Many major advertisers in the UK are still struggling when it comes to communicating within an increasingly ethnically diverse society, a new report published today by the IPA has revealed.
The report titled “The New Britain” shows that Britain is more culturally diverse than ever before and urges marketers to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by a growing black and minority ethnic (BME) population.
The UK’s minority ethnic population has grown to more than eight million. That’s nearly 13% of the total.
According to forecasts, BME groups in the UK will be twice as large in 30 years’ time (2045) as they are today. The report shows that the population of BME groups is changing with Poles, Romanians, Lithuanians, Arabs, Chinese and Filipinos adding to a settled Afro-Caribbean and Asian population.
One-in-four new babies born in England and Wales now has a foreign-born mother.
“The New Britain” explores the BME’s spending habits. It looks, for the first time, at language and length of residency in the UK to provide insight into generational differences.
The report highlights concerns that many mainstream companies are not using an increasingly dynamic ethnic media to target BME groups despite research showing ethnic audiences would be 60% more likely to buy a product or service if it were advertised in their media.
Sanjay Shabi, MediaCom’s Head of CultureCom and one of the authors of the report, said: “Renewed economic confidence and ongoing maturity within the ethnic media landscape has resulted in ethnic media becoming increasingly more dynamic. We are seeing more product development within the digital sphere, a continuing rise in different types of TV stations and the evolution of broadcasted content addressing the needs and interests of British-based ethnic groups.”
BME groups, the report shows, are increasingly turning towards media created specifically for them. At least 77% of British Asians surveyed feel mainstream advertising has no relevance to them.
Paul Bainsfair, the IPA Director General, said: “The nature of the UK population has changed enormously over the past decade and this presents not only challenges but also great opportunities for advertisers and marketers.
“We, as an industry, now recognise that the BME population is an important and dynamic market. We are striving to better understand this market and to communicate in a more relevant and effective way.”
The report also debunks the following three marketing myths about ethnic minorities
Myth No 1 – They don’t spend
While ethnic minorities don't earn as much on average as their white counterparts, this is by no means universally true. British Indian men have an average higher income than the average White Briton.
Myth No 2 – They behave the same as whites
That’s not true either in the media they consume or in their other behaviour. Only 18% of ethnic minorities in Britain solely watch mainstream TV. Sixteen per cent only watch ethnic programming.
Myth No 3 – They are too hard to target
It’s wrong to believe there are too many differences between ethnic groups to target them effectively. There’s a lot of business to be had with relatively cheap, well-targeted campaigns.
The report further shows that at 7.8 million people, the BME population in England and Wales is larger than the total populations of Scotland and Northern Ireland combined.
Two-in-5 BME people live in London compared with one-in-10 white people. At the same time, ethnic minorities tend to be younger and more urban than their white counterparts and are much more likely to be early adopters.
It also emerges from the report that Asians have the highest rates of internet use, broadband penetration and PC usage in the country.
The report reveals that ethnic media is becoming increasingly dynamic with a continued rise in different types of TV stations and the evolution of broadcast content.
Regarding media use, the report shows that Poles living in Britain are light mainstream TV viewers and are much more reliant on native TV programming.
An equally important finding of this research is that many ethnic media owners such as My Own Media, no longer specialise in one media type but are branching out.
My Own Media publishes Rodina News (Родина News), a weekly for Bulgarians in the UK; the UK Ziarul Romanesc, a weekly for Romanians in the UK; The AfroNews, a website for the Afro-Caribbean community in the UK; and Foreignersinuk.co.uk, a website providing latest news and practical information for migrants or potential migrants to the UK.