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After a standstill in Hispanic consumer research, companies are rediscovering the financial value not only in targeting but understanding the United States’ Hispanic audience.
By analyzing the culture’s value for family, respect, relationships, language, and humor this paper examines how six campaigns successfully utilize target marketing. These cultural themes are referred to as “appeals,” which due to cultural values, are predicted to generate engagement and the respect of Hispanic audiences. By looking at major campaigns, which apply these appeals, this paper will discuss their effectiveness to market to this culture, along more specific Hispanic demographics: the Foreign Born, U.S. Born, and Millennial Hispanic. These campaigns include Honda’s “Un Buen Hit,” AT&T’s “Between Two Worlds,” and McDonald’s “Me Encanta,” State Farm’s “Running,” Wendy’s “Negocio de la Familia,” and Target’s “#SinTraducción” campaigns. This research utilizes a content analysis to demonstrate how campaigns targeted towards this powerful demographic are complex and require a great deal of empathy.
According to Statista, the buying power of Hispanic consumers in the United States will reach 1.7 trillion dollars by 2017. This is in comparison to the 1 trillion dollars Hispanics spent in the retail and consumer packaged goods market in 2010 (2016). As this population exponentially grows, organizations are finding it difficult to keep up, and most importantly understand this demographic. The Census Bureau found that Hispanics are now the largest and fastest growing minority group in the nation (2015). The rapid growth of this desirable Latino population will have major implications on how markets sell brands. Although the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” can refer to different cultural groups, the two terms will be used interchangeably for the purpose of this paper.
Hispanic population growth in the U.S. has yielded ever changing consequences. To begin marketing to the Hispanic population, an organization must truly understand its audience and their behaviors. Due to Latinos’ deep rooted culture, throughout all generations, marketers cannot assume they have surrendered their background to the American melting pot as other cultures have done in the past. The Hispanic population’s distinct consumer behaviors are reflected in the sustainability of the unique language and values, which have begun to influence American culture. This research will focus on understanding specific Hispanic demographics while studying the values that make up this large and diverse population.
The topics in this report draw on the implication that Hispanic audiences are more likely to engage with brands which properly appeal to certain cultural values, specifically within the United States born, Foreign born and Millennial Hispanic segments. In this paper, target marketing strategies are studied using five values the general Hispanic culture emphasises: family, respect, relationships, language and humor. Using a content analysis, this research will evaluate how agencies and marketers are utilizing these five appeals to target Hispanic consumers.
By studying the content of notoriously successful campaigns, which have utilized these five appeals, this paper discusses marketing implications for future strategic campaigns targeting these three Hispanic segments. Using market and cultural research pertaining to these buyers, this research examines if and how marketers can successfully engage, influence, and predict Hispanics’ in the United States consumer behaviors.
Using prior research available about the Hispanic market, consumer behaviors, and target marketing, this section will discuss the importance of this demographic and how this information should be applied to communication strategies. Although much of the information gathered about the Hispanic population in the United States has been generalized across this large and diverse demographic, this research aims to develop specific insights about Foreign Born, U.S Born, and Millennial Hispanic buyers.
The Hispanic Market The United States Hispanic population is the largest minority segment, and will continue to grow even if immigration is completely halted. As of 2004, U.S Hispanic purchasing power reflected an annual growth rate of 7.7% (Jensen-Campbell 4). Nielsen provides “The Hispanic Market Imperative” report which explains the significance of the Hispanic market through research and insights into successful marketing opportunities for the future. Nielsen’s compelling evidence suggests that the Hispanic demographic is the largest immigrant group to reveal “significant culture sustainability and are not disappearing into the American melting pot” (7). Despite past misconceptions, Hispanics have developed a significant buying power which marketers cannot ignore. The Hispanic market’s size, growing clout, and buying power substantially increased from $1 trillion in 2010 to $1.5 trillion in 2015 (Nielsen 2). From 2010 to 2050, Hispanics are expected to grow 167%, compared to 42% for the rest of the population (Nielsen 4).
