Earlier this month, my new friend Skot Welch kindly invited me to chat with him and Rick Wilson on their program, Radio in Black and White, which airs on WPRR Public Reality Radio... Had a great talk with them. Here's a link to it:
Last week, I participated at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Miami (#SMSS 2012). I was invited to discuss the challenges of engaging bicultural Latinos via social media. The following is a quick recap of the key insights shared.
The whole concept of my presentation was based on understanding the nature and mindset of bicultural Latinos. Or, as I call them, cultural chameleons. I covered the Latina side in my previous column, but today I'm talking about the whole bicultural population.
This segment represents a double opportunity for marketers:
Biculturalism is becoming the new norm: more than 70 percent of U.S. Latinos are bicultural Social media has truly embraced social media: 97 percent usage among online Latinos
Social Media and the Adaptive Nature of Latinos
We often hear that Latinos don't live in two worlds. That's not necessarily true: their habitat is the U.S.; they are no longer in Latin America. Their mindset, though, might be a combination of two worlds or cultures. It's a complex reality where the American and Latino cultures coexist in a sometimes chaotic or sometimes more balanced ambivalence. Their ability and flexibility to adapt to different contexts and occasions has allowed them to solve that tension in a truly chameleon style.
Social media is enabling Latinos to express their full color spectrum. That's why Latinos are embracing social media, over-indexing both in use and engagement. Latino-specific social communities allow them to connect with other Latinos to discuss their specific interests in a more open and unfiltered fashion. They also like to interact with mainstream social communities: Latinos are part of that mainstream. They simply behave differently and search for other interests and content that they interact with on Latino social communities.
Marketers Need to Adapt in Social Media Too
Brands and marketers need to understand this changing and adaptive behavior. They need to follow the same flexible approach.
My recommendation is that brands have a Latino-specific social media platform in order to engage with all colors of this Latino chameleon. A Latino social media platform shouldn't be a different habitat that isolates Latinos but rather an open space where Latinos can interact - in both Spanish and English - with other Latinos. It should enable them to engage with content they love, the Latino way.
A Latino social media strategy should complement your mainstream one. Depending on the need and topic, consumers will interact with one or the other: that's their true adaptive nature. The following is an example of how Latinos behave differently depending on the interest.
Latinos, through their more diverse culture, are heavily influencing other segments. In that direction, a Latino social media platform can be very effective to influence a broader audience too. Take the Xfinity Latino Facebook page for example. It provides a comprehensive take on American entertainment both mainstream and Latino. But the amount of Latino content is definitely much bigger than the one you'll find on Xfinity general market's Facebook page. For non-Hispanics looking to engage with Latino entertainment, Xfinity Latino is definitely an attractive space.
Brands should learn how to leverage the extensive and diverse social graph and social interests of bicultural Latinos in order to succeed with this segment. Brands need to learn to behave like cultural chameleons too.
As a bonus, below you can find some insights in the form of 140-character tweets. Or you can check the whole presentation out here.
#Latino #Chameleons: Tweet This
@gusrazzetti: #Bicultural #Latinos are #Cultural #Chameleons: they don't live in two worlds, they adapt depending on the context
@gusrazzetti: Latinos are leading #Social #Media growth: 760% increase of #Bicultural audience in #Facebook on the past 4 years
@gusrazzetti: Online Latinos are twice as likely to have a Pinterest account
@gusrazzetti: Online Latinos are three times more likely than Caucasians to login to their LinkedIn profile daily #Chameleons
@gusrazzetti: #Latinos add new interests rather than replace old ones, that Bicultural behavior is expressed in Sports, Entertainment & Food
@gusrazzetti: Let consumers choose the language of interaction: #Latino #Chameleons interact in both Spanish and English
@gusrazzetti: #Chameleons are #Bicultural, yet #Spanish drives higher engagement on Latino #Social #Media #SMSS
@gusrazzetti: #Facebook targeting tool is limited: only reaches 9.2 million #Latinos but there are 24M of #Chameleons in #Facebook
@gusrazzetti: Latinos have the Largest and Most Diverse Friend Network #Cultural #Chameleons
@gusrazzetti: A #Latino #Social #Media strategy should complement your mainstream one #Chameleons
@gusrazzetti: A #Latino #Social #Media strategy should tap into #Bicultural interests of #Latino #Chameleons
@gusrazzetti: #Latino #Chameleons are strong influencers in #Social #Media
@gusrazzetti: A #Latino #Social #Media platform can also engage non-Latinos with Latino interests
I remember back in May 2009 – “Medieval Times” it seems with the way the web is developing, the closing of The Home Depot’s Spanish website took me by surprise. They really had no online competitors back then; Lowe’s “En Español’s” site wasn’t more than a colorful placeholder. Still, The Home Depot made the tough decision to bring the site down and it has stick to its guns up to this day.
