Family is most important for South Asians

Earlier this month I asked South Asians what they like. I used e-mails & social media (Facebook, Linkedin and Blog) to pose this questions. Mostly Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis living in Canada, the USA, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UAE and Saudi Arabia responded. Many non-Asians also commented. Altogether, I received about 100 comments. Two interesting and distinct findings of the survey are; (i) the family came out as the major consideration by majority of the respondents of South Asian origin, (ii) comments from non-Asian respondents were very different from the preferences shown by the South Asian respondents highlighting a lack of understanding of South Asian culture by the non-Asian respondents.

Further detail and analysis of the outcome of the survey are as follows: 

(i) Majority of the respondents mentioned that family is most important to them followed by relations (relatives or relationships). It shows that marketing communication leveraging family, family values and relationship themes would have an “emotional connect” with South Asians with a greater possibility of striking a chord with them. Based on this survey, as South Asians are family oriented, they would mostly move together and could be reached at family events and melas in large numbers. Furthermore, it could be safely deducted that word-of mouth publicity will be effective in South Asian market segment.

(ii) Personal development, professional growth, hard work, movies, cricket and spicy food were other common interests revealed by the respondents. I believe the abovementioned traits have helped South Asians (specially Indians) to grow rapidly as an economic power in last two decades. Movie theatres, cricket matches and restaurants serving spicy foods could be good touch-points with South Asians. Moreover, organizations offering professional and personal development services could target South Asians market segments as well to grow their sales.

(iii) Non-Asian respondents mentioned that South Asians mostly like rice, spices and Bollywood movies. However, none of non-Asian respondent mentioned family and relationships as significant for South Asians. Thus non-Asian marketers would be better off availing services of South Asian market segment specialists to understand nuances and effectively market to South Asians.  Many companies have already taken a lead in this direction.

Below are excerpts from some of the detailed and interesting responses:

These are insights from Canadian perespective (What South Asians-Canadians want)

“-Recognition of their professional credentials & experience for jobs and business loans;

-They want immediate recognition in government related jobs to start with

-South Asians cannot live, on an average, beyond one year on their savings and their primary goal is job or business

-The rest like owing a house at 5% equity, buying a car etc. is all secondary”

Other good ones;

“When im in the west i think more about myself, my freedom; but when im in east, its not all about me but also my family and friends around me & this change happens very unintentionally. “

“we asians are deeply rooted in culture and tradition, and accepting women as being relegated to second class status.. no matter what they achieve personally and proffessionaly.”


About Fazal Siddiqi
Fazal Siddiqi Writes on current marketing, branding, communications, diversity and socio-economic opportunities & challenges. He lives in Canada and works for OPAL Marketing Group.

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