Along with their rapid growth in size, Hispanic “youth, educational advances, and increasing spending capacity” strongly suggest a future of preeminent drivers of growth and trend setter consumers (Nielsen 15). Although the Hispanic culture may evolve, advances in technology, social networking, exchange of goods, acculturation, and new culture generation imply that this passionate culture will never go away. Nielsen’s report of census data in 2011 shows that when asked their child’s ethnicity, 72% of intermarried parents (one Hispanic and the other non-Hispanic) declared their children as Hispanic, in comparison to 35% of parents who did so in 1991 (7). Due to unique and sustainable characteristics, Nielsen suggests a future American culture “with a strong Hispanic flavor” (15).
The Hispanic Consumer Hispanics’ strong self-image, affirms the potential for their culture to endure as “a distinctive piece of the American mosaic” (Ethnifacts 1). Many sources claim that the Hispanic buyer is unique in many different ways, in comparison to the general population. “Across all retail channels, Hispanics tend to shop less often, but spend more per trip, and are less likely to buy products at promotional prices” (Nielsen 11). Data also shows that Hispanic consumers have different consumption growth rates. Nielsen’s report shows that Hispanics substantially surpass the total market in Hispanic use categories such as baby products, hair care, and toiletries. This insight on the Hispanic consumer demonstrates highly personal and meaningful categories, where it is crucial for marketers to understand Hispanics’ unique consumption patterns. Nielsen found that in these major categories, name brand and brand loyalty are especially important, but generally speaking, Hispanics are just as likely to buy name brands as the general market (12).
When comparing the Hispanic and Anglo consumers, which make up a majority of the United States’ buying power, unique values and behavioral patterns stand out between the two groups. Hispanic consumers tend to be more likely to conform, and to be influenced more by their family compared to the more individualistic Anglo consumer (Bristow and Asquith 186). Unlike other consumers, Hispanic consumers are more concerned with prices, value, and quality of products, rather than packaging, advertisements or trends. Bristow and Asquith’s research gives insight into the highly debated aspect of Hispanic brand loyalty in comparison to Anglo cultural groups (186). Based off of the research’s relationship between brand name and social status, combined with the Hispanic consumer’s tendency to be concerned with social status which come from products, the author’s research shows that “Hispanic consumers would attach more importance to the brand names of products than would Anglo consumers” (Bristow and Asquith 196). Their study found evidence which supports that Hispanics attach significantly more importance to different product attributions than Anglo consumers. Therefore, this research suggests that marketers must first identify products and service attributes that Hispanic consumers find most valuable.
As technology advances it is also useful to study where and how Hispanics are consuming their information online. Compared to other ethnic groups in America, Hispanics are entering the internet world much more quickly. According to a study done by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, half of all Hispanic internet users predominantly speak Spanish more than English, which can be attributed to their family-oriented lifestyle. This study also found that the typical Hispanic in the United States spends about five and a half hours online weekly and 60% use that time to get news, 54% to listen to music, and 43% to chat. According to a study done in 2004 by AOL/Roper ASW, 14 million Hispanics were online with an impressive growth rate (Jensen-Campbell 3). This implies that the more Hispanics connect online, the less time they spend with their native media outlets. This shift should also be reflected in marketers advertising budgets (Jensen-Campbell 3).
As stated in Jensen-Campbell’s paper about the Hispanic consumer, targeting the multicultural market is now less about race and ethnicity, and more about education, income, home ownership, age and lifestyles. A common mistake marketers make when targeting Hispanics is treating U.S. Hispanics as homogenous (Jensen-Campbell 2).
The Foreign Born Hispanic In general Hispanics born in their native country have minimal interest in mainstream American culture (Jensen-Campbell 3). Gretchen Livingston’s research from 2010, “The Latino Digital Divide: The native born versus the foreign born,” found that about half of foreign born go online, while 85% of U.S. born Latinos do so (4). 72% of Latinos born outside of the United States use a cell phone, while 80% of U.S born Latinos do (Livingston 2). In general, Latinos have historically lagged behind non-Latinos in cell phone and internet use. It is important to note that age is inversely related to cell phone and internet use, therefore the younger Hispanic demographic is a main percentage of this usage (Livingston 7).
