Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

It’s not too late to activate! With two thirds of Indian Americans celebrating Diwali, brands will want to make their mark on this important holiday. Keep reading to learn what Asian consumers expect from brands like yours on this festival of lights.

Diwali is one of the major festivals celebrated among Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and many Buddhists. The holiday lasts five days, and it coincides with the Hindu New Year according to their lunisolar calendar. Though it falls on November 4 this year, Diwali has some similarities to other winter and New Year’s celebrations, and comes with distinct cultural traditions.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how Asian American consumers celebrate, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is Diwali?

Diwali honors the conclusion of the Ramayana, a key Hindu text and one of two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It celebrates the triumphant return of Prince Rama after a 14-year exile, the rescue of his wife Sita, and his coronation as king. Rejoicing in Rama’s victories, Diwali celebrants honor light itself amidst the darkness of coming winter.  And for many Asian Americans, Diwali is an explicitly religious holiday, with the Goddess Lakshmi – symbolizing wealth and purity – a key focus.

Traditions of Diwali​

    • Candles and firecrackers are popular in Diwali celebrations, with diya oil lamps one of the more traditional means of proving light in the darkness
    • Rangoli is an art form common in Diwali preparations, where colored sand, flower petals, rocks, and powdered stone are arranged in colorful, patterned designs on a flat surface
    • Sweet foods are a traditional component of Diwali celebrations, with many preparing malpua pancakes, laddu balls, and other fare to eat and share
    • Puja is a worship ritual common among Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. On Diwali, offerings of light, flowers, sustenance, or song accompany these rituals, largely directed towards the Goddess Lakshmi

Among Indian Americans, having special food and drink is the most common way to celebrate Diwali. Eating and gifting sweets is therefore a key component of American Diwali, but many other customs – including fireworks, clothing, decorations, and religious ceremonies – are also popular.

Key Consumer Insights

According to Collage Group’s 2021 Holidays and Occasions study, 13% of the Asian American population celebrates Diwali, with 67% of Indian Americans making up the bulk of celebrants. Diwali therefore has a niche, but dedicated market.

Which means many brands may be wondering if they have permission to play.

Among Indian Americans, brands largely have a green light to focus on education. Most Indian Americans say brands should use their Diwali activations to explain what the holiday is and why it’s important, given that half of Americans – and 42% of Asian Americans – are not familiar with the festival at all. And Many Indian Americans also support brands sharing stories of people observing the holiday, as well as showing others what they can do to help celebrate.

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Four Group Traits That Best Characterize Asian American Consumers

Four Cultural Traits That Best Characterize Asian American Consumers

Collage Group's latest consumer report on Asian Cultural Traits provides powerful new insights into this critically important demographic. Fill out the form to download an excerpt specific to the expertise-seeking cultural trait.

The Asian American segment is the fastest-growing racial/ethnic segment in the United States today. By 2060, Collage Group projects the Asian segment will almost double in size to 36 million people—roughly 9% of the total U.S. population. To capture this growth, brands and marketers must deepen their understanding of the Asian consumer segment.

Which Cultural Traits best characterize Asian Consumers?

The four Group Traits that best characterize the Asian segment are Cultural Duality, Conventionality, Reservedness, and Expertise-Seeking.

1. Cultural Duality

Cultural Duality captures the feeling of being both “American” and simultaneously identifying with another culture or heritage.

Individuals exhibiting this Group Trait constantly find new ways to both keep old traditions alive and redefine American culture in their own image. Both Asian and Hispanic Americans strongly exhibit this group trait.

While Asian Americans strongly believe in upholding the traditions of their countries of origin, they also feel a connection with American culture. This embrace of multiple aspects of their backgrounds leads to cultural fluidity – the ability to seamlessly navigate multiple cultural spheres – and a unique Asian American identity.

For Asian Americans, Cultural Duality is more than a feeling, it’s an active commitment to continue their traditions. Through food, holidays, religion, family connection, and more, Asian Americans are significantly more likely than non-Asians to report they still actively practice the traditions of their family’s heritage.

2. Conventionality

People sharing the Group Trait of Conventionality tend to aspire to tried-and-true lifestyles and ideas of what people should be doing in their general situations.

Concepts like “living the American Dream” will likely hold more sway with these individuals than anything positioned as part of an “alternative lifestyle.”

Asian Americans desire and pursue conventional lives marked by advanced education, stable jobs, marriage, and children. While this desire is weaker in younger Asian Americans, it continues to set the segment apart and manifest as an interest in traditional forms of success. The drive for conventionality comes from the desires to make one’s family proud and fit in with others.

Asians are significantly more likely than non-Asians to agree with the statement, “the way I live my life is mainly in line with what’s normal and expected for most people.” Asian Americans are also significantly less likely than other segments to report wanting to live unconventionally. This doesn’t mean they don’t aspire to success, but rather that they aspire to traditional successes like higher education and home ownership.

3. Reservedness

People exhibiting the Group Trait of Reservedness tend to be more private, and less likely to express what makes them unique, special, or otherwise interesting.

This does not mean they have nothing to say or lead boring lives; rather, they are simply content keeping these things to themselves.

Asian Americans are less likely than other segments to share their inner selves, including their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. This attitude stems from the emphasis on humility and self-effacement common in collectivist societies. However, younger Asian Americans, especially those raised in the United States, are embracing the outgoing and gregarious character often associated with Americans.

