The unstoppable rise and rise of the Chinese traveller

Where are they going? What are they doing? What do they want? How are things changing? Questions asked (and answered!) by MultiConnexions PR & Social Media Manager, Katrina Hall

Chinese are travelling further, wider, and more frequently than ever and, as the Chinese chengyu poetry idiom goes – The four seas are their home (四海为家 sì hǎi wéi jiā). A quick look at some statistics around the rise and rise of the Chinese traveller crystalises this truth even further. China is now undoubtedly a leading nation when it comes to traveling.

Shopping in Dubai – a lesson in cultural inclusivity and tolerance

Ramadan 2018 will begin in the evening of Tuesday, 15 May and end in the evening of Thursday, 14 June 2018. In this MultiConnexions blog, PR & Social Media Manager Katrina recalls some cultural retail marketing she saw done extremely well in the globally recognised shopping haven – Dubai.

I remember when I first moved to Dubai to live around 10 years ago. It was just before the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan and the weather was steamy and hot. Eager to make a good impression and win some friends in my new home, I realised I needed to do some cramming about this most significant event on the Islamic calendar.

K-Pop, Anime & Gaming: The Australian marketing opportunity

Many of us already know very well that culture and cultural identity impact how we think, feel, behave, make friends and conduct business.

We know culture impacts what we eat, wear, how we spend our time and money and more.
We also know that cultural insights are critical and crucial to effective multicultural marketing.

5 tips to make a marketing splash this Holi

Happy Holi everyone!

With an estimated 440 million Indian millennials in India, a staggering 468,800 born in India residing in Australia (and many, many more by ancestry!) and more than 150 million Indians logged into Facebook at least once a month, the Indian diaspora is certainly a highly attractive target market.

Embracing the colourful Indian festival called Holi

Traditionally a Hindu festival, but now fast becoming popular with all cultures all around the world, Holi is one of the most colourful, vibrant and fun-filled festivals originating from the Indian sub-continent.

Holi is a celebration of the start of Spring in India as well as the triumph of good over evil – a very positive message that we can all get behind! It is best known for the colourful powders, dyes and coloured water that Holi revellers throw at each other, leaving everyone coated in a veritable rainbow of bright colours by the end of celebration. Holi festival is seen as a fun and positive celebration for families, friends and all.

This year, Holi falls on the 1st of March.

A beginner’s guide to Holi – the Festival of Colours – 10 questions answered


MultiConnexions PR & Social Media Manager, Katrina Hall looks at the fun-filled festival, and wishes all a Happy Holi filled with the colours of joy and happiness.

1. What is Holi?

The Holi Festival of Colours (also called Holi, Holika and Phagwa) is celebrated the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (early March). It is a day to mark spring, honour some events regarding Prahlada in the Hindu faith, and a time to disregard propriety and social norms and have a bit of fun!

2. When is Holi this year?

This year, the festival will likely be falling on Friday the 2nd of March, 2018.

3. What is the story behind the festival?

The story goes that Lord Brahma granted the haughty Demon King Hiranyakashipu virtual invincibility – and with his new powers, Hiranyakashipu arrogantly proclaimed himself a God. However, his son took issue with this and rebelled against him – thus enraging Hiranyakashipu who immediately ordered his son to be killed.

Many attempts were made in vain to carry out the murder. In desperation, Hiranyakashipu ordered Prahlada to be burned on a pyre along with his sister Holika, little knowing that Holika had been given immunity from fire by Lord Brahma.

Flames began to lick Prahlada and Holika – but the devout Prahlada prayed to Lord Vishnu to save him from the burning flames and, hearing the prayers, Lord Vishnu granted him mercy, while the fire consumed Holika. Alas, Holika did not know that her immunity worked only when she entered the fire alone!

Prahlada felt sorry for Holika and named Holi festival after her. Today, this story represents the end of pride and the day after the Holika bonfire is celebrated as Holi.

4. Who celebrates Holi?

Holi is widely celebrated in India, Australia and around the world by Hindus, Sikhs, some Jains, Newar Buddhists and other non-Hindus. Indians, and many other new audiences, are deeply rooted in their culture and this is a special time for them.

5. How do people celebrate Holi?

On the eve of Holi, a pyre is lit for Holika. The ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil. People gather around the fire to sing and dance and may offer raw coconut and corn to the fire. The next morning, fun begins again in earnest with something akin to a high-stakes water-fight! Friends, family and strangers alike throw coloured powder, coloured water and coloured paint/ dye around in an atmosphere of frivolity and humour. The end results are a riot of colour and a truly unforgettable spectacle.

As one Holi festival attendee put it last year, “When we’re covered in colours, our differences no longer matter.”