The U.S. Born Hispanic Second-generation Hispanic Americans have been significantly affected by American culture and vary substantially in consumer behavior than the foreign born Hispanic (Jensen- Campbell 3). Even if Hispanic migration were to halt, this demographic would continue to accelerate due to cultural tendencies to have more children, many of the offspring of foreign born Hispanics are now in childbearing age, and lately this population is younger overall (Valdes 58). Jensen-Campbell suggests that these Hispanics are much more acculturated, “and want to replace, or already have replaced, their Hispanic identity with a more mainstream American identity” (Campbell 3). Where a Hispanic is born and the length of their residence in the United States will continue to have a major impact on marketing programs, according to Valdes (58).
The Millennial Hispanic On average, Hispanics are much younger than the non-Hispanic; in 2001 more than 35% of Hispanics were younger than 18 compared to 24% of non-Hispanics (Jensen- Campbell 3). In Jensen- Campbell’s paper, he refers to the millennial Hispanic as a “hipper Hispanic target,” mostly native-born, and whose consumer behaviors differ from the older, immigrant Hispanic. They learned to speak Spanish at home because that is what their families speak, but feel more comfortable reading and writing in English because this is what they learned in school and from their peers (Jensen-Campbell 3). This segment speaks English fluently and is more likely to understand mainstream American culture and have similar purchasing patterns to Americans and other non-Hispanics (3).
Target Marketing towards Hispanics Marketing dollars have increasingly become aimed towards U.S. Hispanics while the overall ad market has slowed down (Jensen-Campbell 4). According to Jensen-Campbell, companies such as Procter & Gamble, General Motors, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have continually increased the amount they spend on targeting this market, which is becoming more desirable (4).
Mintel gives us an insight into Hispanics’ general attitudes towards advertising in order to market better to this unique demographic. Ads that are on the internet are more often ignored by English dominant Hispanics, while in comparison; Spanish dominant Hispanics are less likely to ignore these ads (Menke 2013). Compared to white consumers, Hispanics say they are more likely to make purchase decisions on advertising and expect ads to be entertaining and informative (Menke 2013). Another study based on attitudes towards advertising, by race and ethnicity in 2013; found that Hispanics are more receptive to television ads than are white consumers (Menke 2013). Although 37% of Hispanic women believe it is wrong to market directly to children, they do rely on advertisements to decide what products to purchase for their children (Menke 2013). According to Mintel’s data, Hispanic consumers are less likely to enjoy humor in advertisements, than other consumer groups (Menke 2013).
In 1999 researchers Holland and Gentry , found that when people wanted approval their speech patterns tended to become more similar to the other party’s (68). Originally, marketers thought the best way to reach this market was to advertise to them in Spanish. As market knowledge has increased, it is clear that this is an oversimplification of the target market (Ueltchy and Krampf “The Influence of Acculturation …”). Advertisers and marketers should combine language and value models in order to effectively communicate. In regards to language, Hispanics must be able to recognize the purposeful use of Spanish in advertisements as an indicator of the advertiser’s respect for the culture, along with a desire to break down cultural barriers through “reduction of linguistic dissimilarities” (Koslow, Shamdasni, Touchstone 576). Ueltchy et. al. claim that, typically, the Hispanic demographic tends to remain loyal to their native language, regardless of how long they have lived in the United States. This can be attributed to its direct and positive connection to the family and the home. According to a study done by Ueltchy et. al., Spanish- dominant Hispanics pay more attention to advertisements in Spanish, recall more, prefers advertisements and is able to process more information in Spanish (“The Influence of Acculturation …”).
Implications Gentry and Holland claim that the use of cultural symbols to reach Hispanic consumers has been generally well received by this audience (70). Organizations must be aware that a blatant attempt to appear similar to a Hispanic audience or to embrace values associated with a particular group may negate intended results. (Koslow, et. al. 576).
Marketers need to know what demographics and geographics they want to target, similar to a general campaign. When marketing online, marketers must factor: Language translation, cultural adaptation, and have a deep understanding of the Hispanic marketplace (5). Markets must keep in mind that it is best to contain no cultural references, if targeting Hispanics from more than one culture. Jensen-Campbell suggests that marketers should get to know their Hispanic demographic in their target markets- trends, interests, average income, employment, how they use media, etc. (5).
