Autumn in two worlds

This weekend, I spent a day at Sydney’s iconic Blue Mountains with an old friend. The changing colours of the autumn leaves drew us there, and the reds and yellows were truly beautiful. I was busily snapping pictures on my phone and posting the beautiful scenes on WeChat, and receiving lovely comments and likes instantly from my friends all over the world. The weather was beautiful, the air was crisp, and it was a very memorable day.

As we filled our hands with fallen leaves and pine cones, we felt lucky that we had visited at the right time to experience the beauty above us, around us, and under our feet.

But the day set me thinking too.

Our outing felt like a totally Chinese experience as around 90 per cent of the sight-seers were speaking Chinese! You see, in China, strolling around to enjoy the changing leaves is a traditional activity. For many, it is a time to visit the hills as they turn from green to red and yellow and all the colours in between. It’s a brief period of time before all the leaves fall, which makes the experience even more special.

Above: Most visitors were in the more cultivated gardens rather than in the bush or parks. They were excited by the surrounding colours, and happily posing with family and friends in a myriad of ways. (Image Credit: Aaron Rusden)

What I experienced on the weekend was squarely in line with what the MCX Lifestyle Survey recently revealed about migrants.

Chinese in Australia – and indeed multicultural audiences in Australia – live in two cultural worlds.

As they settle into a new life in Australia, they seek out opportunities to explore and discover new experiences, but prefer experiences that are emotionally and culturally appealing. Such experiences in the new context often bring the two worlds together. Autumn excursions in the Blue Mountains is a perfect match – it’s new and it’s traditional; it’s wild and it’s planned; it’s nature and it’s culture.

As migrants bring their two cultural worlds together, they follow broad-ranging topics, discover new opportunities and create new fusions. In fact, travel and holidays are a number one passion for the Chinese migrant community in Australia.

And how did the Chinese groups find out about the Blue Mountains? Many people – including my friend and I – had referred to WeChat for guidance. There are in-language posts detailing where and when to go. It was no wonder that the area attracted so many Chinese seasonal visitors!

My outing over the weekend truly reinforced the key learning:

Brands wanting to connect with multicultural audiences need to understand the audience’s cultural needs, and satisfy these desires in new ways. 

By Kaiyu Li
MCX Director – Strategy & Insights
A proud Chinese Australian, insights and research guru who loves connecting people with brands

MultiConnexions Director highlights ‘visiting auntie syndrome’ at ‘Diversity Delivers’ IAA Thought Leadership Breakfast Forum

It was a packed house this morning at Doltone House, Sydney for the ‘Diversity DeliversIAA Thought Leadership Breakfast Forum hosted by Mumbrella, where leading diversity/ industry experts were in agreement for the incontestable business case for diversity. Ipsos Australia research indicates that organisations with ethnic and gender diversity at senior levels are financially outperforming their competitors – this is sometimes referred to as ‘The Diversity Dividend’.

During the lively and fascinating panel discussion, which touched on ‘how leading brands are leveraging diversity to deliver better ROI, improved creative outcomes and meaningful insights’, MultiConnexions Director of Strategy and Insights, Kaiyu Li highlighted a phenomenon he called, ‘visiting auntie syndrome’.

“MultiConnexions urges Australia’s leading brands to avoid being perceived as ‘a visiting auntie’ among their target multicultural audiences, where they only – for instance – have a Lunar New Year stall at a festival, or a token campaign every now and then. Relationships are critical, particularly to Chinese and South Asian audiences, and as such, relationship marketing is the key to a brand successfully engaging with these audiences,” said Kaiyu Li, Director of Strategy and Insights, MultiConnexions.

“It’s time to grab your ‘spot on the sofa’ so to speak, and drive a more strategic ‘always on’ approach to engagement with various multicultural audiences with a year-round strategy,’ added Mr Li.

Ms Megan Brownlow, Partner & Editor, Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook, PwC moderated the high-profile panel, which included – in addition to Mr Li – Laura Demasi, Research Director, Ipsos Mind & Mood Report; Melanie Willis, Non-Executive Director, Mantra Group, Southern Cross Media Group, Ardent Leisure Group & Pepper Financial Services Group; and Catriona Noble, Managing Director Retail Distribution, ANZ.