6. Are there any traditional foods, clothes, or symbols on the day?

Holi is all about colour, so it’s probably best to wear clothes you don’t mind getting ruined! Aside from that, sweet dumplings (dahi vada), a condensed milk slice (barfi) and fried fritters (pakora) are popular Holi treats. Obviously, visiting family and friends is a very important part of Holi.

7. What happened on Holi last year around the world?

Utah is home to the largest Holi festival in the world outside of India. Australia, the UK and many countries also host amazing celebrations – both organised and informally. Holi has also inspired some fantastic celebrations around the world, including Florida’s Life in Color, the Netherlands’ Mumbai Color Festival, Holi One in South Africa, and Colorjam Music Festival in Texas among many others.

8. What can we expect this year?

This year Holi certainly promises to be bigger and better than ever, as more and more people are beginning to celebrate.

9. Is Holi marked in Australia? What events are there this year?

Australia’s South Asian community marks Holi in style, with a series of fun activities around the country – focussing particularly on Sydney and Melbourne, where most of our Indian diaspora reside. Celebrations around the country include Blacktown Holi Mela, Keysborough Holi Mela, Holi Mahotsav in Darling Harbour Sydney, Rockdale Colour Festival, Holi Mela Parramatta, Melbourne Holi Festival St Kilda, Wyndham Holi and Springfield Holi Festival in Brisbane to name but a small sample.

Such events are increasingly attracting the attention of major Australian brands looking to harness the goodwill during Holi, and target messages to the crowds of attendees via goodwill initiatives.

10. What is the marketing opportunity during Holi?

In addition to the above mentioned festival/ sponsorship marketing opportunities – for many brands there are many other terrific marketing opportunities to be tapped into during this period.

For example, during Holi many Indians choose to give their home a thorough spring-cleaning – often redecorating and disposing of old items. This means a great marketing opportunity for the retail sector with additional sales generated of household goods, clothing and more. It is a time when many Indians look at property investments and even changing their homes for a larger and better one.

Holi is also a wonderful time for marketers to integrate festive greetings into advertisements and marketing initiatives to capture the attention of enthusiastic people celebrating Holi.

Culture Runs Deep

culture-runs-deep

About 17 years ago, I became one of 123,000 Filipino migrants to arrive in Australia in the year 2000. A father, a heavily pregnant mother and a child of just two or three landed on a plane with curious eyes and expectant hearts, looking to start a new life.

The change in scenery was quite drastic. Immediately, we shifted from the views of congested traffic, exotic food markets, jeepneys, and children running around in shorts and singlets to clean streets, smartly dressed people and sky-high buildings.

Although I was too young to realise this sudden change, my parents were indeed in culture shock as first generation Filipinos. To this day, I cannot place my finger on what I miss the most about my original home – whether it’s the warm smile of my grandmother, seeing my Mum paint in our upstairs room, watching my late grandfather cook, or the occasional middle-aged man roaming the streets screaming “TAHO!!!”, where I would eagerly run to the door ready to buy. (It’s a sweet Filipino dessert by the way).

One thing is for sure – whilst my stay in the Philippines was cut short, I never strayed too far from my roots, or my humble beginnings. My Mum and Dad, although working late night shifts and barely getting sleep, raised my sister and I with a very Filipino upbringing. We always ate dishes that many of my friends at school had never heard of before. Pictured below are some of my favourites.

Family is family

I remember my Mum telling me why she never became a doctor. She had the grades to be a doctor, she was on the Dean’s list at university, and even some of our family members were doctors. Yet, when I asked her why she didn’t want to she simply replied, “I wanted to spend time with my family.” My Mum was willing to forgo earning more, as she knew it would detract time from being with her family.

In the Philippines, we are very family-oriented. We won’t give up family for anything, even if it means sacrificing earnings. My Mum is happily working at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a senior role, which provides her with the flexibility to spend time with us on weekends and after work.

Know the value of hard work

When we first arrived in Australia, I remember one day I woke earlier than usual to see my Dad preparing to leave the house. Back then, we were living at my Aunt’s house before we could find our own home. Dad left at approximately 4am, every day. The image of him leaving in his car through the window with barely any sun in the sky is an image that I’ve taken with me for more than a decade. To this day, I haven’t forgotten it, and I make sure it is embedded in my work ethic and my passion.

Hospitality

If you have ever visited a Filipino family home you may be familiar with the traditional Filipino greeting: “Hi, how are you? Have you eaten yet?” The first thing a Filipino asks after greeting is whether you’ve eaten. If you say no, they’ll offer anything that is in the kitchen. Hospitability is central to the Filipino culture. We love to make people feel welcomed and comfortable in our homes. It is also imperative to keep the house clean and presentable if anyone is to visit.