Valdes suggests a practical and inexpensive tool for marketers that provides insights into the differences between foreign born and the native born Hispanic consumer (60). Any basic research should gather data on 1) country of birth, 2) age upon arrival, 3) length of residency, 4) generational background, in order to study the consumer’s relationship with your brand or service (Valdes 60).
Jensen-Campbell’s paper looks at the Hispanic travel market; as the Hispanic population grows, so does their amount of travel (4). “Outpacing other minorities and growing ten times the overall rate for the traveling population as a whole” (Jensen-Campbell 4). Hispanics want to learn about other cultures, are taking more trips, and have the money to spend. As the begin traveling more and farther, “to broaden their horizon,” airlines, hotels, convention and visitor bureaus are catching on (Jensen-Campbell 4).
Overall, Hispanics are very family-oriented, therefore communication strategies with family themes are found to have a strong appeal. While being culturally sensitive, Jensen-Campbell recommends using “endearing humor and laughter” and avoiding stereotypical and offensive strategies. Due to a variety of Hispanic identities and images, translations should be generalized and not skew to a specific ethnicity (Jensen-Campbell 5). If a marketer’s target demographic is older/ immigrant Hispanics, an option to view a website in Spanish should be included, providing the most general translated message in order to not offend any specific group (Jensen-Campbell 5).
Once marketers understand the potential relationships among the constructs involved in the consumer’s responses, marketers can begin to predict the likely outcomes of the targeting attempt. The purpose of this research is to use Foreign born, U.S. born, and Millennial Hispanic market and consumer information, along with cultural values, to discover successful target marketing strategies. This information can be used to develop target marketing campaigns which earns the respect and engagement of this large audience.
By studying notoriously successful campaigns’ content, which have utilized these five appeals, this paper develops marketing implications for future strategic campaigns targeting these three Hispanic segments. Using market and cultural research about these buyers, this research examines if and how marketers can successfully engage, influence, and predict Hispanics in the United States consumer behaviors.
Through primary and secondary research, five main appeals were looked at in order to observe how popular campaigns have targeted their Hispanic audiences. These appeals were chosen based on patterns found in notable marketing campaigns towards Hispanics, along with cultural insights drawn from general Hispanic values in comparison to Americans.
After defining these values, campaigns which reflected these characteristics were analyzed. Content was chosen and analyzed based on targeted communications campaigns which have received notable recognition for connecting with the Hispanic audience. Using credible news articles, along with campaigns nominated for awards, six campaigns were chosen to be analyzed. These campaigns reflect a variety of industries, themes, and platforms. Although financial reports after each campaign are not discussed, their success is based on the overall success of each company and their marketing agency.
A content analysis was executed to examine how each campaign effectively used Hispanic values to appeal to their audience. By classifying which campaigns used which appeals, an analysis of how these appeals were applied to specific Hispanic demographics: Foreign Born Hispanics, U.S. Born Hispanics, and Millennial Hispanics. Using primary research and data about Hispanics’ consumer behaviors and attitudes, this paper is able to understand this target audience, and then predict how these campaigns were perceived. Lastly, using the content analysis of each campaign, implications for future marketing initiatives towards Hispanics were given.
Family: This theme was chosen because Hispanics come from a collectivistic culture where group activities are highly valued more than individual responsibilities (Shwartz 2). For Hispanics living in the United States, extended and close family and friends contribute to the cultures collectivist attitude. Although they tend to be highly group-oriented, giving trust to outsiders comes slowly. Decisions and behaviors are based on what is best for the family, after consulting family members. These strong family values can be attributed to a collectivist culture, along with a United States’ Hispanics reliance on family when moving away from their native country to America.
Respect: Interpersonal communications tells us that power distance is used to compare the extent which less powerful members of a society accept that power is distributed unevenly. Hispanics’ value for respect of people of status varies from that of the American culture’s. This is reflected in the hierarchy of members in a family. Typically, hispanics value a traditional patriarchal structure which grants the father or oldest male power, especially over woman (Shwartz 2). Despite this, Hispanic women are responsible for all things that relate to the household, therefore 80% of all purchase decisions are made by women (Ramirez “How to Appeal to Hispanic Mothers”).