August 17th, 2011… Right there in my inbox: Lowe’s launches Lowes.com en Español. No, they didn’t just update their old site, or added a couple more pages in Spanish; they did not hold anything back! This is what I call a comprehensive site; check it out for yourself. Anything and everything you need/want to find in Cervante’s tongue is there – well, not in the Castilian of that time, but you get the idea. From information, to buying online, all the way to a great do-it-yourself section called “Ideas Creativas”. You can tell I’m impressed.
Their press release quotes Gihad Jawhar, Lowe’es vice president of Lowes.com saying, “Our No. 1 priority at Lowe's is to ensure our customers have the best possible experience shopping with us, whether they plan a project with our employees in the aisles of their local store or at home through our online tools and services. Providing a Spanish language option on Lowes.com is a natural next step as our website develops to provide improved customer service.”
All this information was intriguing enough to make me reach out to Lowe’s and engage in an email exchange with their spokesperson, Sarah-Frances Wallace. Out of those messages came the following Q&A, which I am pleased to share with y’all:
Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming as it is. But imagine how difficult it would be if you didn't speak the same language as your doctor. For so many patients, that's the case. A new program is trying to help breakthrough the language barrier.
It's a challenge some cancer patients who speak primarily Spanish face when they visit their doctors. And it's scaring some away from getting the help they need. But now a new project aims to bridge the language gap.
Maria Gloria Sanchez, a breast-cancer survivor, likes to spend quality time in the kitchen with her family.
Hispanic women have lower rates of breast cancer compared to white and black women. Still, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Latinas.
Maria's daughter, Selene Elias, did not want her mom to become a statistic.
"We had never been exposed to anything like that," said Selene.
Low screening participation is one reason Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage. Language barriers with their doctors can make things even worse.
But right after Maria was diagnosed, she was contacted by a Patient Navigator, or "Promotora."
Bilingual, bicultural patient navigators like Guadalupe Cornejo are stationed at cancer centers in a handful of U.S. cities with large Latino populations. They're helping Hispanics with cancer fill out important medical forms, make doctor appointments and arrange transportation for treatment.
"Or just provide that emotional support, which a lot of patients do like that," said Cornejo.
"Patient Navigators are out there saving lives," said Sandra San Miguel de Majors, Institute for Health Promotion Research.
Sandra helped develop the Patient Navigator Research Program. The goal is to ensure Latinos get timely, potentially life-saving cancer care.
"A lot of them don't speak English, and there's a lot of fears and myths," said Sandra.
Rudy Gamboa says his cultural connection to Guadalupe Cornejo helps him feel less fearful dealing with colon cancer
"I know that if I have any questions or I need anything I can always call her and ask her and she'll be there," said Gamboa, a colon cancer patient.
Maria is now cancer-free, but still turns to Guadalupe for help, and she's happy to make house calls.
The Patient Navigator Research Program is funded by the National Cancer Institute. While it's coming to an end, funding from Lance Armstrong Foundation's LIVESTRONG is helping keep Promotoras in hospitals around the country.
56% contribution, 43% growth rate and only 1.2% of the budget? There is something wrong with this picture...
Between the debt ceiling uncertainty, world markets declining and businesses struggling to survive, one question unites market analysts and CEOs alike; what should we do to grow? Where should we invest for the future?
