Quote EndQuote Cross-Cultural Strategy

Multicultural Marketing through Cultural Festivals

Posted by Alisa | 11.12.12

According to the 2011 census, the South Asian population in Canada is growing significantly past the Chinese population, currently making South Asians the largest visible minority group.  Now, representing 25% of all visible minorities in Canada, Statistics Canada projects that the South Asian population could more than double from roughly 1.3 million in 2006 to between 3.2 million and 4.1 million by 2031. These projections further increase the business case for multicultural marketing and the need to redefine “mainstream” marketing.

Girls lighting diyas

The Hindu Festival of Lights – called Diwali – starts on November 13, 2012.

The festive season of Diwali, celebrated by South Asians everywhere, is an excellent opportunity for marketers to send festive wishes and welcome to potential and current customers through “Happy Diwali” messages.  As this cultural festival is a time for family gatherings, grocery stores can sell food and supplies for entertaining, gift retailers can offer items for hostess gifts, and beauty salons and barber shops can provide personal grooming services. Money transfer companies and overseas couriers would be wise to promote their services for South Asians for sending gifts home just prior to the start of Diwali.

Diwali, which is also known as Deepavali, is a major Hindu festival in South Asia, including India. The word Deepavali translates into “row of lamps”; rows and rows of diyas, candles made of small clay vessels, a cotton wick, and some mustard oil, are lit, signifying the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. In Vancouver, during this “Festival of Lights”, you can pick up the clay diyas, filled or not filled with wax, in grocery stores and gift stores in the Punjabi Market area or head to Surrey for a larger selection.

In Canada, Diwali also marks the beginning of winter for many, similar to how Canadians often use the Canada Post deadline of sending Christmas cards as a count-down to Christmas.  Retailers selling winter supplies for the home or car could benefit from creating a multicultural marketing strategy targeted to South Asian consumers. Walmart successfully executed such a strategy by addressing the needs of new South Asian immigrants in need of supplies to enjoy their first Canadian winter. Click here to view their TV commercial.

To learn about Diwali and other Fall cultural celebrations, I recently wrote an article for South Asian Woman Magazine Click here to learn about the Chinese Moon Festival and the celebration that dominates November 11th in Japan and Korea, while the rest of us honor our veterans and observe Remembrance Day in Canada.

Diwali gives another meaning to D-Day! Happy Diwali to all our multicultural friends and family!  To see when many different cultural celebrations are held, check out our Calendar of Cultural Events.