Posts tagged ‘diversity marketing’

January 22, 2011

Saad Saraf appointed as IPA Ethnic Diversity Group Chairman

The IPA has today (20th January) appointed Saad Saraf, Founder and CEO of Media Reach, as Chairman of the IPA’s Ethnic Diversity Group. He succeeds Trevor Robinson, OBE.

Saad has spent his career investigating the multicultural landscape of the UK and his agency Media Reach has been a driving force in the growth and development of multicultural marketing in the UK. He has also addressed many conferences and has written several papers on the subject of diversity. One of these papers includes a chapter written for the IPA’s interim report The marketing opportunities for advertisers and agencies in multi-cultural Britain (LINK), published in March 2010.

Says Saad Saraf, Founder and CEO of Media Reach: “The UK is now truly a multicultural country, and will continue to flourish in the face of diversity. The industry needs to quicken its pace to catch up with the changing face of the new society, or risk getting left behind. Not only do we need to accept it, we need to understand and embrace it.”

In 2003 the IPA Ethnic Diversity Group published its first major collaborative work on ethnic diversity which looked at the employment, portrayal and economic value of the ethnic minorities (LINK). A sequel to this report will be published on its tenth anniversary in 2013.

January 14, 2011

Is the Ad agency model dead?

Does the freezing of government spending and the onslaught on advertising agencies leads you to believe that the ad agency model is doomed to failure?
In the 80’s ad land was about personalities, glitz, glamour, big budgets and high spend. Agencies were concerned about size and used to boost about this.
Marketers are smarter and wiser and demand more for their money and want value add which most agencies can’t deliver.

Many clients believe the current agency model is broken and that many agencies had grown by acquisition and not through organic growth.
Agencies need to offer an integrated approach, consistent service and most important of all ROI.
Agency margins and the pressure of shareholders had driven agencies to become an industralised creative plants

I believe specialised boutique agencies will be the new model in the next decade.

Saad Saraf
Mediareach Advertising

September 15, 2010

MRA, Turning diversity into opportunity

Multiculturalism is booming. The emerging markets have strong spending power and they are not afraid to use it, thus creating lucrative avenues for businesses to capitalise on. Without an effective marketing strategy that has a true appreciation of the cultures, the value systems, the communications gap and the means to bridge that, any plans to target these markets are doomed to fail.

The ethnic population in the UK is approximated at 6 million, 10% of Britain’s population and is expected to grow by 2.5% annually, with a disposable income valued at £90 billion. This ranks it as one of the strongest developing niche markets in the UK. Further expansion of the EU will change these proportions and continue to increase the associated complexities in targeting new cultures effectively.

Media Reach Advertising has championed cross-cultural communications since its inception over twenty years ago. We built links with the media, community leaders and organisations to increase our effectiveness and turn the challenge into rewarding opportunities for our clients.
MRA is a true and visionary pioneer in this regard with a total of over 100 years specialist experience within the company. MRA continues to identify innovative means to access new markets with both local and international campaigns.

We provide clients with strategic and integrated marketing and communications solutions, building brands through approaches that extend beyond conventional advertising. MRA believes there is only room for marketing excellence and compelling creative solutions. Bold ideas and strong actions mark our brand and with effective use of strategy and media channels, we can help your brands shine in the ethnic marketplace.

September 14, 2010

Elephant Chakki Gold Flour ’45 Years of Tradition Enjoyed Daily’ has been shortlisted for this year’s World Food Awards

Elephant Chakki Gold Atta ’45 Years of Tradition Enjoyed Daily’ has been shortlisted in the following category for this year’s World Food Awards

World Food Award 2010 – Best Marketing Campaign

The World Food Awards are a new, national awards ceremony to recognise the best operators in the world food sector in the United Kingdom and Europe. Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success with the likes of Meena and Kirit Pathak, The Cinnamon Club, Sir Gulam Noon and Levi Rootsof Dragon’s Den fame among the winners celebrating at the ceremony which took place at London’s Hilton Park Lane.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday 23rd October, 2010, again at the Hilton Park Lane, and promises a glittering line-up – including performances from leading artists and a host of celebrities, sports personalities and acclaimed chefs to present the awards.

The event will be broadcast globally by Sony Entertainment Television Asia, organisers of the event, and we are delighted to announce that The AAare now taking over exclusively judging the category World Food Awards – Restaurant of the Year and that this year’s results are being audited and verified by KPMG.

April 7, 2010

‘Why multiculturalism becoming the new mainstream?

More people now live in urban cities and the composition of these towns and cities are becoming increasingly multicultural, resulting in more sophisticated, well-networked and demanding consumers who value service, experiences and attention. If brands can’t communicate effectively to this changing demographic, they will find themselves losing market share in the UK.

