The “avocado-toast” eating, self-centered “I, me and myself” millennial (born between 1981 and 2000) may be a cliché, but as consumers, this group wields notorious spending power.

Now, throw into this already complex mix, the subgroup of ethnic millennials, and you’ll need to rethink your marketing plan completely to include tailored messaging.

Not to toot our own horn, but at Maple Diversity Communications, we are “fluent” when it comes to speaking to the ethnic millennial.

How? It’s quite simple. For starters, we know the ethnic millennials are not their parents. So, our special micro-segmenting tactics have cultural inspirations and elements that may not be as heavy as what we would use to connect with their parents, but it’s there nevertheless.

Understanding the ethnic consumer

Some years ago, a Toronto company polled some 4,400 millennial Canadians. Their key finding was that most major brands have yet to tap into 58 percent of the millennial population.

Here’s some more food for thought: two-thirds of the millennials in Canada are either first or second-generation immigrants and Asians—mostly concentrated around Toronto and Vancouver— and they account for 39 percent of the overall millennial demographics.

In essence, marketers are sitting on top of a goldmine of information about the millennial buying-power without harnessing the data.

According to a 2016 report by RBC, millennials in Canada are among the most ethnically diverse group, thanks largely to the country’s immigration policies. This tech-savvy and educated group’s engagement with technology is not only spurring disruption in some sectors but is fueling the retail economy, notes the report.

Here are some impressive numbers: Currently, Canada boasts approximately 7.7 million ethnic consumers across Canada, accounting for 21.9 percent of the population. According to Statistics Canada, the ethnic population is set to double to 15 million by 2036.

Branding effort targeted at this group needs to be nuanced. An effective strategy must have subtle undertones of specific culture and sub-culture if needed, but the idea must be served with a dollop of mainstream references and cultural touchpoints—music, sports, food, and fashion.


Here are a few ideas we would likely toss into our marketing strategy.

Your brand can make a song and dance through:

Bollywood: The colour, the moves and the music of Bollywood are irresistible to the South Asian millennial, who is a consumer of both Bollywood and Hollywood offerings. A communication plan that blends the two cultures (East with the West) will be effective and unique.

Language lingo: Create music or parts of the conversation in Hinglish (Hindi + English) or English and Tagalog (Taglish) to appeal and evoke nostalgia and a tug towards their cultural roots.

Cultural influencers: This group’s playlist likely includes a mish-mash of genres—Hip-Hop, pop, rock, blues as well as well-known artists from “home.” Talk to them via their influencers.

To target Asian-Canadian millennial consumers, a fool-proof plan would involve a well-known influencer right here in North America. If you understand the nitty-gritty of ethnic culture as we do, creating the right marketing and communication plan is relatively easy.

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