A Guest Post By Stephanie Lopez, American University Student & PR Expanded Blog Contest Winner
The Hispanic community is quickly becoming one of the most important consumer markets. According to the Pew Research Center, the Hispanic population reached 55 million in 2014 making the group 17.4 percent of the total U.S. population. The growth in the Hispanic population has had significant impact on the economy. Hispanic spending power is estimated to be over $1.5 trillion dollars. With the community’s growing influence, how can businesses target and win over Hispanic consumers?
First, it is important to recognize that marketing to Hispanics is more than just simply translating business campaigns into Spanish. The Hispanic community has many layers including sociopolitical status, generational and cultural gaps, and regional differences between countries. Therefore, to get the attention and respect of the Hispanic market, companies need to tailor every marketing campaign to a specific audience inside the community. This can be done by using the three C’s for public relations: credibility, charisma, and control. Each step plays an important part in creating a brand’s image within a population.
The first step is credibility. Credibility is important because it establishes trust and respect for any audience. To establish credibility businesses first need to know their audience and know what is important to them. Many businesses have made the mistake of creating a generalized marketing campaign for the Hispanic community, but that is a grave mistake. As with any audience there are different demographics in a population, therefore the two big factors businesses need to keep in mind about the Hispanic community are the regional and generational groups.
The Hispanic population is diverse throughout regions, so with differentiating values each will react differently to marketing campaigns. Therefore, learning about the regional differences in the Hispanic community can help companies narrow down what they should add or cut in their campaign. For example, in 2016 Corona released a “Cinco de Mayo and Tequila” commercial, which appealed to the Mexican community because it is part of their Mexican-American identity. However, it would not appeal to any other Hispanic community as not every Hispanic in the U.S. is Mexican.
Another factor to keep in mind is generational gaps. The two big groups are traditionalists and millennials. Traditionalists, tend to be older immigrants who do not speak fluent English. This group tends to value their traditional values from their home country including food, family, and media. Doing research about traditionalists’ values and the media they consumed in their home country can help narrow down what businesses can target. The second group is millennials, usually second-generation Hispanics who were born in the United States. This group has adopted many U.S. customs and have a variety of cultural factors that affect their identity and consumerism. For example, millennials prefer ads in English and want commercials that connect both with their U.S. and Hispanic identity. Having campaigns that can relate and respect both their cultures while also discussing topics that matter to any millennial.
The second step is charisma. Tapping into Hispanic’s cultural connections and familiar influencers can make credibility easier. For example, DISH Network has used Eugenio Derbez, a Mexican actor and comedian, as their spokesperson for Dish Latino. By using a familiar celebrity for many Hispanics, DISH Network established trust and appeal to an audience that may not have known about the company. Charisma can go further when focusing on the regional and generational differences in the population. Finding influencers that the audience relates to and sees often in their city or home can also cause more impact. Influencers do not necessary have famous celebrities but individuals that a community can sympathize with. Therefore, if companies use Hispanic/Latino actors to sell products they may have a better reception because that influencer resembles the audience.
Influence can also lead to controlling your audience. The last step to targeting to a Hispanic audience is control. Businesses need to know how they can reward or skew their audience. Appealing to things that are important like family values or brand loyalty can help businesses establish relatability to the audience. Creating partnerships with companies that Hispanic populations already know can make the transitions into the Hispanic market easier especially when trying to relate immigrants.
Another way to control audiences find where they are consuming media and ads. The Pew Hispanic Center found that Hispanic mobile phone owners are more likely than Anglo owners to access the internet- 40 percent vs 34 percent. Additionally, a 2014 Google Consumer Survey found Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to buy mobile apps and digital media than non-Hispanics. Thus, companies can use this research and market to Hispanics through popular apps like Facebook and What’s app.
Following the three C’s: credibility, charisma, and control will help any company get into an edge to marketing to the growing Hispanic community.
Stephanie Lopez is studying Public Relations and Spanish at American University. She is interested in Latino marketing, specifically for nonprofit and grassroots campaigns. After graduation, she hopes to work for a nonprofit communications office.