Approximately 15% of the UK’s population is made up of individuals from multicultural backgrounds, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African, Caribbean, French, Spanish, Polish, Lithuanian, Roma, Arab and South African to name just a few. This seemingly small figure however becomes a lot more significant when conservative estimates from calculate their spending power at more than £300 billion. If the trend is set to continue, being a multicultural marketing agency may be the new ‘mainstream’ agency.

Anecdotal evidence from the clients and communities we work with indicate that most established ethnic communities in the UK have had a lighter recession than most. While the rest of the UK has gotten itself into debt, these communities, including Indians, have relied on their shrewd saving habits and family support networks to see them through the bad times. However, during both the good and the bad times, they’ve always had a little money to spend.  So why are more brands not speaking to them?

That’s not to say that multicultural markets and the wider mainstream consumer markets don’t have anything in common; whether it’s property, food, drink, fashion, banking or lifestyle, they all aspire to something better and represent a share of the market place for brands. However, even after a torrential recession, the penny still hasn’t dropped for many marketers that they need a harder working and wider reaching, inclusive marketing mix.

Traditional mainstream media, although it works for a good portion of the market, doesn’t always translate well into other cultures and brands can lose any connection and relevance with a significant portion of the spending public. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore Britain’s multicultural markets if they want to strategically grow and increase their market share. In fact, cultural media, community messaging and niche marketing is fast becoming the conduit of the advertisers’ in-the-know, who’ve already spotted the value for money and ROI that others are yet to cotton on to.

Spending 100% of your budget on 60% of the population

In cities such as London where up to 40% of the population is made up from what is traditionally considered an ethnic background, diversity is what defines us.  The question then begs to be asked is: in post recession times where budgets are carefully set out and strategically allocated to render the highest possible returns, does it still make sense that brands are spending 100% of their marketing budget on reaching only an average of 60% of the population?

The greatest challenge for specialist marketing agencies like Mediareach Advertising is to show marketers what we already know. The same mainstream message does not fit all audiences and often, to reap maximum returns on advertising and PR investment, you have to speak to individual markets with messages they can relate to.  Meeting niche and multicultural markets halfway can go a long way in securing new market share for your product or service.

Commercially speaking, targeting specific communities with specific products could greatly increase your profit margins without increasing your marketing budget. An example of this is the fact that most Afro-Caribbean and African women residing in Britain spend an average of six times the amount of money on hair and beauty products than their mainstream peers and yet very few beauty and hair product campaigns effectively reach out to this audience.  If the product suited the market and marketing budget was redistributed across this market segment this could mean higher return on investments for your company.

Playing it safe doesn’t serve your bottom line

We say this tongue-in-cheek but it seems that many brand managers and marketers in Britain have too long been sitting in their ivory towers to realise the changing demographics of modern Britain.  Every few years there is a courageous brand manager or marketer who steps out and sets the bar just a little higher than the rest, often with great success.  For the most part however, brand managers across the country aren’t willing to look beyond the same formula that they have been using for the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, and especially in post recession Britain, the same old formula will no longer cut it with consumers.  Fast developing social networking sites, peer to peer information and an ever growing diverse demographic will no longer make allowances for the same old mass produced ‘one size fits all’ marketing campaign. Even financial institutions are investigating alternative credit systems like Sharia finance for a better financial model to avoid another financial disaster. Brands may come to realize that prosperity in post recession Britain will depend on their ability to move with the culture and display open honest two-way communication with their customers.

Thinking outside the box and looking at options you’ve not considered before instead of playing it safe doesn’t have to be an uncalculated risk with dire prospects of failure.  Specialist agencies such as ours can make this a calculated, results driven strategic step to help brands grow and brand managers shine.

The new year may offer many new opportunities but none as exciting as the opportunity to get in on the action of an under-valued market and strengthen the future for exciting brands.

Saad Al’Saraf


Mediareach Advertising

multicultural marketing agency

March 25, 2010

IPA highlights multi-cultural marketing opportunities

A new report has been released by the IPA to provide the advertising industry with an update on the rapidly expanding multi-cultural landscape of the UK; both as a potential employer and a market place.
‘Marketing opportunities for advertisers and agencies in multi-cultural Britain’ highlights that multi-cultural communities will become increasingly visible and more influential as they rise up the business and corporate ladder and become budget holders.
The report adds that targeting diverse groups should be on the agenda of every UK brand and marketer, or they will risk losing out on a potentially lucrative new market.
It also points out that responding to the needs of a diverse, culturally-rich group will require understanding of the cultural, religious, identity and ethnicity issues embedded within these groups.
Finally, as migration into the UK rises, it is predicted that ethnic media outlets will continue to thrive because of the lack of relevant content offered by mainstream media.
“The UK is now truly a multicultural country, and will continue to flourish in the face of diversity. If we don’t recognise that people are different we are not going to get anywhere,” said Founder and CEO of Media Reach, Saad Saraf.
“Business is about engaging people and more so in the current financial downturn. We’ve got too many products and too few customers. When people have a choice and prices are falling, that’s when marketing mavericks look at segmentation and precision marketing.”
He added, “The industry needs to quicken its pace to catch up with the changing face of the new society, or risk getting left behind. Not only do we need to accept it, we need to understand and embrace it.”
The report by the IPA’s Ethnic Diversity Group also provides an overview of population data as well as an outline of Black, Asian and Eastern European media and explanations of the complexities of marketing to different cultures.
It includes a foreword from Trevor Robinson, and extensive chapter from Saad Saraf, Founder and CEO of Media Reach and Sanjay Shabi of CultureCom.

