Every marketer knows that before communicating with any audience or segment, it’s essential to understand that group’s views and values. However, when it comes to the Hispanic audience, it is very tricky, and even counter-productive, to lump 53 million people and 20+ cultures into one collective group. As it stands, just over half of all U.S. Hispanics identify best with their family’s country or place of origin rather than the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino.” The good news is that there is a thread of similar cultural values, identity and passion points that Latinos tend to share among its own diverse nationalities.
Family, the Latino Cornerstone
By far, family is the strongest of these values and Latinos in general have a deep identification and attachment to their family, which is defined beyond the traditional American nuclear family of parents and children. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins and even close family friends play a role as well, and it is not uncommon for Latinos to live in multi-generational households. Ensuring the well-being of family – whether it is physical, material or emotional = is also key, generally giving priority to the collective rather than the individual. Xfinity did a good job of showcasing the Latino family in this commercial with Sofia Vergara, where the whole family is going out together – from the grandfather down to the nephew. T-Mobile (client) also launched a campaign, “Libérate,” which features a series of YouTube clips highlighting different Latin cultural nuances. In one of the clips, “La Abuelita,” a Lucha Libre wrestler praises his grandmother in a comedic way for how she’s been the one to teach him some of the most important things in his life, an insight that many Latinos definitely relate to.
Soccer Is in Our Blood
Sports are a big passion point for Hispanics, with soccer taking the lead primarily because from the time Latinos are young, we grow up watching and playing the sport. There is great pride in rooting for and supporting the local and national teams, and many Fortune 500 companies like Allstate, AT&T, Castrol, Coca- Cola, Unilever and Visa have leveraged Latinos’ love of soccer and use it as one of their core strategies to reach and engage the Hispanic consumer. Some of these companies also sponsor the Mexico National Team in the United States, which has become a great vehicle to reach many Mexican-Americans. McDonald’s (client) also recently created an ad campaign that speaks to and portrays Latinos’ love for soccer. And if you ever find yourself doubting how important soccer is to Hispanics, just visit any Latin American country when their team is playing the World Cup – the country literally shuts down.
Food Helps Showcase Our Identity
For Hispanics, meals are more than just providing a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whether it’s tamales, ceviche, arepas, arroz con habichuelas, it’s a way to keep a vital part of our heritage and culture alive and enjoy time spent with family and friends. Mealtime is also a way to pass on culture and tradition to the next generation, which seems to be working since eight out of 10 adult Hispanic Millennials enjoy eating traditional Latin foods, and nearly half of them buy more Hispanic foods and products than American ones. However, Latinos are not the only ones enjoying these foods. Latin America’s staple dessert, dulce de leche, has become so popular in the U.S. that in 1997, the ice cream company Häagen-Dazs introduced a dulce de leche-flavored ice cream, and Starbucks began offering dulce de leche-flavored coffee products. In 2009, the Girl Scouts introduced cookies with dulce de leche-flavored chips as part of their annual cookie sales program.
The Soundtrack to our Lives
It’s important for marketers to remember that music plays a very important role in shaping and maintaining the Latino identity in the U.S. Listening to music from our countries of origin is very nostalgic and part of family life – a quick and easy way to remain connected to our heritage. While Hispanic youth listen to American mainstream music, they are also very familiar with their native music and sounds. One can easily look at the popularity of Latino artists: in 2011, Maná sold out the Los Angeles Staples Center 11 times over – more than any other artist, including Madonna. Earlier this year, Univision’s 25th Anniversary of “Premio Lo Nuestro” reached 11.6 M viewers, making it the #2 network of the night for 18-34 year olds for the fourth consecutive year.
*This is the second installment to our “Hispanics in the U.S.” blog series. If you missed the first one, you can see it here.