Agents Tap Into The Asian American Market
The large number of immigrants coming to this country gave rise to the term “the American melting pot,” but today, these new Americans have become more mindful of their ethnic heritage, according to Lily Fong, multicultural business development officer for New England Financial, Boston.
“Everybody wants to identify themselves as Chinese-American, Philippine-American, Korean-American, and so on, instead of putting everything into a melting pot,” she explains. “There is no true melting pot in the U.S. anymore.”
Fong has the mission of branding NEF throughout different ethnic groups, one of which is the Asian-American market.
But just defining the Asian-American market can be a difficult task by itself. “Theres a general misunderstanding in the perception that Asian-American is just one community. In fact, Asia was fighting against each other for years, and still is,” says Stephen Kagawa, general agent of The Pacific Bridge Companies, Los Angeles.
“There are incredible sensitivities that an organization needs to appreciate and understand before embarking on multicultural marketing,” he says.
Agents who specialize in this market agree that in order to be successful, it is paramount to understand the culture of the community targeted.
“You cannot apply an Indian-Americans thinking into a Chinese-American market. It just wont work,” Fong says. “You have to be more specific to each segment.”
Kagawa agrees. “You have to embrace and understand the culture if you really want to do ethnic marketing.
“It extends deep into understanding the roots of where the people in the community come from and what their experiences were in order for us to relate,” Kagawa explains.
There are a few different ways agents are getting more involved with Asian-American communities.
“We do advertising in the local Chinese paper and the local Korean paper, all in their respective languages,” says Ben Su, senior managing associate of New England Financials Seattle agency.
To increase visibility in the community, Sus agency also sets up booths at local ethnic events, such as the street fair in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
“We let people know that were there for them, we answer questions and pass out marketing materials,” says Su.