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Review: Wells Fargo’s Strategy for Asian Outreach

Successfully Marketing to Minorities: As done at Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo was founded in the mid-19th century to serve the American frontier, so it is appropriate that this most American of all banks is at the forefront of another frontier involving changing American demographics: minority marketing.

Minority Marketing at Wells Fargo

The bank's seriousness about marketing to minorities in the United States can be gauged from the fact that its ATM machines can be used in more than one Asian language, apart from other minority languages like Spanish. This is just the most obvious example of Wells Fargo's push to reach out to more minorities. In a recent interview, Nancy Wong, Integrated Marketing Manager and Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo, had more to say about their commitment to their minority customers.

According to her, since immigrants are much more entrepreneurial than the average person, it makes a lot of sense for a bank like Wells Fargo to work with minorities and immigrant Americans. In that respect, minority, and specifically Asian customers, are the customers the bank wants to serve. So by marketing specifically to them, the bank is able to reach more of them.

Marketing Strategies for Minority Marketing

Apart from offering a number of Asian and other languages in its ATM machines, the bank also creates its marketing and other brochures in languages other than English. The bank is aware that a number of immigrant and other Americans may prefer to use languages other than English, so it does not want to disappoint them.

Another marketing method used by the bank to reach its minority customers is to do special promotions on festivals and holidays celebrated by minorities. This way the bank is able to reach the people when they are relaxed, and when they are with their families and communities. Indeed, according to Nancy Wong, respecting the culture, and involving yourself in a community is very important if you want to market to minorities.

Since the bank has a diverse employee base, the bank uses the diversity in its rolls to its advantage. According to Nancy Wong, the bank encourages its Asian and other minority employees to connect with other people from their communities, and reach out to inform them about financial literacy. The bank has formed a Asian Connection, a group of employees who connect with Asian customers of the bank.

Why Market to Minorities

Wells Fargo has recognized a fact that has been common knowledge among demographers for some time now: that the minority population of the United States will continue to grow at a rate that is much higher than the rest of the population. Further, the cultural and linguistic uniqueness of these communities requires marketers to use different mediums to reach these communities. Wells Fargo has reaped a lot of benefits from following this model, not least of them is getting a loyal client base which feels attracted to Wells Fargo because of its inclusive culture. If you are a business keen on expanding their client base, you cannot ignore minority marketing. Especially when you want to do business in the United States of the future, which will be even more heavily influenced by demographic minorities.

The Importance of Multicultural Marketing

The United States of America is a union in more ways than one. Politically, it is a union of fifty states, which have come together under the idea of a shared destiny. At the same time, demographically, the United States unites people from different cultural background under the idea of a common nationality and shared ethics. For the most part, all Americans share common ideals and cultural mores. At the same time, many people still retain some cultural traditions and identities that are unique to them. This means that the “one glove fits all” solution that is used by many marketers is not the best solution to the problem of marketing to a country as diverse as the United States. In the following sections, we will try to understand the importance of multicultural marketing in the United States. We will then discuss how one can do multicultural marketing to get the best results.

The Demographics of Multicultural America

You only need to take a walk in the main street of any city in the United States to see that this country is made of people with different ethnic and racial backgrounds. The national census surveys can easily verify this fact. The census survey of 2010 tells us that the largest single cultural and racial majority was that of the non-Hispanic White Americans, who constituted 62% of the American population. The rest of the 38% of Americans belonged to either an ethnic minority, or a racial minority, or both.  
It should be noted that non-Hispanic White Americans are not a single cultural group. However, for the most part, they have a lot of similarities, so they are taken as the mainstream cultural group. The rest of cultural and racial groups that constitute America are taken as the multicultural minority groups of America.  
Demographers tell us that the non-Hispanic White American population is seeing a steady decline, and by 2043, they will constitute less than 50% of American population. This also highlights the ever increasing importance of multicultural marketing -- if you do not cater to the multicultural populace, you will only be able to cater to a relatively dwindling group of people, as far as their share in American population goes.

Different Multicultural Groups in America

The single largest minority group in the United States is that of Hispanic or Latino population, who constitute 15% of US population, and continue to increase as a segment of US population. After them, African-Americans constitute about 12.6% of US citizens. Asian-Americans constitute about 4.8% of the American population, according to the 2010 census.

All these groups are expected to increase in proportion to the total population over the next few decades. According to estimates of demographers, the Asian-American segment is expected to grow to 8.2% of American population by 2060. African-Americans are expected to increase to 14.7% of the total population. Similarly, Hispanics too are expected to grow to a larger segment of the population.