Culture is something to be proud of and holds an eternal grip on our identities. With Filipinos being one of the top three migrants to Australia in 2017, I am glad to see that the Australian landscape is buzzing and oozing with culture. There is always something to learn from the people around you. And, there is always something that will stay a part of you, no matter where you go.

culture-runs-deep
Family photo

This blog was written by Andrea Virrey, a proud Filipino-Australian and passionate multicultural marketing intern at MultiConnexions.

The life of a Chinese Daigou

chinese-daigou

Meet Jenny

Jenny – 47 – works full time at a bank, but has been boosting that income by hitting the shops after work and on weekends. She puts in an additional 20 hours a week sourcing products like skin care, health supplements, breakfast cereals and chocolate products. Jenny knows that there is a big demand for these items in China.

She started off working as a Daigou by default, as her family in China were always requesting items to be posted back to them. They thought the quality of Australian products are better than China, and as time went on, word spread like wildfire. Her reach went beyond her immediate family and friends to a wider network in China – her WeChat followers increased by the day.

From there, business exploded to where she was earning AUD 2000 each week. Jenny posts images of products on her personal social media, WeChat, offering to purchase Australian products in-store for her clients and post them to China.

Demand for Australian products

Some of the products Chinese buyers are looking for are only available in Australia.

Some products, like baby formula and some health care products, are subject to Australia’s stringent safety regulations – making them highly appealing to Chinese consumers.

To alleviate safety concerns regarding China-made products, consumers are looking to Australian Daigou to help them find alternatives.

Trust is the key to good sales in China, and Daigous are often highly trusted. “Word of mouth plays an important part of Daigou activity,” Jenny said. As Jenny walks into a pharmacy, preparing to fill her basket with health supplements and skin care products, she will Skype with her friends, family’s friends and friends’ friends in China from her phone. She said video calls with clients are crucial when purchasing items, to prove that the products are genuine as they are from a legitimate store.

Since joining MultiConnexions as a Client Servicing Executive, I can see the huge potential of utilising the Daigou market for our clients.

Chinese consumers depend heavily on product recommendations from online reviewers. Peer reviews that they read on social media are very important when it comes to making a purchase decision.

In particular, WeChat, the most widely used chat app in the Chinese community, has opened up great opportunities for multicultural marketers. Sharing feedback and recommending products to friends has become substantially easier, due to the fact that the app allows sharing on a platform that is more private in nature between individuals and small groups. The Chinese community generally will only take the step to purchase a product after getting consent from their peers via social media and ecommerce forums. Hence, the most popular Australian exporters to China aren’t the brands – they’re the relationships and the unique marketing initiatives that Chinese enjoy.

5 Daigou Facts

1. Daigou are often entrepreneurial Chinese students living in Australia or Chinese visitors, who wish to send a number of Australian products back to China.

2. In China, the most-searched keyword on the web associated with Australia is Daigou.

3. Popular products among Daigou: Baby milk formula/powder, medications, health supplements, body lotion, face lotion, hand cream, body wash.

4. Reasons the market exists:

High quality, well known Australian brands
Fear of non-genuine Chinese products
Expensive retail price in China compared with Australia

5. It is widely acknowledged that there are between 40,000 to 60,000 Daigous in Australia advertising Australian products on WeChat, Weibo or C2C e-marketplaces in China.

Today, as a MultiConnexions team member, we help our clients to adopt the most appropriate strategy on a grass-root level to target various multicultural and diaspora audiences.

We can utilise WeChat social media platform to its fullest, increasing your brand’s exposure, in order to target buying agents and generate new business opportunities.

Whether it is setting up a client’s official WeChat account, creating unique and culturally tailored content, organising interactive competitions to increase your followers, or having our creative team to design artworks for display advertising, we know how to reach the hearts and minds of Chinese customers.

If you have a product, we have the answer.

This blog was written by Anabelle Yong, MCX’s Client Servicing Executive – a.k.a. Anabelly, the food lover.

Rich media, social media

Once upon a time (well, actually just about ten years ago), YouTube was the go-to home for rich media, and it largely consisted of video, Java, audio, and vector graphics. The phrase ‘rich media’ was not yet widely known or used, but its potential had already begun to catch the eye of marketers and advertisers.

Fast forward to today and rich media as we know it – like Pokémon – has evolved. It is travelling all over the nooks and crannies of the interwebs in a quest for bigger and better things. Like selfies, rich media has found a comfortable new home on social media and it is there that is screaming for attention to all who are willing to listen.

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’.