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Your Toolkit for Growth: Expert Insights from Univision’s Leading the Change Marketing Forum

J. Walker Smith, Chief Knowledge Officer at Kantar Futures, kicked off our annual Leading the Change Hispanic marketing forum by emphasizing that “Hispanics are more than a critical constituent of success… they are the gateway into mass success in the marketplace.” While they account for nearly 1 in 5 Americans with spending power larger than Mexico’s GDP1, Hispanics are still an overlooked marketing opportunity. In fact, Hispanics are the fastest growing segment in the marketplace and will soon constitute one-third of the population as we look towards mid-century.

In addition to undeniable numbers, Hispanics bring a motivational power to society around them. They are open to new products and experiences, acting as trailblazers in the broader culture of our country. John Dick, founder and CEO of CivicScience agrees that the influence the U.S. Hispanic consumer has today is unprecedented. He explains that “Hispanics are a highly connected population amongst themselves. They communicate on a higher and more regular basis than non-Hispanics.” When you market to one Hispanic consumer, you are actually marketing to many more, because they are 5 times more likely to share shopping recommendations with others.2  That multiplier effect means more dollars for your brands.

Hispanics are also highly loyal.  According to Marshal Cohen, