How To Engage With AAPI Audiences In 5 Steps

Jessie Liu, Director AAPI Publicity, 10.18.22

10.18.22 Jessie Liu, Director AAPI Publicity

The Insight

The key to multicultural marketing is to get a deeper understanding of the cultural nuances among your audiences. Unlike other multicultural segments, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is a highly diverse community with over 50 ethnicities, which now represents an influential community that is helping to shape the American mainstream. Yet few marketers and media companies understand how they can best engage with the AAPI community.

So who are from the AAPI?

image5 Simu Liu - Actor, Chinese

image3 Dwayne Johnson - Actor, Pacific Islanders/ Samoan

image4 Kumail Nanjiani - Actor/Comedian, Pakistan

image6 NIKI - Musical Artist, Indonesian

image2 Maia Shibutani - Olympic Athlete, Japanese

image8 Eric Nam - Musical Artist, Korean

image3 Lana Condor - Actress, Vietnamese

image3 Mindy Kaling- Actress/Producer, Indian

The Data

Nielsen Diverse Intelligence Series May 2022 report indicated that:

  • There are currently 25.6 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the U.S., making up almost 8% of the total population.
  • AAPI buying power has reached $1.3 Trillion in 2020, and increased by 111% between 2010 and 2020, becoming the fastest growing consumer segment.

Another report from Nielsen Engaging Asian American Consumers at The Dawn of a New Decade 2020 demonstrated that:

  • 84% of Asian Americans on social media daily (versus 75% total population).
  • 82% of Asian Americans subscribe to at least one streaming service, compared to 72% of the total population.

Approach / Considerations

In order to deliver innovative, impactful, and robust marketing campaigns that speak to the diversity of this ethnic group authentically, there are FIVE major steps that need to be taken into consideration:

  • Amplify AAPI voices

    • We strategize by leveraging voices of AAPI talent to create messages that speak authentically to the audiences.
    • Example: We secured an interview for Tim Jo with Character Media, one of the top-tier AAPI outlets, to talk about his career journey as an AAPI talent working in the mainstream entertainment industry while promoting his latest series - Reasonable Doubt, from Onyx Collective
  • Social connection with targeted demographic

    • With the understanding of the high usage of social media within the AAPI audiences, we tap into trends in the community and popular social platforms/channels to reach the targeted audiences.
    • Example: We partnered with the most popular YouTube AAPI channel, Wong Fu Productions, for one of their Lunch Break episodes with Benedict Wong from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
  • Identify cultural nuances

    • Ethnic segmentation does not capture all the variance of Asian-American markets, while we use acculturation levels as our predictor of consumer behavior, which is the ability to adopt elements of the host culture while retaining aspects of one’s native culture.
    • Example: To target the low acculturation audiences, who are more comfortable speaking in their native language and show positive attitudes towards products and brands from their culture of origin, we secured an interview for two Chinese American talent from Prime Video’s latest reality show - The One That Got Away with ETTV, a well-known Chinese broadcast channel.
  • Accessible to resource

    • In addition to traditional media outlets and social platforms, we also actively engage with audiences through podcasts and radio, which show a great interest in both channels.
    • Example: While working with Paramount+’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, we invited Christina Chong to speak with Phil Yu for one of its podcast episodes from All The Asians from Star Trek.
  • Know your Niche

    • Partnering with community organizations is another effective way to engage with the specific demographics, where people share like-minded values and interests. Example: When promoting Lightyear, we partnered with Asians in Animation to host a virtual panel and Q&A sessions for animators to discuss the film and share their stories working in Pixar with like-minded audiences.


To create a well-executed campaign to target the AAPI community, we, as marketers, should break stereotypes that the public may have about this group and demonstrate a deep understanding of the complexity and cultural nuances within the community to speak to AAPI audiences with authenticity and integrity.

Fun Facts/Trivia Question

  • Did you know…Philip Ahn was the first Asian American film actor to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984
  • Did you know…Steven Yuen is the first Asian American Oscar nominee in the Best Actor category in 2021
  • Crazy Rich Asians (2018) is the first major Hollywood film with a majority Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club, which premiered in….
    • A. 2004
    • B. 1988
    • C. 1993
    • D. 1997

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