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Cultural Club

Use ethnic holidays to attract new customers.

For Theresa Ortega, the December holidays aren't nearly as exciting as Chinese New Year or Confucius' birthday. Her Terre Haute, Indiana, martial arts and boxing supply shop, Kamikaze Karate, celebrates Asian holidays to teach customers about the culture of martial arts. "It gives us visibility," explains Ortega, 47. "We're out in the community promoting the culture of our business."

Cultural holidays can also target consumers of various religions, races and ethnicities, says Givi Topchishvili, president of multicultural marketing firm Global Advertising Strategies. This can be a critical relationship-building tool in multicultural communities. His tips for integrating multicultural holidays into your business:

  • Know your holidays. Some holidays are celebratory and some are somber. Topchishvili says it's imperative to know the audience you're targeting and whether your message is in line with the holiday you select.
  • Get it right. "Make sure any in-language posters are [translated] right. Get your symbols right," says Topchishvili. Improperly used symbols or words can be offensive.
  • Be consistent. Topchishvili says that creating a cultural bond with customers takes more than a gratuitous holiday celebration. Be consistent in your outreach, and the multicultural markets you target will become loyal customers..

Gwen Moran is co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans.

This story appears in the September 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »