Getting to know you series: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The MultiConnexions ‘Getting to know you’ blog series provides deeper insight into various important cultural demographics in Australia.  In this latest edition, we spotlight Australia’s indigenous aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – the world’s oldest living culture. For marketers and brands, reaching out to indigenous Australians is a diverse and inclusive strategy that shows a company or organisation cares – and shows real soul. Learn more in this blog.

Who are they?

Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders come from many different and distinct groups all around this great Southern land.

The IATSIS map pictured above attempts to represent the language, social or nation groups of Aboriginal Australia. Image Source: IATSIS

Map of Torres Strait Islands, north of Queensland, Image Source: Wikipedia

How many?

Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is small but growing rapidly. The population grew by 19 per cent between 2011 and 2016! In 2006, they represented 2.3% of our population, in 2011 they were 2.5%, and in 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders represented 3.3% of our population.

Where do they live?

Indigenous Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live all around Australia, and all around the world. New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia are home to the largest populations (three quarters of the total population), followed by NT, VIC, SA, Tas and ACT. New South Wales is home to more than a quarter of a million Aboriginal Australians.

A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in Outer Regional Australia compared with non-indigenous people.

What are the characteristics of the culture?

They are the world’s oldest living culture. Aboriginal culture dates back more than 50,000 years. It existed long before Stonehenge, the Pyramids, and the Acropolis.

It is a verbal tradition, with creativity and storytelling at the very heart of Aboriginal culture.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders groups around the country each have their own culture, customs, languages, and laws. Australian Aboriginal culture includes practices and ceremonies centred on a belief in the Dreamtime and other mythology.

This ancient culture continues to be expressed in ever-changing and modern ways.

What about language?

Before the arrival of Europeans, there were around 270 different language groups and many different cultural ways. According to the National Indigenous Languages Survey, today some 145 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are still spoken in Australia alongside English, however only 18 are widely spoken.

So, how can an organisation or brand connect with this audience?

Aboriginal people are a growing group of experts in new media and technologies. KPMG research shows that the vast majority of Indigenous Australians already engage with new consumer technology – even in remote areas. In very general terms, a multi-channel approach tends to work best with this audience. Impactful channels include:

-Mainstream and Aboriginal media outlets

-Digital and print media

-Community engagement and community activities – particularly with elders

-Storytelling for message dissemination

And from a messaging point of view, it helps to partner with an agency able to conduct formative research to inform campaign development and reflect Aboriginal culture respectfully.

MultiConnexions can book your media in-house to target indigenous Australians.

For further information on targeting indigenous aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in your next campaign, contact MultiConnexions today – or submit your creative to our bespoke cultural and diversity testing sister company Diversity Testing.

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