More New Zealanders are embracing Te Reo Māori as part of our culture and heritage. Therefore, businesses are seeking to adopt bilingual marketing strategies.
As marketers, we have a responsibility to approach multicultural marketing in an informed and respectful manner.
Read on to learn about ways to incorporate Māori practices in your marketing strategy, while avoiding tokenism.
Go bilingual all the time
If your business is only using Te Reo Māori in office settings (or worse!) social media posts during Māori language week, your messaging will come across as very inauthentic. This can hurt your brand’s reputation more than not participating at all.
Gradually adding Te Reo Māori to your workplace will serve to normalise its usage and subsequently foster a supportive and inclusive environment.
As a result, utilising Te Reo Māori in your marketing strategies and social media will be less tokenistic.
reomāori.co.nz provide many excellent free resources for getting started on your Te Reo Māori journey. Check out the video below to learn how to introduce yourself in te reo Māori.
Utilise Māori in your SEO Strategy
Now that your business is bilingual, your website should be too.
In 2008, the Google Māori Project completed the translation of Google into Māori. In addition to your English-speaking customer base, Google can help you reach audiences who are fluent in Te Reo.
Having a solid Māori-inclusive SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy means your website has greater potential to be served to people with Māori searcher intent.
Where possible, use bilingual terms throughout your website content, page titles, meta titles and meta descriptions.
If your website already contains Māori content, it can be worth using Google Search Console to understand if this contributes to your traffic in a meaningful way. If so, are your visitors being met with valuable content when they click through?
That being said, it is important to avoid using te reo just to get more web traffic. If you’re trying to rank for terms but lack the correct context or authority on the subject, your visitors will see right through that. This can do more harm than good.
Be mindful when doing Māori keyword research. This will ensure your site is only targeting keywords that are relevant to your business.
Work with a Māori owned marketing agency
Despite your best efforts, it is undoubtedly still incredibly difficult to know if you are getting it right or successfully avoiding tokenism.
The tips mentioned so far are a great starting point. Aim to get your business to the point where incorporating te reo into your marketing doesn’t come across as insincere if you participate in initiatives such as Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.
However, in order to make sure more complicated marketing campaigns are considerate of tikanga Māori, consulting an expert on the subject matter is recommended.
The best way to ensure your strategy remains genuine and respectful to te ao Māori is to talk to your local Iwi or reach out to a Māori owned marketing agency.
Think about what goals you want your campaign to achieve, and ideas you would like to implement in future campaigns. With this purpose in mind, discuss and create an action plan with your chosen professional.
Check out some of these Māori owned marketing agencies
Bonus Tip: Take a free course in Te Reo Māori
As has been noted previously, reomāori.co.nz contains a treasure trove of information for those wanting to begin learning Māori. It even has a database of locations offering te reo Māori courses which can be filtered by location, difficulty, prince and more.
Learning te reo is a great way to gain a greater understanding of Māori culture and perspectives and improve your knowledge about Māori in general. Not to mention, it looks great on a resume and can come in handy at networking events. Check out those organised by the Nesian Network.