So, what do these changes ultimately mean for business leaders, employers and brands seeking to engage our communities during Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month?
There is no magic formula for reaching the entire AANHPI community
More than ever, marketing leaders must abandon the idea that we can be boxed into a monolithic category. We are overwhelmingly diverse, representing 30 countries and ethnic groups that speak more than 100 different languages. In other words, our lived experiences are so varied they simply cannot be quantified or reduced to marketing data points. The monolithic labeling of “Asian American” often fails to capture these nuances and it’s critical for brands to address these distinctions whenever possible.
Get creative and harness the power of story
Inclusive and culturally informed storytelling is not a unique marketing concept—perhaps a cliché, but a fundamental one worth calling out. Good stories get people to pay attention and great stories build emotional resonance regardless of audience or demographic. To effectively appeal to us, the first step starts with recognizing our multifaceted and multidimensional identities. This is of paramount importance, particularly as the U.S. population continues to diversify.
Consider the fact that other than surface-level issues such as tokenism and the model minority myth, there are still millions of stories about our communities that deserve to be told. Challenge the status quo. Tap into our complexities. Dig deeper. Build nuanced, empathetic stories that acknowledge our cultural backgrounds but emphasize our shared humanity and make us feel understood. It requires a delicate balance, but it can be done.
Bridge the gap between Gen Z and older AANHPI generations
Grasp what it really means to be an AANHPI person today. Gen Z AANHPI already understand the idea of resilience and community just as much as their parents and elders, and there’s much more common ground than meets the eye despite age differences. To that end, threading together the intergenerational evolution is key. What’s changed? Who are the iconoclasts who have altered the trajectory of our community—such as Jenny Shimizu, Margaret Cho, or Wayne Wang—for the better?
We all need to know them, celebrate them and thank them. Because without their contributions (and so many more from others), our community would not be able to reap the successes we’re seeing today.