Written by Paula Bendfeldt- Diaz
This past week, 1,500 Latino bloggers, journalists, marketing professionals, entertainment figures and innovators came together in Miami to attend the 5th annual Hispanicize conference. Created by Latino influencers and founded by Manny Ruiz who envisioned it as a “Hispanicized” version of South by Southwest.
The energy and passion could be felt everywhere as the Hispanic community came together in a city that gets Latinos and understands Spanglish. By now, most of us are aware of the numbers and know that the Hispanic market, with a buying power projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, is significant but few realize how powerful the Latino influence really is. For those brands and agencies that have caught on, Hispanicize served as the perfect place to connect with those influencers. For both influencers and marketers, Hispanicize provided a wealth of information about the Latino market and how to connect with it. Numerous examples were presented on how successful marketing decisions are being led by the Hispanic market.
For Latinos sharing comes naturally: As a Latina I have always shared, los Hispanos queremos compartir, and sharing has only gotten easier thanks to technology. Latinos are using social media to share more than any other segment, including branded content! The key for companies is to understand that we share things that we find valuable and identify with and that Latinos’ behavior online is a reflection of their behavior offline. Something that we have come to realize through Collective Bias’s new division, ColectivaLatina, is that for Latino influencers, sharing branded content is easy as long as the brand understands that the messaging needs to be culturally relevant.
Latinos are changing America: Not only are Hispanics over-indexing in mobile, they are also early adopters of technology. However, the Latino influence is not just about technology, we are simultaneously changing America’s color and flavor. From influencing shopping trends and the American palate, to playing a major part in the 2012 presidential elections, the Latino influence is strong. “Latinos are opening palates to hotter and more nuanced flavors and traditions and influencing the New American food dynamics,” says cultural researcher and curator Barbie M. Casasus.
Latinos are empowered: At panel after panel, the same sentiment was shared both by marketers and influencers: Latinos are leading the way. What was even more interesting to see and feel during Hispanicize was that Latinos are becoming aware of how powerful that influence makes us. “Technology can democratize social innovation to diversify and ignite big ideas that can change the world,” said Eliana Murillo, Head of Multicultural marketing at Google. Latinos’ empowerment has evolved and we know it. We feel a social responsibility, which was made even clearer by trailblazers like Maria Hinojosa, Joany Sanchez and Carlos Vives, whom all received Latinovator Awards during Hispanicize.
Latino Millennials are the new generation: 65 percent of all U.S. Hispanics are Millennials, making up 21 percent of the entire Millennial population. In key markets like Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, New York and Chicago, they represent 25 to 50 percent of all Millennials. Latino Millennials are flexing their influence by driving family decisions regarding everything from healthier food choices to technology. Marketers are looking to Hispanic Millennials to see what marketing will look like in the coming years.
The Total Market approach: For marketers targeting Hispanics, the notion of the “total market” approach is one of the most important developments in multicultural marketing (a concept that is still causing some confusion). Instead of targeting particular ethnic consumers, companies are focusing on strategies that will appeal to a multicultural nation, driving relevance across all of the segments without alienating anybody. During the Total Market Debate panel at Hispanicize, Nydia Sahagun, the Senior Manager of Storewide Marketing/Multicultural at Target, shared why this approach is increasing among advertisers. “The general market is now the multicultural market. Everyone needs to be a multicultural marketer because that is today’s reality,” Sahagun said. “Cross cultural also still exists and this helps you. The important thing is to let the data and insights guide you to your objectives. The key is understanding the product and the category you are working in,” she added.
ColectivaLatina, a Latino influencer community powered by Collective Bias, is providing that multicultural approach for brands. Launched during the Hispanicize conference, it was received with excitement by the Latino blogger community because, unlike other blogger networks, it lets Latinas participate in both campaigns where the messaging focuses on the Hispanic culture and also in general campaigns they can “hispanicize” by adding their own flavor and nuances. ColectivaLatina understands that while the total market approach can be efficient for both brands and agencies, in many cases, a more culturally relevant approach is required to drive deep relevance.