Asian-Americans are not a single cultural group, but consist of people from different nationalities and background. Among the total of 14.6 million Asian-Americans, there are 3.5 million Chinese-Americans, 3 million Indian-Americans, 2.6 million Filipino-Americans, 1.6 million Vietnamese-Americans, 1.46 million Korean-Americans, and slightly more than 800,000 Japanese-Americans. There are significant populations originating from other Asian countries too. Further, there is a growing Jewish and Muslim presence in America today. Just like there are ethnic and racial minorities, there are also religious minorities, and many of the groups overlap amongst them.

A Multicultural Marketing Strategy for the United States

To do multicultural marketing, it is important to understand how to reach different segments of population. It has been noticed that African-Americans use Twitter much more often than non-Hispanic Whites. Whereas only 14% of the latter use Twitter, for African-Americans the proportion was at 28%. Therefore, it is a good idea to reach out to your African-American target on twitter and such related social sites. In another study, it was found that 75% of Asian-Americans visit an ethnic website at least once every week. This tells us that there are some cultural behaviors that are true for even such mundane things as using the Internet. This gives us an idea about how to create a strategy for multicultural marketing in the United States, as we find in the following three points:

  1. Mobilize the Social Media

It has been observed that American minorities use the social media more often and more frequently than the majority of the population. Their adoption rate for new technologies is also higher than others. This allows you to tailor a strategy around their use of the social media and new technologies to connect with people.


  1. You do not have to Become Multicultural to Send your Message

Just because you want to reach out to a particular segment of the population does not mean that you have to necessarily be like them. By studying a segment, and by communicating with vendors and agencies that know about them, you can easily reach out to any segment, even though you yourself may not belong to it. Any team or company can reach out to any segment as long as they are willing to do the necessary work in studying the target segment.


  1. Give Multicultural Marketing the Priority that it Deserves

Multicultural marketing needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy, and not just an addendum to the main strategy. With 38% of US population as part of one minority group or another, you cannot afford to give your competitors that big an advantage by ignoring these segments to their marketing strategy.




Multicultural marketing is of paramount importance in the United States due to the diversity of the population. The different ethnic and racial minorities have different types of habits when it comes to consumption of online media, and the use of social media. These differences can be used to craft a multicultural marketing strategy that gives the best results for the promotion of your product or service.

More Indian Students Head to US

At a beachside hotel in Mumbai, is gathered a throng of young crowd, all of them with dreams of a better future.

But they aren’t here to screen test for a new Bollywood movie. Rather, they are here to apply to universities from US and UK through an education fair that is being organized by an event management company. Over half of the universities represented in the trade fair are from the United Kingdom.

However, some recent changes in the visa system by the British government have started to adversely affect the attraction of British universities for Indian students.

Higher Education as an Opportunity to Settle

As seen by the number of Indian students that head to US universities, the United States emerges as the first choice for Indian students, with the UK as a close second. But some recent changes in visa rules by the British government have reduced the charm of British education even more.

According to Prachi Bhatt, one of the students who are at the fair, if the visa rule had not been changed, she would have definitely gone to a university in the UK.

“I want to settle out of India, but the new British visa rules make it difficult for me to settle or stay there after I have finished my degree,” she says.

The visa rule change she talks about makes it harder for non-E.U. students to stay in the UK after they have completed their degree. Under the new rules, one has to get a job with a salary of at least £20,000 to be allowed to stay in the UK. For a new graduate, getting such a salary may not always be possible. There are also other restrictions that make it harder for a student to stay in UK after completing their degree.

Immigration and Better Education

After the current coalition government came to power in the UK, they took a policy decision to restrict immigration into the UK from non-EU countries. The restricted visa rules for Indian students came from that policy, as the government made it harder for students to stay in the UK after they completed their degrees.

The new policy is showing its impact on the number of Indian students enrolled in the UK universities. Figures show that enrollment of Indian students in UK universities is down almost 24% in 2013, when compared to the previous year.

Universities in the US have been the indirect beneficiary of this policy shift in the UK. “It affects everyone, because it is natural to look for a job on the same country after you have finished your degree there,” says Sasha Miranda, a 21 year old from Mumbai who wants to study in the US now. According to her, students now feel unwelcome in the UK, and find the US more welcoming for higher education.

The quality of higher education in India, apart from top engineering colleges, leaves much to be desired, which is the reason why so many parents in India want their children to study abroad after finishing their high school or undergraduate degrees.

The UK Government Needs to Rethink

According to Jonathan Fernandes, people want to work in countries in which study because it prepares them to work internationally.

“It does not make sense for someone to get a costly degree in the UK or US and then return to India. The experience they have gained while studying, with the quality that they have studied, is wasted if they do not work there,” says Jonathan Fernandes, who is himself a fashion student.

