How to market to the different generations within ethnic minorities

5th April 2022

Changing your marketing materials to suit an ethnic audience can seem overwhelming if your brand has not taken the time to understand the audience you wish to reach. As a multicultural marketing agency, GottaBe! Ethnic know that each minority group has individual needs, and your marketing strategy should be tailored to engage the audience effectively. 

Something which often gets looked over is the differences within a minority group. With 9.3 million people living in the UK from an ethnic minority, we must consider the generation your brand wishes to reach. The level of adaptation will vary depending on the length of time a person has spent in the UK or other ‘host country’. To discover the different generations within the ethnic minorities, continue to read this post and join us as we look at the best way to engage each generational group effectively. 

What are the different generations within ethnic groups?

Research by Anne-Sophie Lenoir and Stefano Puntoni reveals “that the cultural baggage of the second generation is more complex, being influenced both by the cultural heritage of their parents’ country and the mainstream culture of the “host” country in which they have been raised. By contrast, first-generation ethnic minorities retain a stronger bond with the cultural roots that they established before being re-located.” Knowing this information, we must look at each generation in more detail to understand the most effective ways to reach them. 


First-generation ethnic minorities are made up of those born elsewhere and relocated to a new country. Typically, those from a first-generation group retain a stronger bond with their cultural roots, which were established before they re-located. Therefore, they will be less accepting of the cultural norms of the host country as they are used to a different way of life which may be very different to that of the country they now reside in. We must be considerate of this and make the necessary adjustments to reach this generation effectively. 

Whilst this generation will be made up of a high number of over 45’s we must also remember that first generation in this instance can be a range of ages. In 2020, the non-UK-born population was 9.5 million, and the non-British population was 6.1 million. With the statistics showing this has remained stable for the last couple of years, it is evident that the first generation population UK population continues to grow. 

Second generation 

When we talk about second-generation ethnic groups, we are discussing the children of the first generation who were born in a ‘host country’ —raised by the cultural heritage of their parents’ country and the mainstream culture of the country in which they have been raised. Through the mixture of exposure to the first generation’s cultural heritage and that of the country they grew up in, the second generation typically has more acceptance of the country in which they live. This, of course, differs from person to person.

Factors such as schooling and the workplace from a young age expose the second generation to a different way of life, so they have a good level of adaptation between the two. A nod to the cultural heritage of this group should be included, but the level of adjustments made does not need to match that of the first generation. 

Third/ fourth generation 

The third and even fourth generational ethnic groups are the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of the first generation. The family have now lived in the host country for many years, and those from the third or fourth generation have some form of cultural heritage but identify more with the host country. As time has passed, this generation has fewer ties and connections to their cultural heritage and will have been exposed to the host country’s culture as their way of life. 

Minor adjustment needs to be made to reach this group as they identify more with mainstream media than the generations before them, but they should still be represented.   

How to effectively market to the different generational groups?


To effectively reach the first generation, your brand should create an ethnic marketing campaign that would be suitable in the country of origin. You must consider imagery, translation, symbols etc., to effectively gain their attention. As a generation with strong cultural ties, your brand must find a way to market your products or services to add value to their lives over what they know.

GottaBe! know the importance of key people of influence for this generation as they are trusted sources of information. Providing your marketing materials in a translated form will allow the generation to engage with your brand better and show them that you care. However, we must emphasise the importance of proper translation as your brand may need to look further than language and consider new slogans/ catchphrases that are culturally appropriate.

Second generation 

When reaching a second-generation group, the level of adjustments changes. Whilst there is still a strong connection to their cultural heritage, the second generation is typically more accepting of mainstream media within the country in which they grew up. While this group has more acceptance, we must highlight that this generation should still be represented culturally, and things such as imagery, language and symbolism should still be considered. There are, of course, different levels within each group, so it may be worth considering things such as a multilanguage document/ booklet to widen your reach. 

Third/ fourth generation 

Typically, when reaching the third or fourth generation, little needs to be done in terms of language as they will have stronger ties to their place of birth. However, this does not mean that your brand should ignore them completely. Ethnic representation should be evident within every campaign, and this should be done authentically to engage your audience effectively. Proving your brand’s authenticity will build on brand purpose and gain attention within the ethnic audiences. 

How will my brand benefit from reaching the different generations?

Ethnic minorities in the UK alone have an untapped spending power of over £300bn. This is because only 1 in 5 brands reaches out to ethnic consumers. Your brand can break through into the ethnic market by engaging this audience effectively. With a vast 69% of ethnic minorities who feel UK media has little to no relevance to them, now is the time to make a difference and include these groups within your marketing strategy. 

Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing when trying to get your brand recognised. Ethnic minority groups are well known for their power when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing. Gaining the attention and trust of these audiences from the different generations will see a high ROI and brand recall as they recommend your brand over your competition.

To start reaching the different generational groups within ethnic minority groups, contact the team that can help you expand your reach. Not only will you reach new audiences, but your current target market will grow as you create tailored campaigns which get people talking! 

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