Unlocking Success: The Nuances of Reaching Migrant Audiences in New Zealand

Unlocking Success: The Nuances of Reaching Migrant Audiences in New Zealand 1

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Published: 2024 | Author: Anne Casey

The recent rise in migration from the recent months, is too critical to ignore. 2023 was the year of record-breaking, surge in migration. At its peak, arrivals exceeded departures by 142,000. Looking at the rolling 12 months data for the period ending February 2024,  India, Philippines, China and then followed by South America and Sri Lanka are the top countries that new migrants are from. Knowing the strategies regarding marketing to Indian consumers or the importance of Chinese social media marketing have never been more important. 

Unlocking Success: The Nuances of Reaching Migrant Audiences in New Zealand 2

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Marketing to New Zealand’s burgeoning Chinese and Indian migrant populations involves far more than just understanding language and selecting appropriate channels. “Indian migrants aren’t simply ‘Indian,’ and Chinese migrants aren’t just ‘Chinese.’ The longer they reside in New Zealand, the more their identities evolve into uniquely ‘migrant Indian’ and ‘migrant Chinese. This evolution reflects a blending of their heritage with their adopted Kiwi culture, influencing their values, tastes, and perspectives.

Many New Zealand companies mistakenly view these migrant groups as homogenous. The reality, however, is far more complex. Even within their home countries, Chinese and Indian populations are diverse, encompassing a vast array of cultures, languages, and social structures. Migrants can come from various regions, have different levels of wealth, and be at different stages in life. While they all share the decision to migrate to New Zealand, their experiences and preferences diverge significantly.

When marketing to Indian or Chinese consumers, It is important to recognise these distinctions- imagine considering all New Zealanders to be one target audience and trying to market to them with a single strategy. It simply wouldn’t be effective.

Beyond Translation: Crafting Resonant Campaigns

Successfully reaching these migrant groups requires more than just translating messages. Their identities become a blend of their heritage and their adopted Kiwi culture, shaping their values, tastes, and perspectives. This cultural nuance is particularly important in areas like humour. For example, Kiwi humour is usually lost in translation for new migrants who have a more direct sense of humour when they first arrive. This can isolate them. However, the longer they reside here, the more they become ‘Kiwi’ and start understanding the humour.

Hence, it is critical to go beyond basic translation and craft targeted campaigns that resonate with the specific stage of settling in and the cultural nuances of each community. 

The Chinese Market: Adapting to Evolving Media Habits

Marketing to New Zealand’s Chinese migrant community requires a dynamic approach that recognises evolving media consumption habits. While WeChat remains the primary communication platform for Chinese migrants, we are witnessing a significant shift towards platforms like Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) and Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok). 

This trend underscores the importance of a holistic marketing strategy that considers the entire Chinese migrant media landscape. A channel-by-channel approach is no longer sufficient. We’re seeing a constant decline in the reach and effectiveness of brand WeChat Official Accounts, both in China and here in New Zealand post-COVID. A multi-channel strategy is critical for this market as they move between platforms based in China as well as those in New Zealand. Understanding which is the first go-to platform and which ones are secondary makes all the difference for the right impact.

To effectively navigate this landscape, partnering with an Indian or Chinese digital marketing agency can be invaluable. Our unique understanding of how to strategically reach these new migrant audiences has been a benefit to many of our clients. From WeChat marketing services, helping brands to utilise WeChat Official Accounts to programmatic or Youtube migrant marketing, we’ve successfully established brands in this area.

Additionally, the rise of platforms like Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) calls for specialised Red digital marketing strategies. Marketing on Xiaohongshu, known for its community-driven content and product recommendations, requires a nuanced approach to engage users effectively. This is where expertise in influencers and  Chinese KOL marketing becomes crucial. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) on platforms like Douyin and Xiaohongshu can significantly amplify a brand’s reach and credibility.

Three Key Strategies for Reaching Chinese Kiwis

Here are three key strategies for success in reaching the Chinese new migrants in New Zealand:

1. Understanding the Evolving Chinese Kiwi:

The Chinese migrant population in New Zealand isn’t simply a replica of the people back home. They’re a unique blend, their heritage interwoven with Kiwi culture. Understanding what resonates with this evolving group and how their preferences adapt over time is crucial.

2. Beyond the Usual Channels:

While some Chinese migrants might use Facebook and Instagram, the dominant channels operate in a different digital ecosystem. WeChat, Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), and Douyin (the Chinese cousin of TikTok) reign supreme. This market also embraces a mix of international sites and mobile apps. Consequently, it is key to not market via one or two Chinese channels alone but to use an integrated multi-channel approach that reaches the audience effectively.

3. Bridging the Language Gap:

Many Chinese migrants struggle with English, which affects their confidence and integration. This naturally leads them to rely on Chinese channels and communities for information. Overcoming and bridging this language barrier is crucial to tap into the full potential of this market.

The Indian Audience: Embracing Diversity

The Indian community in New Zealand is anything but homogeneous. Coming from a country with more than 780 languages and 22 official languages, the Indian migrant population is incredibly diverse. Even though Hindi is predominant, it is not universally spoken or accepted. Indian migrants typically utilise English language channels such as Meta platforms and Google. However, in New Zealand, there are already over 20 dedicated Indian channels catering to this community alone. This highlights the need for sharply targeted communication when it comes to marketing to Indian consumers.

Brands should establish communication with new migrants even before they arrive in New Zealand. Their journey starts with online research before they step foot in Aotearoa. To ensure that businesses are not on the back foot trying to play catch-up, we design marketing approaches that provide a competitive advantage to our clients. At Marketing MInds, we strive to build authentic trust and engagement with the target markets at the right time, right place, and in the right way.

Navigating the Maze with Marketing Minds

Since 2017, Marketing Minds has focused on the NZ migrant market, boasting a team with firsthand knowledge and experienced marketers. Utilising a blend of lived experience and data-driven insights, we have honed our understanding and strategies to help companies penetrate this dynamic market. As a leading Chinese digital marketing agency with experience in marketing to Indian consumers, we can provide valuable insights into leveraging their respective platforms effectively.

If you’d like to learn more about migrant marketing, please get in touch with one of our Marketing Consultants.


Your business could qualify for partial government grant with Marketing Minds Digital Marketing Success programme.

If you want some more personalised advice on reaching your marketing objectives, or if you have any other questions, call us at +64 9 6344 390, email info@marketingminds.me or contact us.
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