Relationship Oriented: In comparison with the American culture, Hispanics are less task-oriented and more relationship oriented. Hispanics are in no hurry to make decisions, and value a more personal connection. Therefore, examining the cultural context of your communication message will lead to a better relationship with your Hispanic audience.
Language: Although marketers have discovered that simply adapting and translating one’s campaign into Spanish is not nearly enough to engage this demographic, Spanish is still highly valued by Hispanics. This is a very important theme because incorrect usage of language can lead an unfavorable view of a brand. As primary research indicated, most Hispanics do not necessarily value Spanish more, but may retain this information better.
Humor: This is a method of communicating which can be misinterpreted across cultures if not used correctly or without adequate research. Jensen-Campbell suggests using “endearing humor and laughter” while being sensitive when communicating with Hispanics through advertisements or other campaigns (Jensen-Campbell 5).
In 2015, Honda used its longtime Hispanic agency Orci to develop its “Un Buen Fit” (A Good Fit) campaign targeting Millennial Hispanic consumers. On average, Millennial Hispanics make up the majority of the United State’s Hispanic population (Jensen-Campbell 3). In 2006 the median age of the Hispanic population was 27.5 years, compared to America’s population at 36.9 (Shwartz 2). Therefore, a large number of young Hispanics are starting families and buying their first cars. Jensen-Campbell also refers to this demographic as hipper and more environmentally friendly, making the Honda Fit a great choice for Millennial Hispanic buyers (2).
The campaign connects with its audiences by poking fun at typical Hispanic advertisements. The ad focuses on the reality that young hispanics grocery shop, go to the movies, and commute to work just like everyone else. The advertisement, which aired in Spanish and English, uses humor to engage this audience with a creative and clever campaign. Honda’s campaign demonstrates an understanding and empathy for their audience by using humorous “inside jokes” that all Hispanics living in the United States can relate to. The campaign is able to connect on a personal level with its audience, while informing the consumer on features about the vehicle and how it is a “good fit” for their lives.
The campaign uses up-and-coming Mexican comedian Felipe Esparza, digital and social media components to further connect with this demographic through their language. Using a bilingual comedian and airing the commercial on both Spanish media and English/general channels further exemplifies this unique target audience. Esparza, along with Honda, have utilized social channels to reach their target audience in an entertaining way (Greenberg 2014). Honda’s clever and billegiull hashtag also incorporates their message in a seamless manner.
As Nielsen’s data suggest, Hispanics not only consider themselves bilingual but bicultural, and have no intention of leaving their native culture behind (Nielsen 7). AT&T’s campaign focuses on the lives of acculturated Hispanics who identify with both mainstream American culture and their native background. This campaign particularly targets digitally- savvy millennials and U.S. born Hispanics who can relate to “thinking in both languages” and communicating with relatives from their native country.
This second generation of Hispanics reflect a future American culture “with a strong hispanic flavor”(Nielsen 15). Their unique identity allows them to be part of “both worlds,” as this generation reflects a bigger acceptance to their native origins. The campaign’s clever use of “spanglish” uses language in a different way to connect with this audience, along with communicating consistently in “spanglish” across social media platforms.
Along with young Hispanics efforts to hold on to their cultures, this demographic aims to stay connected with family through communication. AT&T appeals to this group by understanding how keeping contact with close family and friends may be difficult, but through their technology they can lives a more integrated live “between two worlds.” A value for family and group-work, suggests that appealing to this audience’s need to communicate with family asa successfully strategy. Not having to choose between these two worlds also reflects an accepting and culturally aware image for AT&T.
McDonald’s Spanish Twitter page also reflects appeals to the Spanish language along with being a great platform for building a relationship with their consumer. The account, @MeEncanta, was introduced in 2011 as a Spanglish based account in order to interact with fans through music, sports and education which interest Hispanic audiences.