According to him, the UK was always the second option for him, but the latest visa restrictions have made it unattractive to a number of other students too. For him, the decision to restrict visas by the UK government is stupidity on their part. “Not everyone wants to go there just so they can get into UK. People want to build their careers there, not just fool around,” says he.

Heading to the US

The UK still remains an attractive destination for Indian students, but the recent changes have definitely made them think twice about universities in UK. This only increases the profile of US universities in Indian students’ minds.

Indian students are the second largest group of international students worldwide, after China, and that makes them a very big market for US universities. In the coming years, the US universities will definitely reap the benefits of the recent visa policy changes in the UK.


Marketing to the Indian American Consumer

For the longest time, U.S. companies have successfully marketed by assuming that their target audience, by and large, consisted of the majority population. However, the declining demographic prominence of the majority has compelled many companies to rethink their marketing strategy. Large companies such as American Express and VISA have recently found success in the American market by targeting niche demographic populations. This strategy is based on a number of factors, including the increasing clout of minorities in the U.S. economy, the availability of new marketing tools and demand from the niche populations.

One of the minority groups in the U.S. today that is often overlooked by marketers is the Asian Indian American community. In the following sections, we underline the importance of this group in the American economy, as well as highlight the different ways that they can be targeted in a marketing campaign.

History, Culture and Demographics

The first Asian Indian immigrants came to the United States in the early twentieth century. However, a majority of Indian American immigrants came to the U.S. after the 1960s, when the rules of immigration were relaxed for Indians and other Asians. Before the Immigration Act of 1965, there were only about 25,000 Indian Americans in the United States. However, today Indian Americans form the third largest ethnic minority ethnic group in the United States; the 2010 census reported that there were more than 2.92 million Indian Americans in the U.S.

Culturally, Indians find that there is lot in common between the U.S. and their original home. For one, India is almost as diverse a place as the United States. Further, both the countries have a history of British rule, which manifests itself today in shared culture, language and systems of governance. When it comes to language, Indians find themselves at home when speaking in English, even though their first language may be one of the dozens of languages that originate in India, including Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu or Gujarati.

Religiously, most Indian Americans are Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. Sikhs comprise about 1.5 percent of the Indian population, but they comprise more than 20 percent of Indian Americans, giving them a lot of prominence in the Indian American community in general.

Even though there are different religions and languages that are professed and used by Indian Americans, they share some common symbols and cultural values that can help target them as a community. Commentators have pointed out that people of Indian origin rely more on their family, which makes them more family oriented. For most Indians, it is important that they remain connected to their parents even after they have become independent of them. When talking about Indian Americans, the term family may often include not just a nuclear family, but also the parents of the adults in question. However, it should be remembered that a lot of Indian Americans are born in America, and may not strongly share the characteristics of immigrant populations.

We discuss other shared cultural values, aspirations and other attitudes of Indian Americans in the next section, where we discuss the psychographics of the Indian American population.

Indian American Psychographics

When targeting a segment of population through marketing efforts, it helps to know its aspirations, attitudes and cultural values. With Indian Americans, the important psychographic facts include their stress on family, importance of religion as a belief system and as the nucleus of community, the importance given to education, and unique food habits. Another significant aspect of Indian American culture is the respect given to elders because of their age and life experience.

When it comes to food habits, Indian Americans who follow Hinduism and Sikhism do not partake in beef. Muslim Indian Americans may consume beef, but may not eat pork due to religious reasons. A large segment of Indian Americans are also vegetarian, in which case they will avoid all food products derived from animals, including eggs. However, non vegetarians normally do consume milk. It should be remembered that we are talking about general trends, especially when it comes to Hindus avoiding beef: a number of Hindus do not find it against their religious beliefs to eat and enjoy beef.

Most Indian Americans give a lot of importance to higher education, especially when compared to the rest of Americans. In this regard, they are much like the rest of the Asian immigrant populations, which are known to give a lot of importance to good education in life.

How to Market to Indian Americans

As we discussed in the previous section, when you want to target Indian American segment of the population, you may want to use one or more of the psychographic characteristics that we mentioned for this group. Without resorting to cliché, it would help your case if you were to create a family oriented message that stressed the importance of following one’s traditions and culture. It is preferable to use English to reach out to Indian Americans, because they use English as their first language.

The following is a list of magazines and newspapers that are targeted towards Indian Americans: India Post, India West, Kerala Insider, South Asian Insider, Masala, Little India, India Abroad, India New York, Silicon India and India Currents.

In conclusion, we find that Indian Americans, at 2.92 million, form almost 1 percent of the American population, making them the third largest single ethnic minority in the United States. When you want to target niche segments of the populations, Indian Americans should definitely become part of your marketing strategy. As outlined above, Indian Americans have a lot in common with their new home that is America, but they still retain some distinct cultural and religious mores that can be used to reach them with your message.

