How to market your mainstream brands to ethnic groups

29th March 2022

Products and services are freely available to consumers from all groups, so why do we only see specific demographics or groups shopping with certain brands and avoiding others. Whilst your product or service may be available to ethnic minority groups, they may not choose your products due to lack of knowledge, under-representation or fear that the product is not suitable for them. Within this post, we will be discussing the importance of reaching ethnic audiences and sharing the top things your brand must consider when creating a multicultural marketing strategy. 

Why should I market to ethnic groups?

9.3 million people in the UK are from an ethnic minority, but only 1 in 5 brands reach out to them. GottaBe! Ethnic know ample opportunities are being missed. With an untapped spending power of over £300 bn, it is the perfect time for your brand to market to ethnic audiences. 

Leaders in diversity and inclusion Nike are just one of many brands that benefit from their inclusive approach, ensuring all minority groups are equally valued. Their approach is simple yet effective and most definitely consistent. With many of the leaders in multicultural marketing, the authenticity of their ethnic marketing comes from within and is shared in a way that does not feel like a tick box exercise. Discover GottaBe! Ethnic’s top multicultural marketing campaigns

How should my brand market to ethnic groups?

Diversity and inclusion must come from within a brand or organisation, and without this, your brand will never be seen as genuinely authentic. If you have served a predominantly white audience for a long time, you will need to break down the barriers that have stopped ethnic audiences from shopping with your brand. 

Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to act differently towards ethnic groups when we think of inclusivity, it is required to ensure that minority groups feel represented. Equality is not necessarily about treating everyone the same; it is essential to provide equal opportunities to feel valued. By altering your marketing to suit the needs of a consumer group, your brand will see a higher return as you effectively reach the target audience. Your brands’ social responsibility should be inclusive of the ethnic minority groups, and therefore, you should be making changes to your marketing to ensure that all are equally represented. This should not be a one-off campaign but a consistent approach and should be seen across your marketing channels.

What must I consider when marketing to ethnic groups?


To ensure your marketing materials do not offend the group you are trying to reach, you must look at the cultural differences. Having multiracial team members will help you do this as they will give an insight into the cultural differences within your company. However, it is always good to do more extensive research to ensure you can effectively reach the ethnic minority without offending them or missing the mark completely. 


Within ethnic groups, there are subgroups for the different religions followed by the members of the community. Not only should religious beliefs come into consideration, but also the holidays. Ensuring your marketing materials are suited to the religion of the group you are engaging in is essential to the success of your campaign. Attending ethnic holidays or providing a service tailored to the event will see your brand get recognised over competitors. GottaBe!’s Ethnic Calendar will keep you up to date with the different ethnic holidays throughout the year and ensure your brand can represent the different ethnic groups across the UK. 


We have touched on the importance of translated materials in previous posts; it is one of the most important factors your brand must consider. Whilst the English language can be understood by most of the ethnic communities here in the UK, delivering materials in a native language will see a higher engagement level. GottaBe!’s survey of ethnic individuals found that 16% say they would be receptive to brand messages in ethnic media, with 53% being more persuaded to buy a product if a brand communicated in their native language. 

Communication is crucial in marketing as how your brand is perceived will see the difference between views and conversions. You only get one shot at a campaign, so it must be well received on the first go and have the desired impact. To effectively reach ethnic audiences and show them that your brand values them as consumers, offering your marketing materials in their native language will increase engagement and conversion rates. 


Consider which generation you wish to target, as cultural differences will be within. Marketing to the first generation vs the third generation will differ in terms of cultural differences. Typically, the first generation will have stronger ties with their place of birth, so a more traditional approach with native language through ethnic media channels may be more appropriate. Whereas the third generation will be more accustomed to mainstream media, preferring a subtle reference to their historical culture. They still want to be represented but do not necessarily need materials translated as their first language is probably that of the country they live in. 


We can think of taste as the literal sense in terms of food etc., or we can look at it in terms of material preferences. The taste will differ between communities as cultural and generational aspects come into play. As a brand, you must consider how to market to the different ethnic groups based on taste. Running a specifically targeted experiential campaign may be the best solution for your brand. This way, you can engage with your target audience face to face, allowing your brand to gain honest feedback whilst building bonds.  To effectively reach your target audience, your brand should consider building relationships with KPIs, ethnic stores, and religious places of worship. This is where you will see the highest footfall. If you cannot run F2F activations, you should consider e-sampling. This is typically done through online channels; however, you can run similar activations in-store. 


If minority groups are never included or represented in your brand’s marketing campaigns, how will they ever feel that your product or service is suitable for them? Consumers like to see themselves using a product or service before purchasing, so using authentic imagery is essential in your campaigns. 59% of consumers are more trusting of brands they are represented in their ads. (Microsoft Advertising) This number jumps to 61% when looking at women specifically and 67% when looking at ethnic minorities.

To ensure you get it right, we recommend taking the time to understand the biases towards the minority group to ensure you do not use them in your campaign. The ASA recently reviewed racial and ethnic stereotyping in advertising and found that over half of BAME respondents felt that they were not portrayed accurately when they were represented in ads. Of those, over half felt people from their ethnic group are negatively stereotyped. 

It is not enough to include an image of an ethnic minority; brands now have the responsibility to represent the audience’s culture. Ensuring proper representation will see a more significant interaction from consumers, with 69% of Black consumers saying they are more likely to purchase from a brand whose advertising positively reflects their race/ethnicity.


Influencer marketing has seen much popularity with high ROI levels, which is set to continue to grow. While ethnic influencers are still not valued as highly as mainstream influencers, they are beginning to receive the recognition they deserve. Many ethnic groups struggle to see themselves within mainstream marketing campaigns, so they will head to social media for reviews or influencer campaigns to see if others who look like them are using the product or service. Ethnic influencers give your marketing a level of authority as they act as a buffer for consumers to make secure purchases based on trusted recommendations.

If your brand wishes to market to new audiences, including ethnic influencers in your marketing can be extremely powerful. They have the power to connect your brand with a range of audiences, and whilst their following may not be as high, their engagement levels are equal to or superior to a mainstream macro influencer. If you are not sure if influencer marketing is suitable for your brand, then take a look at the power of ethnic influencers to gain insight into the marketing channel’s effectiveness. 

Touchpoints – KPI 

Each minority group interacts differently, and understanding those touchpoints is essential as it will allow you to effectively connect with each ethnic group. A key-person (KPI) plays a crucial role when engaging the ‘hard to reach’ as they are a trusted source of information. Getting them on side will see a higher level of engagement when reaching new audiences. 

However, there are many touchpoints to include in your multicultural marketing strategy, including ethnic media channels. Again, these are trusted sources of information, so they hold more authority in ethnic community groups. They are already established with a loyal audience. ethnic media includes narrowcast TV, community radio, online and offline publications, etc.

GottaBe! Ethnic are specialists in multicultural marketing and have helped many brands market their mainstream products to the ethnic communities in the UK. We have a range of solutions that can be tailored to help your brand effectively market your products or services. Contact the team today to discover the possibilities available to you! 

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