The West Indian Diaspora consists of Americans who can trace their ancestry to the Caribbean. Oddly enough, The West Indian Disapora designation is most commonly reserved for those of Afro-Carribean decent. For example, while inhabiting the same island of Hispanola, Haitains are considered West Indian while their neighbors next door in the Dominican Republic are not. It these slight differences and nuances that make this demographic so facinating and can create potential landmines for the untrained marketer.
While a complicated group, West Indian Diaspora Advertising can prove very fruitful. With the highest brand loyalty score among all multicultural groups, The West Indian Diaspora is a very viable target demographic. Here are are five mistakes to avoid.
This is perhaps the most common mistake marketers make and unfortunately the most lethal. The West Indian Diaspora is extremely diverse. The series of very small Caribbean islands, from which West Indians immigrate, are very rich in culture but historically have very little to do with each other aside from geography. The West Indian diaspora is little more than a melting pot of those very diverse backgrounds. In fact we see more competition amongst Caribbean immigrants than colaboration. And while often friendly West Indian Diaspora Advertising must be careful to address the independent needs of each respective culture with respect to creative and strategy. For instance, when targeting the Haitian Diaspora, it may be important to consider using the native Haitan Creole in your advertising creative.
This mistake is a direct result of the limitations of proper measurement tools like the U.S. Census. Historically, All Americans and Immigrants of African decent have been pooled together under the African American designation. This is a lazy and potentially damaging market research strategy. The data shows that West Indian Americans have roughly a $20,000 income advantage on their African American counterparts. As a result , far too often, Advertising targeting African Americans does not resonate with the West India Diaspora.
The truth is when asked by a survey to choose between the options of Caribbean American or African American (the most common qualifiers), Jamaican Americans for instance, will be confused. They most likely identify as West Indian or more accurately just Jamaican. Which brings us to mistake #3.
While many West Indians immigrate to the United States with no intentions on ever returning to their country of origin, the vast majority of the West Indian Disaspora, only do so to provide for family and friends "back home." Essentially, immigration in perceied as a very prolonged business trip. This is evidenced by the overwhelming data showing that the retiring West Indian Dispora reverse immigrates back to thier birthland. Many opponentns to this argument hold up the many U.S. citizen applications filed by the West Indian Disapora. However, the long-term plans of West Indians immigrating dictate that they acheive citizenship for the subsequent generations that may elect to stay, however personally, they never have any intention on doing so. Essentially, the West Indian Diaspora may never identify as American and thus playing on their sense of Nationalism and pride for their birth nation is a sound marketing strategy.
Over the last 20 years, we was marketers have divised cute little monikers for each generation and targeted them accordingly. We have the very viable "Baby Boomers," Gen X and the rebellious Millenials. Very unique strategies are employed for targeting each.
However, fwe don't use the same intelligence for West Indian Diaspora Advertising. First generation West Indians are very reistant to change and depending on what age they immigrated, may be a very difficult demographic to crack. However, they have tremendous net worth, believe in home ownership and conservative values. Conversely, their children in the second generation are completely different. While they have tremendous buying power, they are very open to trying new brands, exploraiton of new things and are far more liberal. Naturally, if we took a singular approach to targeting both generations, we would likely be effective with one or the other, if either at all.
West Indian Dispaora Advertising is all about creativity. West Indians often joke with each other about how many jobs they have. Theya are a busy people, always keeping providing for the family top on the priority list. This gives them buying power, however makes them often too busy to enjoy television, read newspapers (online or print). They rely on word-of-mouth for their news and gossip for their entertainment. May forms of traditional media aren't very effective in reaching this audience and have caused many of your competitors to perhaps abandon them out of frustration. However, good smart, scientific marketing is key to attracting this audience. They take their time in the buyers's journey but are very brand loyal when they purchase. Consider an inbound strategy that gives them the power and makes them in charge of the buying process.
Historically, the lack of reliable research has made West Indian Disapora Advertising somewhat of an abandoned treasure. However, you don't need a treasure map to secure your bounty. Just avoid these common mistakes and remember that the West Indian Diaspora is not homogenius. Be very targetted in your creative and you will win. For more on how to win with West Indian Diaspora Advertising and other mulicultral groups, download our free E-book below.