Best of #Esomar Canada: Robin Brown and the Global Asian Youth Culture #MRX

esomar logoThis is one of several (almost) live blogs from the ESOMAR Best of Canada event on May 9, 2012. Any errors, omissions, and ridiculous side comments are my own.


Robin Brown SVP, Environics
Global Asian Youth Culture

  • Jeremy Lin, massively successful basketball player inspired the word “Linsanity”
  • 3 factors behind the enthusiasm for him included 1) He is asian/chinese, 2) the enthusiasm occurred globally, not just in asian countries, at exactly the same time, and 3) it occurred cross-culturally. The mainstream excitement made it even more exciting.
  • Currently, 250 million people live in a country they were not born in. That’s the same as the 6th largest country in the world and that is a 50% increase since 1990.
  • Two of largest groups are south Asians (Indians) and east Asians (Chinese): 20% of them live in the Americas and Canada is sizable in this regard.
  • International students shows rapid growth, with much from China and India, and this contributes to the growth of living away from country of birth.
  • Do you recall a controversial article “Are Canadian universities too Asian?” Some are 40% Asian. This creates an environment where they can be exposed to new cultures and feed those ideas back to their home country.
  • Stats Canada projects an extremely heavy Asian demographic in 20 years. As a marketer, perhaps of clothes or beer, you will be selling to an Asian demographic. You must check your sample profile when you’re doing youth research and make sure it’s balanced for Asian youth.
  • Research showed that overseas born youth living in Canada have close friends family overseas, and vice versa. But what has changed is that people are leaving highly developed and growing economies, not poor economies. Youth are ensuring they are employable and relevant to both cultures, countries. They now have ways to maintain communications with their home population.
  • The Jeremy Lin phenomenon spread through this immigrant people with overseas connections.
    Jeremy Lin at the 2010 Golden State Warriors o...
  • Instead of white culture influencing Asian culture, the sharing of culture is starting to go both ways. The balance has shifted from North American youth culture to a global conversation.
  • The Chinese youth culture has not been developed and that’s only starting to happen now. It needs one more generation. Right now, North American East Asian culture is being developed.
  • Jeremy Lin provided this connection. “I don’t know why but he makes me feel more Chinese”
  • Manny Pacquio does this as well for Philiphinos. he brings people together in the absence of other cultural connections.
  • Marketers need to 1) adapt their strategy to these changes, to more Asian youth, 2) extend Asian brands globally, 3) brand their communication across the diaspora
  • For Unilever, they need to understand the level of acculturation. We assume ethnicity is important but how acculturated are people? Who exactly are they reaching? What is interaction between home and immigrant population and will a product work the same in both?
  • Unilever launched LUX in North American to reach Chinese immigrants. They were buying grey market products anyways. The created an ad that was more appealing to new immigrants not those who have been here a long time. Acculturation is also reflected in deodorant use. Incidence of use differs by acculturation and segments must be targeted differently.
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