged marketers to understand that a range of festivals are important to different segments of the community.

“When Asian American marketers think about India, I think the festival that comes to mind the most is Diwali,” he told the 3AF assembly.

“But Dussehra, or Durga Puja in Bengal, is probably going to be more important to people from that part of India who might have relocated to the US.”

Sourced from WARC