The Importance of Marketing to the people of South Asian origin in the United States

The people of the United States share some common values, such as a belief in fair play and a belief in the efficacy of hard work to achieve the American dream. Therefore, it makes sense to target the whole of American population when marketing a product or service. However, some segments of population are easier to target due to a number of factors, including higher economic prosperity, shared cultural values and geographic distribution. One such segment of population is that of Americans whose national origins lie in South Asia, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Marketing to South Asians in the United States is an attractive proposition due to a number of factors, which we will shortly discuss. First, let us first understand the demographics of South Asian origin population in the United States.

Population and Culture


Nationality of Origin


Indian American 

2.92 million

Pakistani American

409, 163

Bangladeshi American


Rest of South Asia

About 100,000


Table 1: This table shows the population of U.S. that reported themselves to be of the specified national origin, according to the 2010 census report. The numbers do not include people who reported themselves to be of more than one national origin. Rest of South Asia includes Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives.


As seen in table 1, Indian Americans alone form about 3 million of the nation’s total population of 308 million. Combined together, South Asians comprise more than 3.5 million Americans, making them one of the largest cultural or national blocks of population in the U.S.

South Asians in the United States in general share some common cultural values, languages and religions with each other. Common cultural values include strong family ties and more stress on higher education; mutually common religions include Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism; and mutually shared languages include Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali. Other languages of note include Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi and Sinhalese. Sinhalese is almost exclusively spoken by Sri Lankan Americans, whereas the other languages mentioned are mostly used by Indian Americans.

The second language of a vast majority of South Asians is none other than English, which, due to British rule in recent history, is almost a part of heritage for most South Asians. Their familiarity with the English language makes them stand out from the rest of the people of Asian origin, for whom English is mostly a foreign language.

Impact in Business and Economy

A number of surveys and census reports have shown that Indian American and other South Asian communities have a higher per capita income than the average American. A far larger proportion of people from these communities have a higher education degree, which results in higher average annual income for these communities in general. Many immigrants from South Asia come to the U.S. as students of higher education.  They happen to make the United States their home once they finish their education. Further, many of these students go on to become highly successful professionals and entrepreneurs, and therefore have a higher average income than the general population.

It is not surprising to note that a significantly higher proportion of Silicon Valley companies are started by people of South Asian origin, specifically Indian Americans. Most of these tech entrepreneurs came to the U.S. to pursue a degree, but finding the business environment conducive to their goals, stayed here as entrepreneurs and academics.

Indian Americans and other South Asians are also known to dominate a number of other businesses. For example, the American motel industry is remarkable for the fact that almost half of all American motels are run by Indian Americans, most of them from Gujarat, which is just one of the many states of India.

Easier to Market to South Asian Americans

Like other immigrant and minority populations, South Asian Americans are more highly concentrated in some states than in others. According to the latest census figures, the four states with the largest number of Asian populations, New York, California, Texas and New Jersey, contained almost half of all people of Asian origin in the United States (8.9 million Asian Americans out of a total of 17.3 million in the whole of United States). It is easier to market to a segment of the population if the marketing efforts are focused in the states in which such segments are concentrated.

Another reasons why it is easier to market to South Asians was mentioned in the previous section: the United States and South Asia were both ruled by the British, so most immigrants from South Asia share some common cultural traits with their new home that is America. This makes it easier to create a marketing strategy that targets this group, especially when compared to other minority and immigrant groups.


People from South Asian origin include professionals and highly successful businessmen and businesswomen who are known for their work ethic and prosperity, and therefore should be targeted by any marketing strategy that aims to reach out to new markets. A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the South Asian community in the U.S. comprised of more than 3.5 million people, making them one of the largest ethnic and racial minorities in the U.S. Not only that, their per capita income is far higher than any other national group in the United States, with some surveys reporting that their average per capita income was as much as 60% higher than the national average. All these factors combine to make a very strong case for targeting this segment of the population in the marketing efforts of any business.


We have lauched our South Asian mobile marketing offering. We have partnered with the best south asian mobile sites so you can target this niche ethnicity on their mobile phone with your marketing message.

We include a variety of placement opportunities such as text, banner, expandable, full screen ads, as well as video ads.

Our mobile site list includes:

  • m.thehindu.com (News & Finance)
  • m.indianexpress.com (Entertainment)
  • m.in.com (Entertainment)
  • m.thatscricket.com (Sports - Cricket)
  • ...and many more.

As you can see, we can segment them by content vertical as well.

A Blog, really?

Blogs are so pre-2010, we all know that. Unless there is something of business interest, we plan on being pretty silent here. Though we reserve the right to change our mind.

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