Toronto Global’s client, MIKADO International, is a multicultural award-winning, minority and women-led global marketing and advertising agency, striving toward the goal of creating a more connected world. Recognizing the intricacies of identity in an increasingly international community, MIKADO’s focus is on catering to underserved and fragmented cultural and/or religious communities.
Originally based out of Denver, Colorado in the U.S., MIKADO International has since expanded to Toronto, Canada, as well as Marseille, France. Led by its CEO, Sandrine Vohra, the team is comprised of global citizens who are each defined by uniquely rich tapestries of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We sat down with Sandrine to talk about MIKADO’s expansion to the Toronto Region and how multicultural marketing is key to representing the faces of the future.
Q: Can you tell us more about MIKADO International?
We are a full-service advertising and marketing agency with three main pillars of excellence: data and insights-driven strategy, creative, and execution. I believe our strength and expertise in these areas comes from our diversity. Our mission is to help brands increase authenticity and return on investment, envision and deliver successful campaigns, and embrace cultural diversity in their communication.
It all started 12 years ago. At the time, Vikas Arora (Chief Growth Officer, MIKADO International) and I were both professionals in the corporate world. We saw a gap in the market – the new face of the U.S. consumer was already very diverse. Apart from defining multicultural marketing through an African American and Hispanic lens, brands were struggling to customize their marketing effectively to other segments due to a lack of data and availability of agencies specializing in understanding the intricacies of these underserved markets.
We decided to fill this gap, spearheading the multicultural marketing segment in the U.S. with dreams of expanding internationally, and MIKADO was born. Since our inception, we’ve seen great success, crafting over 1,100 multicultural campaigns across multiple continents, racking up over numerous awards and accolades along the way.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
Our work in the Toronto Region is just getting started, and we’re looking forward to growing our client base here. We plan to further establish our agency and gain recognition throughout Canada and France where we have crafted frameworks to ensure we cover the universal and unique intricacies of each segment we touch.
We have a foundation of experience in the two fastest growing consumer segments – South and East Asian communities. Other segments, like the Hispanic, 2SLGBTQ+, African American, and Halal and Muslim segments, have further accelerated our growing client base. We have also built out our network of partner agencies, our preferred model to operate regionally, to ensure that we always have an on-ground presence. This structure is one that we plan to expand into more markets with and currently have our sights set on the Middle East and Australia.
Q: What makes MIKADO unique?
MIKADO’s team and culture is the foundation for our work and our approach to multicultural segmentation. With people of diverse nationalities and languages, ethnic backgrounds, and business experience, our team is united by a passion for inclusivity.
Our unique selling proposition is grounded in our mission to cater to all ethnicities. By leveraging data analysis and ethnocentric research, we develop brand campaigns with out-of-the-box thinking, identifying universal themes that access consumers across segments and applying a unique prism that resonates with a particular ethnic market. Our extensive research and insights have helped brands understand ethnic communities and market to them successfully. Further, our relationship-driven approach to in-community brand engagement activities has helped foster loyalty and propel brand growth.
Q: Why did MIKADO choose the Toronto Region?
Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world – the perfect place for our agency to replicate our approach to multicultural marketing, contributing to an extremely diverse ecosystem.
After several years in the U.S. focusing on the Asian American community and recognizing the need to bring a more balanced approach to the fast-growing South Asian and East Asian segments, we found great success integrating brands within those segments for our clients. We were given the opportunity to participate in an RFP for a well-known Consumer Packaged Goods client in the Canadian market and jumped at the chance to bring our expertise to the region. Since then, we’ve never looked back!
Q: How has Toronto Global supported your business?
As we all know, the pandemic has changed the business landscape worldwide. Even though we opened our Toronto offices a few weeks before the pandemic hit, we have been developing our business rapidly in the Toronto Region. In fact, in our very first campaign in the market, we won the Canadian Marketing Award, the most prestigious award in the Canadian marketing industry and an honour very few foreign agencies have received.
More recently, Toronto Global has supported our journey by introducing us to different organizations and key professionals in the region. Thanks to Toronto Global, we can focus on creating brand experiences for the vibrant and diverse Toronto community.
If you’re interested in learning more about how MIKADO International interprets brands while bridging cultures, check out their work.