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Is Australia Whitewashed? – Marketers must adjust to Multiculturalism

In a few of my many roles, I have come across some staggering statistics about how multi cultural Australia has become. An article in a recent edition of Ad News by Arvind Hickman he quotes, “In Sydney and Melbourne, one in three people live in households where a language other than English is spoken. In many suburbs in Sydney, Caucasians are the minority.”

Some other interesting statistics about the Australian population from Country Meters are as follows:

As stated by in Hickman’s article, “Many marketers are still living in a bubble, little realising that we are living in the Asian Century, and the fastest growing GDPs today are China and India which also contribute enormous migration to Australia. Hickman gave an example of Holden as an iconic Australian brand that did not embrace this multicultural change that has been emerging for the last 20 years. “The proliferation of inexpensive Asian cars is often cited as one of the reasons why Holden and Ford have had to shut up relatively expensive production lines in the past few years. But it’s the proliferation of people originally from Asia, particularly Chinese and Indian Australians, that has sealed the fates between market leader Toyota, which goes from strength to strength in terms of sales volumes, and the struggling homegrown Holden and also Ford,” he said.

Hackman also said, “The story of Holden’s decline is a curious case of how a power brand failed to adapt to a changing character of the country it represented until it was too late. It also illustrates the power and necessity of multicultural marketing in Australia today. For generations, Holden basked in its Aussie image and for too long banked on a strategy to target white Australians with V8 muscle cars, utes and other vehicles that were marketed as being Australian quality with an Australian price.”

One of the reasons Holden is no longer produced in Australia is because it was marketed as being the very height of Australianism – it was football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars – so it was seen as a rite of passage that you would own or be attracted to a Holden at some stage. Most middle aged Aussies grew up in a family that was either a Ford or Holden fan. But do the new immigrants and gen ys who now have access to the cheaper Asian made cars have any affinity with Ford or Holden?

Has your business been ignoring business opportunities with a lucrative target market such as various cultures? Do you have different strategies to communicate with this group? Are you aware of their cultural nuances and consumer behavior? Are you aware of the digital marketing options for specific ethnic groups? Marketers and businesses have more ways to communicate with niche markets than ever before.

If your business needs help in developing and marketing to niche target markets including multicultural markets, contact Sandy Hall, Managing Director of Hall of Fame Marketing Bendigo and Geelong.


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