engage magazine issue 006/\'08 - Page 14

14 NEWS FOCUS News UK’s Ethnic Minorities Understand the multi-cultural market The need for brands to understand and communicate with ethnic groups in the UK has never been greater, says a recent study commissioned by MultiCultural Communications (MCC), Weber Shandwick’s specialist marketing division. Ethnic minorities represent a growing audience of around five million in the UK and it is expected that by 2010, ethnic minority spending power will reach £300bn. Comparatively in the United States where multi-cultural marketing is a well established business, spending power is expected to reach $2trillion. Despite these findings, the MCC Insight Study found that ethnic consumers in the UK often feel ignored, with at least one in two people from all ethnic groups, including the white population, believing consumer brands often use ethnic faces in advertising as a token gesture. This perception is particularly strong among the Black African (71%), Chinese (68%) and Indian communities (67%) At least three-quarters of Asian (77%) and Black (78%) people and half (50%) of Chinese people in the UK are worried that mainstream brands have no relevance to them. Black African and Caribbean audiences in particular feel that very little current marketing and advertising relates to them as consumers. In the UK, the 2001 National Census found that 8% of the population were from a non-white ethnic group, with the three largest groups being Asian, Black and Chinese. A third of the The Spending Power of the In addition, 75% of Black, 63% of Asian and 50% of Chinese people believe consumer brands are not aware of how to market to individuals from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The Multi-Cultural Insight Study surveyed 535 ethnic (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black African, Black Caribbean and Chinese) and 509 White people in the UK, aged 18-35. The survey compared brand preferences within the cosmetics (skincare, haircare and makeup), automobile, fashion, financial and food and drink sectors, and explored attitudes on the representation of ethnic groups in the mainstream media. population of Inner London and a quarter of the population of Outer London are from ethnic minority groups. In 2003 the Cabinet Office projected that ethnic minorities will account for half of the growth in the working-age population over the ten years to 2009. Some major brands communicate well with ethnic groups in the UK as part of their marketing, advertising and PR strategies. Tesco, Orange and BT have conducted specific campaigns and reaped brand equity and financial benefits. Diversity within organisations is key too. Recently, for example, HSBC announced record profits and directly credited the strength and diversity of their company as the reason for success. Despite this, the MCC Insight Study found that 82% of the black population feel that there are not enough senior people within mainstream organisations. engage | uk ISSUE SIX 2008