More than 52 million Hispanics currently live in the U.S., making them the nation’s fastest growing ethnic group. Hispanics have huge purchasing power, and that clout is increasing 50 percent faster than non-Hispanic groups. The segment is desirable for marketers as well as political candidates; the buzz is that GOP candidate Mitt Romney may choose an Hispanic running mate.
How can marketers and PR pros tap into this rich demographic? The following are some essential steps to marketing to the Latino community:
Translating a campaign to Spanish does not guarantee success
Do NOT translate ongoing campaigns directly into Spanish. Many phrases and ideas do not translate well, and, campaigns may end up sending a different message than what was intended. Here are three examples that may make you laugh but we doubt the clients or intended audience found them funny:
Coors put its slogan, “Turn it loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea.”
A U.S. T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market that promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa), the shirts read “I saw the potato” (la papa). Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”
Always research your targeted demographic and create a Spanish-language campaign that coincides with the brand’s messaging, taking into account idiomatic expressions and proper word usage.
Research and understand your target audience
The Hispanic population offers a lot of diversity, with ethnicities including Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and many others. Who in the Hispanic market do you want to reach? The market in New York is vastly different than that in Los Angeles. Research your intended target to understand what shapes and influences that sub-group.
Recognize core values of the Latino community
Although the Latino population is quite diverse, many share similar traditions and exhibit similar consumer behaviors such as entertainment and food choices. An article in Adweek mentions that “one can be completely fluent in English and still lean Latino in values.” While this population run the gamut in stages of acculturation, many share values that include tradition and family. This should be taken into account when marketing to a more general Hispanic audience.
Collaborate with Hispanic organizations
Partnering with a Hispanic organization is a great way to begin to understand the audience you are targeting. These organizations already have roots in the community and can help you research and, guide you in creating successful campaigns.
As with any other market, a successful Hispanic marketing campaign hinges on understanding your audience. Got a favorite multi-cultural campaign you’d like to share?