The instinct to go with the flow and keep thoughts to themselves can be linked to the collectivist tendencies of many Asian cultures. Asian Americans’ collectivism, which values the good of the many over the individual, sometimes manifests in a reluctance to say or do potentially inflammatory things with the goal to preserve peace in a situation.

4. Expertise-Seeking

People sharing this Group Trait look to experts – or sources of expertise – for advice.

Whether from certified professionals or the people they know who are more experienced on a subject, these individuals are more likely to seek out external sources of information before making important decisions.

Asian Americans, across country of origin, are focused on making sound decisions to ensure promising futures. This includes openness to both input from actual experts (physicians, financial advisors, etc.), as well as input from peers on topics of interest. Members of the segment often seek peer input to stay abreast of the latest trends.

Similar to the previous Group Trait of Reservedness, the collectivist attitudes of Asian Americans influence their tendency to trust experts. Collectivism requires self-effacement and humility, which results in the belief that you alone do not know what’s best and that you should seek advice before making big or small decisions.

Learn how we can help your brand win with Asian consumers.

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Four Things You Need to Know About Asian American Marketing

Four Things You Need to Know about Asian-American Consumers

Asian American consumers are one of the fastest growing segments in the U.S. Here are four cultural facts your brand needs to know in order to win their marketshare.

1. Almost two-thirds of Asian Americans are foreign-born, and roughly 80% speak a language other than English at home.

But this doesn’t mean you have to use targeted language-specific advertising to reach the segment. After all, more than 74% of each major Asian sub-group (Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese) is either bilingual or English dominant.

2. Roughly half of all Asian Americans cite China or India as their country of origin.

And these two groups were responsible for 71% of the Asian segment’s population growth between 2012 and 2017—1.8 million people!

3. Marriage is extremely important for Asian Americans.

They are the most likely to be married and the least likely to be divorced.  Among origin groups, Indian Asians are the most likely to be married, while Asian women are the most likely of any group to be in an interracial marriage.

4. While Asian Americans take pride in their Asian ethnicity, they tend to identify more by their country of origin.

This is likely tied to the segment’s desire to maintain a strong connection with their cultural heritage, something many Asians—roughly 48%—fear future generations may lose.

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Marketers Need to Rethink How to Mix Multicultural Themes and American Cues in Advertising

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As advertising approaches a tipping point in the need to appeal across multiple demographics, marketers are asking “what really works across the wide spectrum of identity that is America today?” Our analysis of ads unpacks the conundrum and reveals some startling insights.

“Family Values” allows marketers to better target multicultural consumers

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It’s a common assumption in messaging research that multicultural consumers are liberal, but when brands and advertisements try to put this idea into practice, their efforts often fall flat. It is therefore important to investigate the appeal of specific messages on individual cultural segments.

Collage Group has sought to explain these differential outcomes, making them a core focus of our Ad Rating Survey. As part of the survey, we asked respondents to take an unambiguous stance on 13 selected social trends, in four categories:

  • Non-Traditional Family
  • Race
  • Youth
  • Activism

After analyzing the results we found several interesting takeaways:

Rather than featuring a strict divide between liberals and conservatives on all issues, multicultural values breakdown into three categories.

The largest group is Social Liberal (44% of the population), which tends to approve of trends across all four categories, followed by Social Conservative, with 29% of the population tending to disapprove of all the mentioned trends. A third group, however, responded positively to trends regarding race, youth, and activism, but negatively on non-traditional family trends.

Multicultural consumers are substantially more likely to feature Family Values than Social Conservatism.

For White panelists, Social Conservatives outnumbered Family Values consumers, but for all other categories the opposite was true.

This was especially the case for African-American panelists, whose proportion of Family Values consumers was very close to its proportion of Social Liberal consumer. Over a third of Hispanic and Asian respondents were also in the Family Values segment.

Hispanic acculturation corresponds with a shift from Family Values to Social Conservatism

Comparing unacculturated against acculturated Hispanics reveals a shift away from the Family Values segment and towards Social Conservatism, while Social Liberalism remains relatively unchanged. This trend suggests that acculturated Hispanics divide themselves on social issues in ways that are similar to Non-Hispanic Whites.

Understanding how Family Values shapes multicultural social views is essential for marketers eager to appeal to these fast growing and influential consumer segments. To learn more about how you can leverage these preferences to produce valuable brand outcomes, please complete the form below.

What Culturally Competent Health Care Means for Asian Consumers

According to the Big Shift, multicultural patients have contributed $47.1 billion to the health care industry growth since 2006; Asians alone contributed $11.8 billion. This number will rise as Asian populations continue to grow – but how can marketers ensure that they are reaching and engaging them in the best ways?

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Essentials of Asian Marketing Part 2: Values and Passion Points

Due to the growing interest in U.S. Asian consumers, brands and marketers are asking: Is there a pan-Asian identity or culture? What are their values and passions? Do Asian consumers need or even want in-language or in-culture services? Who influences their purchasing decisions? Should we target the Asian segment as a whole, or only specific Asian-origin sub-segments?  To answer the pressing questions from clients, we developed a two-part series on the essentials of Asian American marketing (Asian Marketing – Part 1).  In this second installment, we delve into culture, values, and passions to better understand the Asian consumer as a whole.

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Essentials of Asian Marketing Part I: Demographics, Purchasing Power & Media

While millennials and Hispanics are currently the most coveted consumer segments, Asian consumers shouldn’t be overlooked. They represent a growing opportunity for marketers and brands, due to their fast growth and purchasing power. What does the U.S. Asian segment look like?  Our latest research explores four key areas to help brands gain a better understanding of these important consumers.

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