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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Transform Change into Opportunity: 2021 Virtual Members-Only Roundtable

Transform Change into Opportunity: 2021 Virtual Members-Only Roundtable

Explore how America’s diverse consumers have changed since 2020, specifically amidst unprecedented social and economic upheaval

The past 18 months have been a period of unprecedented change in America. The lingering COVID-19 pandemic coupled with social movements both embracing and resisting America’s increasing cultural diversity have created a set of new challenges for brands. These modern dilemmas include changing consumer expectations, deep polarization, and an urgent need to better connect with a diversifying America. Fortunately, these challenges are not insurmountable, and offer new opportunities to better connect with American consumers.

Collage Group is pleased to support more than 200 of America’s leading brands as they work to confront these challenges and transform change into opportunity. On November 3 at our 2021 Members-Only Roundtable, subscribers to our cultural intelligence platform(s) will learn how to leverage our cultural insights and tools to connect with the dynamic American consumer. The 2021 Roundtable will provide attendees with new research and engaging panel discussion focused on leveraging cultural insight to effectively navigate both today and tomorrow’s changing consumer landscape. Learn more in the agenda.

Attendees will learn:

    1. How consumers’ perspectives and behaviors related to COVID-19, racial justice, cultural diversity, and brand action have changed since 2020
    2. Which changes are likely to sustain into the future (and which might not)
    3. How to leverage cultural insights to connect across consumer segments
    4. Which brands and ads are on track to win with consumers and why

Presentations Include:

America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020

We explore changes to diverse consumer attitudes at this key juncture in American history. Attendees will obtain exclusive insights into diverse consumer perspectives on climate change and polarizing issues, such as racism and the pandemic, compared to 2020. These learnings are key for 2022 planning.

CultureRate: Features of Winning Brands & Ads

Our analysis of hundreds of brands and ads reveals insights into the drivers of brand Cultural Fluency and how to transcend the tradeoff between targeted and general market ads. We conclude with a dive into the application of “lookalikes” to help brands improve targeting of diverse consumers.

Member Panel

Learn from America’s preeminent brand leaders in a discussion centered on actions internally and in marketing to stay ahead of the rapid changes underway in America. Hear how leaders from Pernod Ricard, McDonald’s and GSK are navigating the evolution of the modern American consumer.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can gain access to Collage Group’s 2021 Roundtable. You won’t want to miss this chance to learn where there is no going back and how you can ensure that your brand effectively marches into the future.

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Día de los Muertos 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

Día de los Muertos 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

It’s not too late to activate! With over half of all Hispanic Americans (and two-thirds of Unacculturated) celebrating Día de los Muertos, brands will want to make their mark on this important holiday. Keep reading to learn what consumers expect from brands like yours this Day of the Dead.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a traditional Latin-American holiday celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed on. The holiday’s roots are predominantly Mexican, and celebrations take place on November 1st and 2nd. While Day of the Dead occurs around Halloween and may share some similar imagery such as skulls, these two holidays differ greatly and should not be conflated with one another.

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

What is Día de los Muertos?

Día de los Muertos is a two-day holiday honoring the deceased by celebrating the connection between life and death. What makes this occasion unique is its joyous—rather than mournful—tone. Celebrants gather together in remembrance of friends and family and have colorful parties and parades. They share happy or humorous memories. They make special meals and altars known as ofrendas (offerings) made up of their loved one’s favorite foods, items, pictures, and more. All of these traditions and symbolic gestures are meant to create a welcoming environment to attract the deceased’s spirits back to Earth on this annual occasion marked to keep their memory alive.

Traditions of Día de los Muertos

    • Ofrendas are offerings made to the dead and are built in the home or at the cemetery. They traditionally consist of paper cutouts (papel picado), marigold petals, pan de muerto pastry bread, and personal items, such as photographs, favorite foods, or other sentimental objects.
    • Skeletal imagery, such as the iconic La Catrina figure, show up in masks, puppets, colorful costumes, and face paintings.
    • Sugar skulls are a staple ornament during celebrations, often not meant to be eaten. Edible fare includes Mole Negro (pepper and chocolate sauce), Sopa Azteca (tortilla soup), and any foods favored by the deceased.