March 1, 2010

Are brands losing share in the multicultural market place

Walk into any of he 95,000 supermarkets, convenience stores and cash and carry’s, which are controlled largely by the multicultural communities, and one thing you are sure to find out.

These stores, which shifts up to 33% share for a number of major brands, but is this honeymoon going to continue or are we going to see an increasing number of foreign brands imported to the UK to cater for the needs and demands of a growing diverse multicultural consumers.

So what can major brands do in the face of this on-slaught:

1) ignore this phenomenon and assume they are large enough to withstand brands chipping into their sales and competing to win more shelf space from them resulting in their brands continuing to slide further down

2) develop a strategy based on understanding their audiences, motivations and purchasing patterns in order to address their needs, fend the competition and increase their market dominance and share.

Established brands can’t ignore the challenges to their dominance and must continue to learn and innovate to stay on top of their game otherwise they will continue to see their sales and market share dwindling.

Saad Saraf
Multicultural Marketing Specialist
Mediareach Advertising

September 26, 2009

Diversity Works for London?

Diversity is the differences we all have and what makes us all unique in one way or another.

We differ in terms of ethnicity, gender, culture, national or regional origins, socio economic status, religion and political views, marital status, disability and sexual orientation.

Respecting individual differences leads to an increased prod-activity and creates and increases the marketing opportunity; broaden our horizons as well as increasing adaptability and flexibility for the overall society.

On the other hand if diversity is not handled correctly it can cause tensions between people within organisations and hence have negative impact on the business and almost likely to result in poor performance.

In today’s Internet age organisations cannot create a false image of themselves and on how caring they are to staff. Disgruntled and badly treated staff will inform the whole world about the organisation real treatment to staff on internet sites which will have articles and even films describing what goes on in an organisation.

We must acknowledge, understand these differences, accept them and celebrate all these differences amongst people and staff.
We should understand the various cultures that exist in the UK today and perhaps see them as an opportunity to target an important niche in a caring yet innovative way.

We must understand that cultures do not remain static; they evolve over time and are influenced by exposure to others from around the globe. Whenever different communities come together things happen and the wheel of change starts moving.

How did Diversity change Britain?

The disposable income of the multicultural communities in the UK are in excess of £90 billion pounds and to tap into these diverse groups companies and organisations must make an effort to understand the diverse cultures and lifestyles.

Major developments have happened in the UK in the past 15 years which had influenced our eating habits, furnishing, fashion to name but a few.

Most of the UK’s music icons and sport stars tend to come from a variety of diverse backgrounds.

The Bollywood film industry is grossing huge amount of money with more multiplexes devoting more of their cinema showing Bollywood films (research shows that Asians are 5 times more likely to visit cinemas and see Indian movies than the mainstream.

Our eating habits have changed beyond recognition as we now eat different foods everyday such as Indian, Chinese, and Italian & Lebanese. The ready to eat ethnic food market is growing at a phenomenon pace with sales in excess of £3 Billion pounds.

The restaurant sector has its major share of success with more than 100,000 restaurants in the UK owned by ethnic people taking in excess of £14 Billion pounds.

So lets talk about ethnicity

The ethnic population in the UK currently exceeds the entire population of Scotland and it is anticipated that by 2012 the population size will exceed the entire population of both Scotland & Wales.

The majority of Londoners in 2012 will be of an ethnic background (51%).
In organisations people make the difference and each person is unique and part of the team, we must enjoy and encourage the understanding of different people to evolve a work culture based on mutual appreciation.

The buying patterns of the ethnic communities differ from that of the mainstream as ethnic and multicultural groups buy in bulk and in large sizes and hence the purchasing power of an ethnic family on foods can be as much as double that of a mainstream English family. This has led a number of supermarket chains to stock ethnic foods and the difference is clear as the shelves are stocked with large sizes.

These changes are bound to affect the way we market to these groups and communities in the future as the traditional marketing methods are no longer valid and can result to huge wastage of client’s precious budgets.

Targeting niche markets and audience clusters are bound to result in effective result driven marketing and will lead to a bigger slice of the market share for dynamic and leading brands.

