A marketer’s best friend

Lunar New Year is one of the oldest and most important traditions in Asian culture, and the 16th of February 2018 will herald the year of man’s best friend – the Dog. In this blog, MultiConnexions PR & Social Media Manager, Katrina Hall looks at LNY18 and asks – What is the multicultural marketing opportunity during this special time?

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is marked by around one-sixth of the world’s population – a total of approximately 1.5 billion people!

Names for the festival vary – for example, it is also commonly known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, but the naming varies according to region and country too – for example, Vietnamese celebrate Tet, Koreans celebrate Seollal, Tibetans celebrate Losar and Mongolians celebrate Tsagaan Sar – however, the common theme is that celebrations involve reunions, harmony and good fortune for the new year. It is also the world’s biggest annual detonation of fireworks, with fireworks lighting up the skies across much of East Asia (and the world!).

The Year of the Dog

In Chinese astrology, each zodiac year is associated with one of 12 animal signs – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig, plus one of the five natural elements – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.

Culture Runs Deep

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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

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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.

The business of love

Yes, I know Valentine’s Day has come and gone but I promise this blog is not about actual love. Those who consider the prospect of finding the perfect present a challenge should be glad they don’t live in China – which has not one, not two, not three… but FOUR love-centred holidays that come with the expectation of gifts. Whether you love or hate these traditions, brands are embracing the notion of love in marketing and reaping the rewards. Why? Because love means big business!

Let me break it down.

Little Red Book

While the term Little Red Book in China may previously have brought Chairman Mao’s book of the same name to mind, today’s Chinese may associate it with something altogether different.

Little Red Book – the go-to online retailer for overseas luxury goods

Little Red Book – Xiao Hong Shu in Chinese – is an app that has attracted over 17 million consumers and $200 million in annual merchandise sales in just 3 years. Things don’t look to be slowing down, with the company recently having raised $120 million from major investors such as TenCent and ZhenFund.

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.

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.

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.