For corporations, for example, the summer marks the season of 2012 business planning. This is a time when their brightest and most creative minds gather to figure out the next big trend and uncover that one golden nugget that will set them apart. Would it be an iPad app? An increased focus on "green", exploring emerging markets or introducing an all-natural low-calorie product? While all of these seem enticing and trendy, when it comes to the hard numbers around contribution, growth and key drivers of volume in America's top markets, we come back to one answer: Latinos are the engine for growth.
Is it denial or simply a case of analysis paralysis? Sometime the most obvious option gets unfortunately dismissed. So my question today is, how many more numbers, statistics, trends, charts and consumption reports need to be published to demonstrate that to win in today's American market you cannot afford not to invest your fair share to reach THE market that is driving all the growth? Today's report captures in four minutes what you may need to share with your CFO and CEO for business planning. Hard-new numbers that tell a clear story: if you want to grow, jump on the growth trend driven by Latinos in the U.S. Would you have peace of mind knowing that you are simply dismissing 30% of your market in the top five markets? Maybe you are...
According to the U.S. Census, the Latino population grew by 43% from 38 million in 2000 to 50 million in 2010, while the Non-Hispanic population only grew by 4.9%. But more than population numbers, there is significant financial growth represented by this group. In the last 10 years, Hispanic buying power has grown by 347% reaching $1 trillion in 2010. This ranks the U.S. Hispanic market as the world's ninth biggest economy -- larger than the Gross National Product (GNP) of Brazil, Spain or Mexico. Also, minorities make up nearly half the children born in the U.S. -- part of a historic trend in which minorities are expected to become the U.S. majority over the next 40 years. For the first time in national history, the majority of young people in two states -- California and New Mexico -- now identify as Hispanic, according to census data released this year.
And their disposable income over-indexes in many categories where Latinos spend three to six times more than Non-Hispanics. For example, Latinas spend three times more on beauty and cosmetics per month, Latinos go two times more to the movies and are 80% more likely to see a movie in the opening weekend, and when it comes to everyday shopping, they spend $133 in groceries per week vs. $91 by the rest, that is 46% more. 46% more that you could be gaining in your share of revenues.
It is obvious that the strategies and investments that worked 10 years ago, may no longer be relevant to win today's highly diverse America. Companies like Diageo, Nestlé, Kraft, Western Union, State Farm, among others, have publicly announced their increased focus to reach the Hispanic shopper. The latest U.S. Census data has captured the interest of many chief marketing officers, says Emil Morales as part of a report by the Miami Herald, senior vice president and general manager for TNS, a market research company. "The trend for 2050 is that 125 million people in the U.S. will be of Hispanic origin. Growth is going to come from this segment and companies that don't get into this market now will be late for the party."
However, while it seems companies are paying attention, total Hispanic media spending is still a timid $5 billion. That is 1.2% of a total $365 billion U.S. advertising spend. 1.2% allocated to reach that 16% of the population.
Maybe 16% of the population doesn't sound impressive enough, however what many fail to realize is that America's top five states combined, which represent almost 30% of total U.S. population, are currently 29% Hispanic.
Also, America's largest cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston are already more than 29% Hispanic. And the youth market is dominated by Latinos in key states like California. This makes it very difficult to win in the top markets without maximizing the Latino shopper opportunity.
So, are we having a case of Hispanic insanity? Or is it denial combined with fear of the unknown? Maybe it gets deeper into a diversity and cultural competencies issue within the circles of decision-makers. If numbers are not telling the story, maybe there is still personal bias getting in the way of data-driven decision making, and hopefully that is not the case for you and your company.
A memo on usage from Assistant Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann to Times copy editors:
We have updated our rule on the use of Latino to reflect more accurately what the editors of the 1995 Times stylebook intended: that the term in virtually all cases is the appropriate choice over Hispanic, in keeping with the practices and sensibilities of residents of our region.
