Multicultural Marketing Starts with a Story

Let me take you back to your childhood for just a brief moment. To a time when you were as ‘cheeky as a wagonload of monkeys and twice as mischievous’. Do you remember the lecture you received from your mother or father? The words went in through one ear and out the other. At that moment, all you wanted was for the ‘conversation’ to end, so that you could go back to playing with your friends and getting up to the same mischievous activities you were partaking in just minutes earlier.

Now let me take you back to an even fonder memory – when your mother or father would tuck you into bed at night and read you the most magical of stories. Folktales have been part of every culture for thousands of years. From the Italian ‘Il Pentamerone’ to the Greek ‘Poseidon’, the Arab ‘Abu Jmeel’ to the Chinese ‘Tikki Tikki Tembo’ and the remarkable Indian ‘Panchatantra’ and ‘Hitopadesha’.

These stories were powerfully vivid, always led to an important lesson and were far more engaging than a cold lambasting.

You see, the issue that many brands and marketers face these days is that they have lost ‘the art of storytelling’ when it comes to multicultural audiences.

As multicultural marketers, a large part of what we do for clients is to help them tell their stories. But, it’s so important to understand the cultural cues and nuances of various ethnic segments, especially when applying a marketing lens.

The challenge is in figuring out how to share the story in a way that aligns with the needs and priorities of both client and consumer. But it all starts with one important philosophy – putting the customer at the heart of everything you do.

It’s about using powerfully personal and meaningful insights into one’s culture to make the story so compelling that it increases the perception of value and creates an urgency to act. By creating a world that your audience sees themselves belonging to, brands establish incredibly fruitful, long-term relationships built on trust and loyalty.

Understand one’s culture – build relationships– open new markets. The perfect model.

At the end of the day, every consumer wants to be charmed and enticed to your brand rather than have it forced upon them.

And as everyone knows… facts tell, but it’s stories that sell.

Written by:

Daniel Assaf – Multicultural Practice Partner, GCX, which provides advisory services on Cross Cultural, Multicultural and International Marketing. You can contact him on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s