Saad Saraf
Media Reach Advertising

September 26, 2009

The UK market is changing.. Are you?

The UK is changing. We’re living longer, getting more technologically advanced and most importantly, living in a diverse society. Is this important? We think it is. We’re talking about multicultural marketing. Most people translate that to mean ethnic minorities, but that isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the case. What is culture? Cultures do not remain static. They change and evolve over time and are influenced by exposure to others from around the globe. And that’s what’s happening to the UK today. All cultures are evolving together, influencing one another. We now make a mosaic society – shimmering tiles of various colours, pieced together to create a masterpiece – the UK. Ignore one, and the picture is incomplete. Some people think it’s just a phase. Others think it’s getting harder to communicate to an increasingly diversified market. We think otherwise. A challenge? Yes. Impossible? Not a chance.
Saad Saraf
Mediareach Advertising

September 26, 2009

How to reach ethnic minorities

By Saad Al-Saraf (pictured), founder and CEO of the UK first ethnic and multicultural advertising agency, Media Reach Advertising

One of the most important weapons in the marketer’s armoury is information about their customers.

It’s an asset that many marketing departments are willing to spend thousands of pounds acquiring, to help them understand the best way of reaching potential and existing customers, and which marketing messages will be the most powerful way of communicating the benefits of whatever it is they’re selling.

Yet many of the marketers I speak to can’t tell where a typical person from an ethnic minority comes from, what languages they speak or what religious background they come from.

I’ve even met people who have admitted to me that they describe all black people as Caribbean and all people with brown skin as an Asian.

Although this bemuses me rather than offends me, I also find it a poor state of affairs given the fact that in the UK, the community of people from ethnic minorities has a disposable income in excess of £60bn.

In the greater London, with its population of more than 10m, 40 per cent come from ethnic communities and one-third of businesses are owned and run by someone from an ethnic minority.

Why does this matter to you and the way you do your job?

A wealth of reasons. People from ethnic backgrounds are aspirational and value education and status highly. They seek out careers in medicine, banking, IT and management.

They aspire to better status and to the ownership of luxury brands, cars, electronic consumables, watches, property and so forth.

Furthermore, it is a young market, with more than 50 per cent of the population aged under 25, and it is a market where people are loyal to their roots and cultural heritage, and often are religiously sensitive and culturally conscious.

Therefore, this market responds differently to generic communication messages to the mainstream audience.

But they do have their needs and desires – and £90bn to spend on them.

In today’s fragmented and increasingly turbulent markets, ethnic marketing offers a new strategic focus for product and market development.

I think companies which ignore this do so at their own competitive peril. People from ethnic minorities are already becoming immune to blanket messages that are not tailored to their sensitivities.

With the number of people from ethnic minorities living in Britain only on the rise, pretending that homogeneous marketing campaigns are still the most effective way for marketers to do their jobs is shortsighted.

For those who choose not to ignore this growing market, there is a tricky challenge – marketing to ethnic communities is not as simple as it might seem.

For the ethnic population in Britain is very diverse and different groups respond to the marketing messages they receive not only in a different way from the mainstream, but also differently from each other.

For example, among the people originating from South Asia – Indians Pakistanis and Bangladeshis – there are huge cultural disparities. There are differences in language, religion, food habits, festivals, clothing and so on.

Yet there are similarities in the way they live, where the family is the most important social unit, and with the concept of large joint families, where grandparents, parents, brothers and children all live together, instead of the Western concept of a nuclear family.

What can marketers do?

Reaching these audiences isn’t always easy. Due to the language barriers, especially for women, older generations and some newer immigrants, there is a shift away from mainstream media – which can often be irrelevant at best, and can offend culture and traditions at worst – and a reliance on ethnic media channels and community networks for information and entertainment.

This is evident from the plethora of ethnic TV stations, radio stations and print publications that have burgeoned in the last 10 years in Britain.

It’s not enough just to run your ad campaigns in the ethnic media though – cultural decoding and language translation are not the same thing.

Instead, stop seeing ethnic marketing as a box to be checked, and start paying attention to targeting our communities properly. Forget about tokenistic gestures: start thinking ethnic and don’t simply translate.

The basic rule is to understand a diverse, multicultural audience, and address their needs.

But above all, listen to what they want to see, what they want to view and what they want to hear, rather than imposing on them what you think they want to hear.

It might sound like an intimidating prospect, but it isn’t.

There are experts out there who can help guide marketers through the maze of ethnic media and cultural sensitivities, and who have contacts with community and religious leaders who play such an important and influential role in opinion forming and changing behaviour in communities of South Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Chinese people.

And what could have you got to lose? At best, you could be uncovering untapped customers for your company.

And all you’ve got to lose is your ignorance about the people who make up 11 per cent of the population of the country where you live.

Saad Saraf
Mediareach Advertising