We offer this combined new listing in place of two separate and occasionally confusing former entries:
Latino, Hispanic: Latino is the umbrella term for people in the United States of Latin American descent. It refers to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and others from the Spanish-speaking lands or cultures of Latin America. A Latino woman is a Latina. It is preferable to say that an individual is Mexican American, of Salvadoran descent and so forth, instead of using the umbrella term.
Keep in mind that Latino is an ethnic group, not a race category. Latinos may be of any race: white, black, Native American, Asian, mestizo, etc. Some speak Spanish; some don't. Some are U.S. born; others are immigrants.
Note: Hispanic is acceptable in quotes or in proper names. The U.S. Census Bureau uses terms such as "Hispanic or Latino" and "non-Hispanic or Latino" in its survey questions on ethnicity and race. Stories and graphics based on census information are allowed to use that language when it is essential to explain methodology, but we should otherwise use Latino to describe the people in question.
In describing the old entries as "occasionally confusing," we mean especially every 10 years upon the release of fresh census data. It was easy to see why many of us interpreted the old rules as not only an invitation to use Hispanic but, in census stories, a requirement to do so. The old entry on Hispanic said, in part, "Use Hispanic only in quotes, in proper names or reports based on census data."
So, to be clear: Latino should be used in nearly all contexts; the exceptions, as described in the revised entry, must truly be exceptional. The online stylebook has been updated accordingly.
[We thank our good friend Steve Padilla of the National assigning desk for his help in crafting the revised rule, as well as our retired colleague Frank Sotomayor, a member of the 1995 style committee who spotted an erroneous use of Hispanic a few months ago in a story citing 2010 census figures.]
The 2010 Census confirmed something Nielsen has been noting for some time: multicultural consumers are rapidly becoming the majority in the United States and their buying power is significant. Understanding their purchasing and media habits is the next big challenge/opportunity facing marketers and brands today. Taking a deep dive into data and trends within the African American, Asian American and Hispanic communities, Nielsen’s Claudia Pardo laid out compelling statistics and a demographic framework shaping the future. It’s clear that marketers and brands will be forced to rethink their perspective — and their share of spend — when it comes to multicultural groups.
“Can anyone in the room honestly say they’re doing everything they can to satisfy the consumption needs of this population?” Pardo asked attendees. “The demographic growth of these groups is simply becoming too great to ignore.” The good news, noted Pardo, is that multicultural groups are actually more loyal to brands and there’s an opportunity to win a consumer for life.
In the past multiculturalism was talked about as a melting pot, but it’s really more like a salad bowl where each group stands out and is different in the way they value their culture and traditions. Pardo offered examples of notable distinctions in the way these diverse groups shop and consume media.
Spend the most per trip and annually
Shop less often, usually with family
Shop more frequently than any other ethnicity
The most brand loyal; fewer purchases of private label
Most likely group to compare prices and shop online
Frequent fewer super centers, dollar stores or convenience stores
Daily Total household TV usage by Race and Origin
Hispanics: 4hrs 35min
Blacks/African Americans: 7hrs 12min
Asian Americans: 3hrs 14min
National Average: 5hrs 11min
Pardo noted that understanding these and other details (such as understanding that multicultural consumers are actually ahead of the curve when it comes to mobile phone adoption, understanding their different TV viewing and online browsing habits, or ensuring that ethnicities are portrayed more often and more appropriately in ads) is key to seizing the massive market opportunity ahead.
“The story here is that within the next five years, multicultural clients will drive 86 percent of the total growth on spending in retail,” Pardo highlighted. “If you look at growth without these groups, you are only addressing 10 percent of the growth.”
Pardo suggested a number of key questions organizations should ask before embarking on an effective multi-cultural strategy:
What is your share of the multi-cultural market?
Do you know this consumer better than your peers?
Are you fishing where the fish are?
Do you have the depth of consumer insight to ensure you deploy the most effective marketing mix?
Is your advertising culturally relevant?
Is your organization ready?
Are you investing in the right structures and incentives to ensure multi-culturalism remains top of mind?
