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AAPI-Owned Brands Leverage Customer-First Approaches To Advertising

May 4, 2021 Sarah Cavill

In the U.S., there are nearly 2 million small businesses plus many large brands owned by Asian Americans. “[The] Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business community has made significant contributions to American society with our strong economic output, productivity, ingenuity and job creation,” said Chiling Tong, president and CEO of Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE).

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and honor AAPI history, culture and traditions in the U.S, particularly meaningful this year as violence against Asian people across the country has recently risen. In order to highlight AAPI-owned businesses and restaurants, ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Yelp created directories on their apps and websites. Meanwhile, many other brands have stepped up support of the AAPI community, showing solidarity during a difficult time. 

AAPI-Owned Brands Connect With Consumers With Advertising That Resonates

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, here are several AAPI-owned brands, including Baggu, Prabal Gurung, Cellular MD and Omsom, that are using innovative marketing and advertising strategies to connect with consumers.

BAGGU Promotes Sustainability And Offers Promotions & Deals To Shoppers

BAGGU

As more and more cities around the country give up plastic bags, the chic reusable bag grows in importance. BAGGU, founded in 2007 by Emily Sugihara, was one of the first brands to recognize the shift in consumer behaviors and create a desirable and cute tote for hauling groceries. Partnerships with West Elm and JCrew, discounts for first orders and new products are all promoted on BAGGU’s website and social media, where the hashtag #bagguinuse is used by consumers to show off their bags. BAGGU has also remained committed to ethical sustainability, dedicating a portion of its website to explaining how BAGGU products are made, both the materials and the manufacturing. Consumers want brands to walk the walk, with brands increasingly leveraging their brand purpose to connect with shoppers.

Designer For Kamala Harris, Prabal Gurung, Partners With Etsy For Housewares Collection

Prabal Gurung, known for dressing Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris, recently partnered with ecommerce site Etsy for a homewares line. “A fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion, world-renowned fashion designer Prabal Gurung teamed up with a global group of Etsy sellers to co-create one-of-a-kind decor pieces that offer everyone a seat at the table. Journey into this colorful collection, and get ready to take part in something truly special,” explains Etsy. The “11 all-star Etsy sellers” under Gurung’s guidance created an exclusive line available on Etsy. The Etsy microsite features a video that explains the unique creator collaboration and a curated list of Gurung’s picks for the perfect table setting. Strategic partnerships can offer brands opportunities to reach new audiences and increase brand engagement, while creating natural opportunities for content marketing, email and social media outreach.

Cellular MD Prioritizes Corporate Social Responsibility As Part Of Its Brand Purpose

For many businesses, corporate social responsibility can offer a sense of brand purpose that resonates with consumers, creating opportunities to deepen connections. Cellular MD, a skincare company founded by Dr. Ronald Moy, a medical and cosmetic dermatologist and surgeon, and his daughter Erin Moy, an entrepreneur, specializes in sun protection and “bio-advanced” skin repair products. The wellness brand partners with Camp Sundown annually, offering medical services and products to campers with xeroderma pigmentosa, “a rare disease that exhibits extreme light and sun sensitivity and puts patients at life threatening risk of skin and eye cancers.” Additionally, Cellular MD donates 10% of the proceeds from every Daily Shield Lotion to Camp Sundown and explains their relationship with the camp on the Cellular MD website, providing a call to action encouraging people to shop and support the camp.

“Partnering with Camp Sundown has been one of the most motivating and fulfilling aspects of my career,” said Erin Moy about the work Cellular MD does to help kids who attend Camp Sundown. 

Omsom Taps Into Meal Kit Popularity With Starter Kits For Popular Southeast Asian And East Asian Recipes

Omsom

When Omsom, a specialty food brand that creates starter kits for Asian dishes, launched in May 2020, it sold out in 72 hours. As reporter Jane Black for The Wall Street Journal said, many consumers were “torn between opposing desires to eat terrific food and do as little as possible in the kitchen.” Meal kits were wildly popular at the start of the pandemic, with established brand Blue Apron seeing its stock soar more than 529%, but sustaining interest as the country returned to familiar behaviors can be trickier. To continue driving interest from foodie consumers, Omsom, founded by Vanessa and Kim Pham, partnered with Disney on a “limited-edition sampler featuring the fierce Raya [from Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon] on the sleeve + exclusive recipes.” The fun collaboration celebrated Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess and offered shoppers six starters of the brand’s most popular flavors, Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Thai Larb, and Filipino Sisig. 

Additionally, Omsom uses its social media channels to call out anti-Asian biases, promote the hiring of Asian creatives and explain the history and heritage of the recipes Omsom is popularising. 

By deploying multichannel strategies that are inclusive and innovative, AAPI brands are able to create trusted relationships with consumers, encouraging repeat business and revenue growth.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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