Appreciating multiculturalism and the buying power of growing minority groups around the world, Associate Professor Guilherme Pires is seeking to prove one size does not fit all when it comes to luring and securing audiences.
As Australia’s population continues to diversify, so too must models of consumer behaviour. This is the argument of Associate Professor Guilherme Pires, who concedes businesses can no longer afford to neglect some of the smaller but highly lucrative customer segments that are beginning to rival what’s become known as the ‘mainstream.’ Indeed, racially and linguistically varied groups contribute heavily to our demographic makeup, each with their own voice to be heard, volition to be valued and values to be taken into account.
“I’ve been studying ethnic marketing for the last 20 years,” he states.
“The basic idea is to understand the desires of consumer groups defined by their unique ethnicity outside of a particular nation’s majority culture.”
“I consider how marketers communicate to them as well.”
A minority himself, Guilherme arrived in this country from Portugal 35 years ago. Feeling that the resident Portuguese community was not being as well looked after as it could and perhaps should have been, the bilinguist looked to develop this fledgling research area, reconciling its theories and common practices.
“I’ve assumed a cognitive approach, which means the impetus of my work has been on examining the relevancy of ethnic groups for marketing purposes,” he explains.
“I completed my PhD in 2001 and have published a large number of articles and two books in this area, with a third on the way.”
Show them you know them
Guilherme is currently focused on weighing up the pros and cons of what he terms “aggregative practices.”
“Governments and marketers tend to aggregate minority groups because of critical mass – many are perceived to be small or not big enough to be a sole target for businesses,” he elaborates.
“To do this, they create multicultural clusters, drawing on what they theoretically have in common.”
“Hispanics and Latinos in the United States are perceived to share a language, for instance.”
Tackling the larger research problem by going after some of the narrower questions that need answering, Guilherme is incrementally adding to a vast knowledge base in this niche area of marketing.
“It’s a major interest of mine,” he comments.
“I’ve so far investigated research methodology issues, the impacts of time, income and language, acculturation issues and expatriate experiences, just to mention some aspects.”
“These efforts have culminated in the development of a three-dimensional analytical framework for ethnicity and a theory of group sustainability based on ethnic resource creation.”
Many roles, many responsibilities
Guilherme has incorporated several administrative duties into his masterful balancing act. The multiple award winner is currently head of the discipline of marketing and the Doctor of Business Administration convenor. Prior to this he was the Deputy Head of the Newcastle Business School, Director of postgraduate studies and Director of the city campus. During these roles Guilherme developed several management programs for the city campus.
“Course enrolments comprise an increasing percentage of international students, so I was accountable for creating and implementing preventative or remedial plans to address skill and socialisation gaps,” he comments.
“My Postgraduate Mentoring Program is just one example.”