Like the AT&T campaign, McDonald’s uses the unique language of “spanglish” to better connect an audience that represents duality, rather than one culture. As this demographic continues to hold on to their roots and refuse total integration into the American culture, appealing to this pride in their unique identity may continue to be company’s best option.
The Twitter handle not only uses translation to appeal to consumers, but form a deeper understanding and appreciation for the culture. As mentioned earlier, Hispanic cultures are typically more concentrated on getting to know the people and brands they engage with. In the international business world individuals see this in meetings and other business settings, where Hispanics prefer to get to know the business people they will be working with before jumping into business. The account focuses on McDonald’s promotions, but primarily connects with its audience on a deeper level which reflects their interests.
As mentioned earlier, a large part of this demographic is on track to begin a family, an appeal Hispanics value vary highly. State Farm’s “Running” commercial portrays a young father running, ignoring everything else surrounding him, in order to make it in time to see his child being born. Using emotion, the commercial shows how preparing for a baby can lead to many accidents, which State Farm deals with so you do not have to.
This commercial has little dialogue, the message speaks for itself, but was aired in both Spanish and English. Despite the language or ethnicity the message resonates with young adults, specifically those looking for insurance as they begin a family.
Using a young, future head of the family in distress and excitement to meet his future child, the commercial targets appeals of family values and slight family hierarchy. A creative use of emotion and practicality is able to appeal to audiences value for family.
While Hispanic incomes levels are increasing, their median income is still lower than the United States’ average, Hispanics are an important demographic for fast food restaurants (Schwartz 2). “Negocio de la Familia,” meaning “family business”, was Wendy’s campaign for promoting their Tuscan chicken sandwich. The commercial alludes to the “God Father” as the father sits at the head of the table, while the children sit around in anticipation of what their father will think of the sandwich.
Wendy’s often portrays families throughout their campaigns targeted towards Hispanics. Meal time is highly associated and valued in relation to family time. Dinner time is a time reserved for families to come together and share moments from their day, therefore showing families sharing meals in their commercials is an effective way to connect to Hispanics.
The commercial reflects the family hiercharchy common in Hispanic homes, with the father at the head of table intimidating his children. This appeals to a value of respect seen in Hispanic homes. Although this teasing towards Hispanic family’s hierarchy can be offensive, at the end of the commercial the mother flips on the lights in disatisfaction that the father is trying to “handle family business.” Historically, women in Hispanic households make the decisions for the family, therefore poking fun at the hierarchy is acceptable in the commercial (Ramirez “How to Appeal to Hispanic Mothers).
Unlike many campaigns focused on targeting Hispanics, Target’s “Sin Traduccion” campaign focuses on the unique moments to the Spanish culture that simply “does not translate.” Two of the main commercials looked at were “Sobremesa”(the special time spent with family after dinner) and “Arrullo” (the right ambience to put a baby to sleep), which aim to form a deeper connection with their Hispanic audiences through truly understanding the culture.
In the past campaigns simply focused on translating messages to Spanish, while this campaign aims to connect with Hispanics on things they value by showing them Target understands their culture is not only based on the Spanish language. This creative campaign takes a respect for the culture to a new and deeper level through empathy and an appeal to language, family and relationships.
Although the commercials are in English, they focus on the unique words of the Spanish culture. The words and moments they choose to represent also appeal to special memories based around family-time and relationships. Target has clearly researched and gotten to know their audience in order to build a deep relationship that Hispanic consumers can appreciate.
The Hispanic market’s substantial growth indicates a need for a deeper understanding of the demographic. According to Nielson’s data “evidence for the distinctiveness and sustainability of Hispanic culture is convincing and implies a future American culture with a strong Hispanic flavor” (Neilson 8). Marketers must capitalize on the cultural duality, or connection to both American and Hispanic intertwined heritage.
In conclusion, marketers can utilize this information to better understand how their Hispanic audience engages with their content and better predict consumer behavior. These insights and data give marketers a deeper look into this coveted and unique consumer group. Through the studying Hispanics behaviors, cultures and past campaigns, this paper aims to develop insights into how marketers can communicate and connect with this increasingly influential demographic. This research supports the idea that effective communication with U.S. born, for
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