Inclusive Marketing & Assimilation for Asian American Audiences

Posted on August 18, 2023 by Media Culture

In today's increasingly diverse and multicultural society, acknowledging and embracing the intricate and vibrant diversity within the Asian American community is of utmost importance. Asian Americans are not a homogenous group but rather a rich tapestry of various regions, cultures, and languages that contribute to their unique and multifaceted identities.

It's essential to avoid stereotypes and represent Asian American audiences as an integral part of the broader U.S. community, ensuring they aren't isolated or singled out.

Using data from our Asian American Audience Insights Report, we will share best-practice approaches that allow you to be cognizant of regional and cultural differences while staying mindful of the desire for assimilation. 

/// The Essence of Asian American Identity

More Than a Monolithic Group

The majority of Asian Americans trace their roots to a diverse range of countries, contributing to a variety of cultural identities. China is a significant place of origin, comprising 22% of the Asian American population. Additionally, countries such as India (19.6%), the Philippines (17.9%), Vietnam (9.3%), the Koreas (8.2%), and Japan (3.9%) also contribute to the rich diversity within the Asian American community.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the religious affiliations of Asian Americans are equally diverse. While the majority of Asian Americans practice Hinduism (91%), there are also significant populations of Buddhists (33%) and Muslims (28%). This diversity in religious beliefs adds another layer of complexity to the Asian American community and highlights the need to embrace and celebrate the various aspects of their identities.

Overall, recognizing the diverse places of origin and religious affiliations within the Asian American community is crucial in understanding and appreciating their unique experiences and contributions to society. Acknowledging and embracing the diverse backgrounds within the Asian American population allows marketers to create inclusive and culturally sensitive strategies that effectively resonate with the various subgroups present in this community.

The Realities of Assimilation and Integration

Asian Americans have a unique experience of assimilation and integration into the United States. They have integrated into American society while still retaining their distinct cultural identities. This balance between embracing American values and maintaining cultural traditions is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the Asian American community.

/// The Pitfalls of Stereotyping

Common Misconceptions

Unfortunately, Asian Americans have often been subjected to stereotypes that fail to accurately represent the diversity within the community. These stereotypes range from the "model minority" myth to the perpetuation of harmful tropes and generalizations. It is crucial to debunk these misconceptions and recognize the individuality and complexity of Asian American identities.

The Cost of Misrepresentation

When marketers and brands rely on stereotypes or overlook the diverse experiences of Asian Americans, it can result in backlash and alienation from the community. Real-world marketing examples have shown that misrepresentation can lead to negative perceptions and damage brand reputation. Broadening your cultural intelligence will help build empathy and awareness while reducing the risk of stereotyping or misrepresentation.

/// The Power of Inclusive Marketing

Celebrating Diversity

To authentically represent the Asian American community, brands and campaigns need to celebrate the diversity within it. By emphasizing the diverse stories, experiences, and contributions of Asian Americans from various regions and backgrounds, marketers can craft campaigns that deeply resonate with and engage their audience.

Inclusive marketing that embraces the cultural nuances and experiences of Asian Americans is not only a responsible approach but also a powerful way to build brand loyalty and engage with this growing demographic.

Related: Engaging the Asian American Consumer: Understanding the Broad Spectrum of Regions & Influence


/// Asian Americans and Media Consumption

A Shift from Traditional

Asian Americans have distinct media consumption habits that differ from the general population. According to recent studies, Asian Americans spend 18.5% less time on media, which amounts to approximately 2 hours less daily. However, they do spend 5% more time on internet-enabled devices compared to the general population.

One significant difference is that Asian Americans dedicate only half the time of the general population to live and time-shifted TV. This shift from traditional media platforms to streaming platforms reflects the changing landscape of media consumption habits among Asian Americans.

The Relevance of Digital Platforms

To genuinely resonate with Asian American audiences, marketers must adeptly leverage digital platforms and tailor their approaches to this demographic's distinct media preferences. By understanding their unique consumption patterns, brands can design targeted marketing campaigns that not only capture attention but also foster genuine engagement. This entails a strategic blend of online advertising, active social media interactions, and making the most of streaming services to effectively reach and connect with Asian Americans.

When it comes to online engagement, finance and travel content resonates particularly well with this audience, whether it be via online video or mobile apps. Asian Americans also display a high level of technological proficiency, rely heavily on reviews for decision-making, and prefer websites related to Law & Government, Science & Tech, and Travel & Local Events.. Marketers can take note and consider programmatic advertising to reach this audience through digital media.

While Asian Americans may underindex for radio consumption, they still enjoy listening to a variety of genres through FM radio, especially while at home or in their cars. In terms of podcasts, they primarily listen to technology, business, and health-related topics, often choosing Spotify as their preferred platform. When it comes to TV, Asian Americans allocate a significant portion of their viewing time to streaming content, surpassing the general population by 27%.

In terms of social media usage, Asian Americans frequently engage with platforms such as LinkedIn, Reddit, and Discord. They rely on social media for influencer recommendations and discovering new ideas. Although YouTube and Facebook are highly consumed, they are slightly less preferred among this audience. When accessing social media platforms, Asian Americans primarily use their mobile phones (85%), laptops (48%), and tablets (22%).

Understanding these digital media habits and preferences allows marketers to tailor their strategies effectively. By leveraging online advertising, engaging with Asian Americans on social media, and utilizing streaming platforms, brands can connect with this audience in a meaningful way.

/// The Importance of Regionality

Diverse Backgrounds, Unique Preferences

Within the Asian American community, there are distinct preferences and cultural nuances that vary across different subgroups. Understanding and acknowledging these regional differences is essential for crafting successful marketing campaigns. For example, a campaign targeting Chinese Americans may require a different approach than one targeting Indian Americans. Recognizing these variations, brands can create tailored experiences that resonate with specific subgroups within the Asian American community.

/// Case Studies: Effective Asian American Marketing Campaigns

Marketers can tap into a wealth of knowledge and creativity by studying successful campaigns that have embraced the diversity of the Asian American community. 

See Us: Asian American and Pacific Islander Community - HBO Max

HBO Max created this ad to coincide with Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Heritage Month, with the compelling theme of "see us" meant to showcase the broad spectrum of Asian American voices.

Ford Escape Diwali Campaign - Ford Motors


Ford's Diwali campaign is notable for its heartwarming depiction of a family navigating the American experience through the lens of Diwali traditions. The advertisement successfully integrated current events like the COVID-19 pandemic with universally relatable struggles like inventing creative solutions to connect with elderly family members during social distancing. 

Lunar New Year: The Great Chase - Nike


Nike's Lunar New Year ad is notable for its narrative-style video featuring a child protagonist who seeks to test the limits of the Lunar New Year traditions and etiquette in a fun, action-packed sequence. 

/// Go Beyond Differences to Gain Cultural Intelligence

Understanding the Asian American audience in all its diversity goes beyond recognizing their various places of origin and religious affiliations. It requires a deep appreciation for the unique experiences and contributions of different subgroups within the community. Recognizing and embracing the unique regional differences within the Asian American community allows brands to customize their campaigns and forge genuine connections with specific subgroups. 

When investing in cultural intelligence and inclusive marketing, brands can unlock the potential rewards of connecting with the Asian American audience. They will gain the loyalty and trust of this diverse and influential demographic and position themselves as socially responsible and culturally sensitive brands. 

Contact Media Culture today to begin engaging with your target audience!

For deeper insights and data into marketing to Asian American audiences, download our comprehensive Audience Insights Report below.


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