February 20, 2017
By Olga Bueno
In January 2010 a friend and I met to brainstorm ideas on how we could fulfill our passion for Hispanic Marketing and Research, and make some money out of it… Seven years later, Tú Cuentas, is a well-established online community of (mainly) Spanish speaking Latinos who feel they have found a venue where their voices can be heard.
We wanted to create something unique that could not easily be replicated. But what? With time and money technology and a database of US Latinos could be replicated, but something not that easy to replicate is trust.
We started by designing a platform with the Latino consumer in mind, something not translated or adapted from another existing platform. That is why we opted to build our own proprietary platform with discussion forums, poll questions, product review walls and white-labeled private online communities from scratch. We recruited Latinos via online ads and referrals from existing members.
But a technology platform with a database of contact information of its members could easily fail unless one has a lot of money to pay its members to be active or develops trust and authenticity from the beginning. Although we reward our community members for their participation, we opted to put more resources and emphasis in developing trust.
We created a virtual community manager, Eva Cuenta, who is the “face” of Tú Cuentas. She responds every email promptly with a personalized message, she invites members to participate in research projects or to comment in discussion forums or poll questions. She makes sure everyone feels part of the community.
Furthermore, we made sure members felt we listened to them (and we actually do listen to them!) We asked members for feedback about the site or the forums they would like to see. We make them part of the community.
Why did we need to build trust?
Unlike non-Hispanics, Hispanics do not feel comfortable giving negative feedback. Because of their cultural heritage, Latinos do not want to “offend” the interviewer and tend to agree and be positive out of respect. However this agreeability disappears if the interviewer is a friend or family member. This was one of our objectives with Eva, make her approachable, so that our members felt at ease if they wanted to give us constructive / negative feedback about a product or service we’re studying.
A few examples:
Found in one of our product walls
Feedback about a model used in a print ad representing Latinas (from a copy testing survey)
Me parece que el producto se ve bien, pero la foto de la modelo no es nada espectacular, yo soy estilista y no es el mejor maquillaje; (diferente tono de base, respecto al color de su piel), el angulo de la foto es malo, se ve raro el hombro y su sonrisa es muy rara.
En la foto del aviso me hubiese gustado ver el pelo de la modelo mejor, la foto es muy comun. No se que es pero me llevo solamente a la cara y se ve que tiene un lindo pelo pero en la foto no se aprecia mucho
You can have the best technology platform, the largest database or the most insightful team of researchers, but if you haven’t worked on developing trust, it will be extremely difficult to get reliable Latino insights. And one can’t buy trust, it needs to be earned with time and dedication.
If you want to learn more about this online community of Latinos, please visit www.tucuentas.com
We’re searching for strategic partners to grow our company, please contact me at Olga@tucuentas.com if you want to learn more.