"(Spanish) We put up an altar with photographs of the loved ones who left and visit their graves, adorning them with flowers."

Unacculturated, Millenial, Man
Visiting gravesites and making alters (ofrendas) tops the list of ways Hispanic Americans, especially Bicultural and Unacculturated, celebrate Día de los Muertos. Decorating and having special foods and drinks are also central to the holiday. The Bicultural segment over-indexes on a few other celebratory activities, like having parties, watching special movies, and listening to special music.

Key Consumer Insights

According to Collage Group’s 2021 Holidays & Occasions study, 52% of all Hispanic Americans, and 15% of the total American population, celebrate Day of the Dead. When we look by acculturation, we see it’s most widely celebrated by the Unacculturated (67%) and Bicultural (54%) segments, especially when compared to the Acculturated segment’s celebration rates which hover at 29%.

Día de los Muertos celebrations are both deeply personal and communal. So many brands may be wondering if they have permission to play.

From the celebrants’ perspective, brands generally have the green light. A plurality of Hispanic Americans (32%) say that all brands and companies should celebrate Day of the Dead in their marketing. Bicultural (33%) and Unacculturated (42%) Hispanic segments are especially comfortable with brands activating, whereas Acculturated are least likely to care.

Americans of other races/ethnicities tend to be positive, indifferent, or unfamiliar with the holiday altogether. The good news is there’s little to no opposition across the board. This means that activating won’t cause backlash from other segments.

Brands that want to activate around Day of the Dead can do so in a way that’s well-received within the Hispanic segment (and simultaneously educational to other less familiar segments) by showcasing the holiday’s meaning and importance. This is the number one topic Hispanic Americans say brands should focus on. This type of messaging will be especially resonant with Bicultural and Unacculturated groups that are strongly rooted to their culture and proud to express their heritage.

One brand that’s developed an excellent educational campaign on Día de los Muertos is McCormick in partnership with Poderistas. Part of the campaign includes a landing page with well-researched facts about the history and significance of the holiday.

To learn more about Día de los Muertos, we suggest the following sources:

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Change is Now: A Special Video Presentation

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Change is Now: A Special Video Presentation

For years, multicultural Americans have driven all the country’s population growth and have added trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy. These changes can be seen everywhere from food and media to healthcare and financial services, and so much more.

Cultural Fluency is the key to authentically connect with American consumers across race and ethnicity. But, engaging multicultural consumers is only the starting point. Cultures evolve through generational change and forces encompassing how we identify ourselves, including gender, sexuality, family structures and much more.

Navigating these changes can be challenging, even for the most seasoned and culturally aware brands. In fact, no single marketer can speak well to every segment without understanding the incredible transformation of the American consumer.

For more than a decade, Collage Group has helped 200+ iconic American brands engage, support, and champion the voices of America’s diverse consumers. Explore our new video series to learn how you too can unleash the power of culture to drive brand growth.

Fill out the form below to connect with our Sales team learn how you can get started on your path to Cultural Fluency.

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Supporting our Neighbors and Friends

At Collage Group, we have the privilege of employing and partnering with people from across the globe.  The recent spate of natural disasters in the southern United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico is particularly close to our hearts given our deep ties to those areas.

Many have asked us how they can help in the relief efforts, so below are just a few of the organizations doing good work that we support at Collage Group.

  • United for Puerto Rico, an initiative brought forth by the First lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló in collaboration with the private sector, to provide aid and support to hurricane victims
  • PRxPR Funda private, non-partisan, no overhead fund to aid in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico by investing in communities with the most critical needs
  • Fondo Unido México, part of the United Way network, has created an emergency fund to help the areas affected by the earthquakes as well as the recent series of hurricanes

We will continue to monitor the situation and support organizations helping those in need.

Please complete the form below to receive additional information from Collage Group.