Marketing to the AAPI Community in the U.S.

Jessie Liu, Director AAPI Publicity, 01.19.24

01.19.24 Jessie Liu, Director AAPI Publicity

Although Asian Americans account for only 7% of the U.S. population, they're the fastest growing and most diverse ethnic group in the country over the past decade. This population represents more than 20 countries of origin across Asia, including China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and more. Moreover, according to the Pew Research Center, Asians are projected to become the predominant immigrant group in the U.S. by 2065, comprising 38% of the total population and surpassing the Hispanic community.

To marketers, improving the understanding of this expanding and culturally diverse group has become key to launching effective marketing campaigns and successfully connecting with the Asian American community. At AGM, we keep the following principles in mind when speaking to the community.

Don't: Stereotype, generalize, and misrepresent

Stereotypes ranging from the "model minority" myth to the perpetuation of harmful tropes and generalizations fail to recognize the individuality and complexity of AAPI identities. Marketers and brands tend to create misrepresentation when relying on stereotypes or overlooking the diverse experiences of this community, which, as seen in real-world marketing examples, can lead to negative perceptions and damage brand reputation.

Do: Understand and embrace the diverse cultural values

Each group within the AAPI community possesses its own set of values, customs, and languages. According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 90% of Asian adult respondents say Asian Americans have many different cultures. Only 9% say Asians living in the U.S. share a common culture. Acknowledging and embracing the cultural nuances and different experiences of Asian Americans allows marketers to develop inclusive and culturally sensitive strategies that effectively resonate with the various subgroups.

At AGM, we keep a calendar that tracks the most important cultural moments/holidays to each subgroup and the meanings/traditions attached to it. It helps us identify the right time and the right approach when developing a strategy to target a specific group.

Don't: Go with the majority

Studies show that Asian Americans have distinct media consumption habits that differ from the general population. Asian Americans spend approximately two hours less daily on media while spending 5% more time on internet-enabled devices compared to the general population. We recognize the changing landscape of media consumption habits among the AAPI community - from traditional to streaming platforms - to help us determine the best approach to capture their attention and foster genuine engagement.

Do: Dive deeper into content preference

Knowing the distinct media consumption of the AAPI community is a solid starting point. Going further, we design targeted marketing campaigns that genuinely resonate with Asian American audiences by diving deeper into their digital media habits and content preferences on each platform.

The audience insights report released by Media Culture shows that social media serves as a pivotal connection hub for the Asian American community, among which LinkedIn (45%), Reddit (29%), and Discord (27%) are widely used platforms. While YouTube (81%) and Facebook (74%) are highly consumed, they are slightly less preferred compared to other platforms. Influencers and community groups also play a significant role when it comes to online engagement: 18% of Asian Americans follow influencer recommendations, 43% seek new ideas, and 27% have made social media purchases in the past year.

With that in mind, when working with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to promote its Hollywood Bowl Season, we primarily partnered with AAPI influencers across subgroups and launched a social media giveaway campaign through user-generated content, which helped the client surpass its sales goal.

In conclusion

The AAPI community is not a monolith. It comprises individuals from 75 countries across the Asian continent, all with nuanced cultural traditions. Additionally, their backgrounds encompass vast socioeconomic diversity and distinctive immigrant experiences. Marketers who lump these nationalities together will miss potential opportunities that come along with segmented campaigns targeting more specific audiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we help brands effectively connect with AAPI audiences.

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