Understanding the digital behaviour of the growing Asian consumer

NZAL bigPrint

Understanding the changing behaviour of the target consumer is the key to a successful business. With the growing Asian population in NZ, businesses have to understand and re-strategize their plans to target this growing consumer base. Chaired by Mai Chen, this session explored and interpreted specific digital behaviour /consumption habits of the Asian consumer in NZ in the media, financial and education sectors through a panel discussion.

Key note speakers:

  • Jane Hastings, CEO of NZME will share key trends in media consumption habits of Asian consumer in NZ

  • Ziena Jalil, after 91/2 years working across Asia, Ziena will share 10 key points on using the digital platform to grow business

The key note speeches were followed by a panel discussion led by Fran O’ Sullivan, Head of Business, NZ Herald with Karna Luke, Head of Auckland Strategy – BNZ, Sonya Crosby, Chief Innovation Officer – SKYCITY, Shelly Huang, NZI/IAG and Carolyn Luey, NZME

Karna Luke who is the Head of Auckland Strategy, BNZ on what it means to have an Auckland strategy, how do you project into the market, what is top of mind for you and how are you executing to make this different market?

Karna Luke:

“Every business that is in NZ – financial institution, importer- exporter or whether you are a home builder – everyone has an Auckland strategy. And that is because it is the largest growing economic powerhouse in the country, it’s 35% of the GDP. So, in terms of Auckland, then you look at the macroeconomic factors that drive growth, population growth which we know of, some of those are quite unique in terms of changing landscape that we are faced with here in NZ and particularly Auckland, driving not only the city’s growth but regional growth as well.

And on that basis, you’ve got 60% of the total Asian population who chose to call Auckland home. And it’s their choice and some of that choice brings with it, customer needs and preferences. We’ve heard about it’s not the channel, its the content. And that’s an individual choice, it’s a family choice about how they want to live their life and what global market they want to be connected to. So, for us it makes sense to ensure that we are concentrate on the growth of Auckland and the typology of customers that are coming through. So whether it’s digital, whether it’s media or product based or financial service based, it’s actually really important. Someone said it before, it’s actually the customers driving the interface and wanting to have the information to make that decision.”

Shelly Huang who works as an external communication manager at Insurance giant, IAG on how the strategy for targeting the Asian consumer is different through the lens of this new role and insurance company?

Shelly Huang:

“In this insurance role, it’s different. I don’t think we can say we are the experts in this market because we only got a taste of what it feels like to the Chinese digital market. Right now, we are treating it as a learning space, cant really call it a strategy yet. I think we are all getting ready for it but how we do it is actually driven by the customer. All these demands are initiated by the customers and they are changing the landscape of how digital performs and we have to catch up with them. No one can say that they can have a perfect digital strategy right now as it keeps changing.

What I thought the good attitude towards it for IAG, we are at this educational pieces for engaged digital Chinese platform. So, I think we have to keep learning and have an open mind to it.”

Sonya Crosby who has moved from Fonterra to Skycity as the Chief Innovation Officer, on what is top of mind for Skycity right now and how does she look at developing the vision of this world class casino?

Sonya Crosby:

“When you look at where I came from, running global initiatives for Fonterra, Asian customer were our target, so was Asia and is still a very big focus for Fonterra. So, you need to understand the differences in the customer set when you’re selling off shore to those that chose to come and spend some time in NZ, which is where I’m looking at now at Skycity.

There are something in common like understanding behaviours and attitudes, things that matter. So, things like trusted relationships and authenticity are really key and one size doesn’t fit all. We have members and guests who are fourth generation NZer that may identify themselves within an ethnic group but actually they want to be treated as a Kiwi. And then we have new to NZ and then we also have a big tourist offering as well, we get about 7,000 Asian tourists coming into casino each week, that’s projected to be about 10,000 a week within a few years. So, there’s a lot of growth coming in and with that comes needs.

So obviously multi-language is very important but also how you provide an offering and it does come down to individuals which is where digital is fantastic since its allowing us to understand the customer through good use of data. We are able to learn and keep changing as we grow. With our high value members, we use wechat as individual groups so that our hosts are looking after specific individuals in the right way and that’s exactly what is needed and we are able to deliver that. We use mobile first philosophy, if what you use, doesn’t work on mobile then you are probably not talking to your customer. Then we were thinking about the actual delivery of the service, we cater F&B to 30 different ethnicities, so we have to really think about the food, everything from end to end becomes a journey, everything matters and so we use digital to help us get that right and to help us to support our staff in the right way.

The other part, we actually have 85 different ethnicites on our staff, out of which 25% identity themselves as Chinese and so when you think about that it’s not just our customers its our work force as well. And when you compound that through Millenials, 72% of our workforce is going to be Millenials by 2020, then we really need to think about the changing nature of diversity and how can digital support this growing group of our workforce who have grown up with digital. So, the working tools that we use today, aren’t the working tools we will use to support our service tomorrow.

Carolyn Luey, COO, NZME on what NZME is doing to target the growing Asian consumer

Carolyn Luey:

At NZME, we are audience first., we always start every initiative with consumer insights, so we ran a big Chinese consumer insights piece last year. There are quite a few interesting things in there – first one, 35 % of first generation Chinese into NZ can only speak and read Chinese and for those that have Chinese or English as second language, they prefer to interact with media in their own language.

Second, Chinese people are very mobile and digital centric, so when you look at their shopping behaviour, they are very comfortable with online. So, when we did some analysis of our Grab One customer base, we found out that we have a high penetration of the Chinese community in NZ already. Based on that insight, we launched a Chinese Grab One site and the reason we did that because we found that Chinese were very interested in deals and promotions but secondly they really wanted new experiences and places to dine, which is what Grab One is as a proposition. The other things would be you need to think hard about your creative approach to connecting with the Chinese community in NZ. QR codes would not be a common tool while adverting in NZ but when you are trying to build your wechat account in NZ, its quite important to include your QR code to your digital banner because its much easier to find you.

For the rest of the interview, watch below: