How to communicate with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) audiences

April 19, 2018 admin 0 Comments

As revealed in our recent article The importance of communicating with culturally and linguistically diverse communities, 28 percent of Australians were born overseas. Indeed, more than 21 percent of Australians speak a language other than English at home.

Having established that it is necessary for companies to communicate with CALD audiences, the question which then arises is how?

As a first step, identifying the specific group that an organisation would like to communicate with is key. We can then narrow down by location, language or demographic.

The 2016 Census has given us more nuanced information than previously available. Such as that in the New South Wales suburb of Burwood, only 20.1 percent of residents speak English at home. Or, that in Australia 1 in 3 older people were born in a non-English speaking country. So language barriers are likely one of the major issues.

Following this, we can then drill down into how to best communicate with these specific groups.

Powell Tate’s sister agency, Identity, which specialises in multicultural marketing, identifies that many CALD groups tend to settle in suburbs that are highly populated with people from their community, forming segregated communities. Companies could use this to their advantage by implementing local engagement through community events.

Thang Ngo, Managing Director of Identity, notes that community and religious leaders are highly regarded by CALD communities, playing an important role during their process of decision making. For successful campaigns, brands should look to tap into these existing networks.

In CALD communities there is a reliance on using community networks for information. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and should not be under estimated as a form of engagement.

Influencer engagement is a great way for organisations to reach communities. This can be done by identifying the key spokespeople from the community and engaging them to support core messages, not only provide credibility but helping further engage CALD groups.

Further, CALD groups tend to rely on community media, so organisations should look to engage with these publications. This has two-fold benefits. Namely, brands are specifically communicating with a highly-targeted audience, also community media is often much better value for money.

There are also more tailored methods of engagement such as ‘pop-ups’ in community hubs like train stations or shopping centres. This gives local communities the opportunity to directly interact.

Simple methods of communication should not be overlooked. Approaches such a letter box drops or even posters can be highly effective, especially when tailored to both location and language. The power of a website with information in languages other than English should also not be underestimated.

To the unaware, this can all sound overwhelming, but simple tweaks to a communications campaign can ensure that an organisation’s reach is significantly lengthened.