At a time when there are 55.4 million Hispanics living in this country and the population’s buying power has reached $1.5 trillion, well-informed blue chip brands are targeting this dynamic consumer group more than ever before. Simply put, it just makes good business sense.
But, “targeting” this group is no easy feat. It takes a significant amount of Hispanic marketing expertise and resources. It calls for an ongoing, cultivated, nuanced and mindful approach. And, it requires anticipating what the future holds: new tastemakers strengthening their voices, new data revealing surprising trend shifts, and new consumer perceptions and purchasing preferences. Savvy, forward-thinking Hispanic marketers get it. Enter AHAA.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing hosted its annual conference at Eden Roc Miami Beach on April 18-20. The nation’s leading trade organization brought together the nation’s leading multicultural experts spanning the marketing, communications, digital, media, research, business and entertainment fields during a well-attended three day event – AHAA 20/20: The Future in Focus.
“Our market is more relevant than ever – second- and third-generation Hispanics have become the lifeblood of our nation and the strategic linchpin to the most successful marketing campaigns,” said AHAA Chair Linda Lane Gonzalez.
The opening evening cocktail reception showcased a live performance by singer/songwriters Mau y Ricky (sons of Ricardo Montaner) who debuted songs from their album, ARTE. Keynote speaker, Wendy Clark from DDB, kicked off the conference discussing the importance of co-creating with colleagues and clients. She inspired attendees, “Collaboration makes your ideas better and bigger. And, we are all better together.”
During a special luncheon, industry pioneers Ernest Bromley and Ceril Shagrin received lifetime achievement awards. AHAA’s Chair added, “We are honored to have them stand with us during our 20th anniversary, which they helped shape.” The prestigious Smithsonian Institution received AHAA’s campaign donation of artifacts to be included in the National Museum of American History.
Several notable speakers shared valuable insight and expert counsel throughout various packed sessions. Top Hollywood film and TV screenwriter and producer, Roberto Orci, suggested agencies charge per idea, not per hour. The Clorox Company’s Eric Reynolds explained the brand’s love affair with Hispanic consumers (who represent 15% of brand sales) and gave a wealth of solid advice, including, “Embrace change and keep learning from each other.”
Relationships between brands and influencers can be mutually beneficial. But, it must be the right fit. LatinWE’s Luis Balaguer affirmed, “More and more brands are learning how to work with influencers, and the experience needs to be organic and honest.” The sought-after Ariadna Gutierrez (Miss Colombia 2014) stressed, “If I work with a company, I have to feel completely comfortable and trust the brand.” Juan Pablo Zurita, the #1 Vine and Snapchat personality in Latin America, explained that although top digital superstars partner with brands, these online influencers have become brands themselves.
State Farm’s Leif Roll shared learnings based on the company’s ongoing relationship with the Hispanic population (two decades strong and counting), “Through the years, we’ve gone from translation, to transcreation, to total creation.” The company’s best-in-class efforts won them AHAA’s 2016 Marketer of the Year Award.
A panel discussion surrounding the appropriate combined use of English and Spanish messaging (for a bilingual audience) proved to be interesting and informative. “Engage (with Hispanic consumers) at the emotional level, use meaningful messaging and organically transition between Spanish and English,” Nielsen’s Vanessa Strain advised. Rene Sanchez from Culturati Research & Consulting offered, “Use proper pronunciation and natural Hispanic accents. Celebrate cultural duality. Be purposeful in integration. And, avoid offending at all costs.”
The face of the nation continues to change due to diversity, international migration and the aging population, explained Census Bureau’s Jason Devine and Yesenia Acosta during a presentation on demographics. The U.S. will be home to 63.6 million Hispanics by 2020, 77.5 million by 2030, 91.6 million by 2040 and 105.6 million by 2050. Interestingly enough, Hispanic births are projected to surpass white births by 2060, while migration from India and China is surpassing migration from Mexico. On that note, Valeria Piaggio from The Futures Company encouraged brands to be “color brave.”
All in all, the conference’s buzzwords included: opportunity, heritage, holistic, context, perspective, content, authenticity, technology, bicultural, culture, strategic, core values, language, respect, transparency, commitment, relevance, innovation, longevity and inclusiveness.
UWG’s Amy Gómez concluded, “The AHAA annual conference provides an important forum for industry stakeholders to tease out the complexities and discuss the issues that keep us up at night: how to execute effectively for our segment in an environment where marketers are increasingly seeking total market solutions, how to demonstrate business impact, what is the most impactful way to leverage social media influencers, and the role of programmatic buying, to name just a few.”
“I enjoyed seeing so many marketers at the AHAA conference speaking about Hispanics as a must within their marketing plans and budgets. Hispanics are not in question or an afterthought anymore,” added Karla Kruger, ALMA. “Plus it’s always a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and ex colleagues!”
To learn more about AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing, visit http://www.ahaa.org