The typical Australian’s slang

A slow grin spread across my face this afternoon when leading Australian marketing trade publication B&T’s newsletter hit my inbox, and I read the blurb attached to an article titled: Four’ N Twenty Campaigns To Save our Slang.

“Hunt is on to find top Aussie slang,” read the blurb. “We’d like to nominate ‘merci beaucoup’ and 这些馅饼是可怕的,” quipped B&T’s editor.

The French phrase ‘thank you very much’ and the Chinese phrase ‘this pie is awful’ above were obvious nods to Australia’s truly remarkable multiculturalism.

Eggs and baskets

With belief in the resurrection  of Christ being so central to Christianity, Easter (falling on April 16 this year), and its lead-up, is a very meaningful time for Christians all around the world, with many attending church services even if they wouldn’t ordinarily do so. For the close to two thirds of Australia’s population identifying as Christian (according to Census, 2011) Easter also tends to bring to mind images of hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, baby animals, Easter egg hunts, and – of course – the Easter bunny.

But in the melting pot of Australia, cultural differences abound among various multicultural audiences celebrating Easter. The Greek Orthodox faith – for one – has some particularly noteworthy traditions around Easter.

Making WeChat your business – is our business

In many ways, Australia has always been ahead of the game with regards to new technology uptake and adoption – a point which should be a source of great national pride. In fact, an Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science infographic on ‘Adoption of digital technologies by Australians’ beautifully highlighted such heartening facts as:

  • 90 per cent of Australian adults actively use the internet and almost all Australian businesses are connected
  • Three quarters of Australians use mobile phones to access the internet, making us one of the most mobile connected countries in the world
  • The average Australian household has 8 connected devices
Posted in MCX

MultiConnexions launches MCX Talent at Melbourne Lunar New Year ‘Roostail’ event

“Multiculturalism is the unstoppable global trend that Australia is leading”

MultiConnexions has launched MCX Talent, the company’s new cultural talent arm on the sidelines of the company’s ‘Roostail’ Lunar New Year Asian insights evening held at Melbourne’s Chinese Museum. Sheba Nandkeolyar, CEO, MultiConnexions announced the launch of MCX Talent, which will help marketers and agencies fill the gap existing in the market for culturally diverse talent.

Posted in MCX

We are Global

Why should brands invest in speaking to the new audiences in Australia? This is a question often asked by marketers. And there can be no better answer than what I see outside Emporium Melbourne at 5:00 am this fairly chilly morning. There are more than 60 young Asians already waiting patiently in the queue to purchase the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 –new Kanye West sneakers.

They look pretty well settled in their light fold up chairs, and look like they may have been there all night. A $250 pair can be sold online I am told by one informed youngster for $600 – a tidy profit. I take a quick walk before heading to the airport and watch a deal being done. One young guy sold his place in the queue for $200 to another punter.

Something to crow about in the Year of the Rooster

Lunar New Year is one of the busiest times for MultiConnexions (MCX), as there is often a flurry of work as our clients seek to target audiences of Chinese and other Asian backgrounds during a time when they are very receptive to positive messages.

The 2017 Lunar New Year was one of the most memorable for me, as I was heavily involved with the research and implementation of activations and events for our clients, Medibank and Telstra. It was also memorable as recently I had started to embrace Chinese culture more, starting to learn Mandarin at University of Sydney, as well as trying more Chinese cuisine (hotpot being a new favourite).

A tale of two countries

On my recent trip to India, I was amazed at the changes in population demographics and psychographics. It was indeed a youthful India that I encountered.

It was not just meeting young people brimming with entrepreneurial energy that impressed me, but also encountering the middle aged and older Indians with a refreshingly and decidedly younger mindset that took me by surprise!

Listen up Australia! Language matters.

The MultiConnexions team recently unearthed an insightful article that was published in titled, ‘These are the most powerful languages in the world’ written by Kai Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative.

In my role as Creative Writing/Language Lead, I get to experience the power of languages every day. Language matters. It breaks barriers, creates meaningful conversations and forges powerful connections that help companies and their customers understand one another better.