A panel discussion with Roberto Ruiz of Univision, Idaliz Chacon of Procter & Gamble, Angela Joyner of ConAgra Foods and Bill Imada of IW Group followed the presentation and generated the following guidance for organizations looking to engage in effective multicultural strategies:
Create Internal Champions: From creating a Center of Excellence for multicultural marketing, through tracking success via executive scorecards, all panelists agreed that a multi-cultural approach must be a top-down business imperative to avoid a transient, “flavor of the month” approach to engagement.
Scale Your Investment: Bill Imada advised participants to “start small, get some wings, build confidence and go from there.” He maintained that many companies do not exploit what they already know and have in their historic “corporate inventory.” He advised participants to find which current product lines make the most sense in multi-cultural markets, to pick just one of the population segments with the biggest opportunity and build as much cultural learning and competency as possible before roll-out to other populations as part of an organic growth strategy. Idaliz Chacon said it was important to understand the “size of the prize” to build product category and right-size the investment. To close share gaps faster, she indicated that companies should “invest to win,” even disproportionately if necessary. This view was shared by Angela Joyner who stated that trying to drive brand penetration into new markets would potentially require substantial investment as part of a five year strategy to build brand presence and advocacy.
Don’t over-segment: For an effective segmentation strategy, all panelists agreed that it was more important to look for similarities than differences among the focus population and that over-segmentation would decrease the opportunity. Roberto Ruiz stated that the key to effective segmentation is “actionability” and that the nuance of “bi-culturalism” of individuals, for instance being “dominant Hispanic,” while “fascinating,” was completely “worthless” as a segmentation consideration on the basis that people tend to be entirely immersed in both aspects of their culture.
Get out of the Office and Into the Street: “Consumer immersion” was considered the most powerful way to energize a company’s multi-cultural strategy and summarized as “the power of being there and seeing what’s going on.” Leveraging employee ethnic groups within organizations was viewed as a unique asset companies could deploy to generate proprietary insight and delight and win with diverse consumers.
The growing Latino market is diverse and cannot be reached by clichéd sales pitches, Juan Tornoe told hundreds gathered for the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony Monday at the JW Marriott.
But that did not stop him from having some fun with stereotypes.
Tornoe, a national business consultant and blogger of Hispanic Trending, summed up the growth in the U.S. Hispanic population quite simply: Salsa now outsells ketchup.
But he was serious about businesses reaching the estimated 47 million Latinos in the United States, or 16 percent of the population, whose buying power has grown much faster than the non-Hispanic population’s.
How does a business connect?
“It’s the culture, stupid!” he said.
“Hispanic people overwhelmingly say they want to preserve their families’ culture,” Tornoe said. “If you speak to the heart of the Latino community, it goes a long way.”
He said Latinos value social harmony, social flexibility and social speed — they tend to become friendly faster. It’s important for sales people to spend a little more time on the small talk and getting to know a person in the Hispanic community before talking business, he said.
And family comes first, he said. Hispanic women are a growing force in Hispanic-owned businesses, not for the wealth, but to look out for the interests of their families, he said.
Don’t assume Hispanics want to be spoken to in Spanish, he said. The large majority of Hispanics who use the Internet regularly, for example, use English sites.
If you want to joke around with “Spanglish,” be careful, he cautioned. Some advertisements have turned off the Hispanic community. Regular English-to-Spanish translations are difficult enough: A T-shirt hawked after the pope’s visit to Miami read in Spanish, “I saw the potato.”
Tornoe said businesses reaching out to Hispanics need to remember the broad range of income, education and social levels, while recognizing some common cultural characteristics.
But in any case, the Hispanic market is here to stay, he said. “It’s not a matter of when you reach them. You will. It’s a matter of understanding them.”
Oftentimes people mistake Hispanic marketing for Spanish marketing.
Even though the United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, there is at least 36% of the Latino market that is English-dominant (14% of the Hispanic market only speak English); more than 1 in 3 Hispanics live in English. There is another 10% of the market that is fully bilingual and there is at lease another 32% who even thought they speak mostly Spanish they do understand some English. All these numbers leave us with only 22% of Hispanics who don’t know any English whatsoever.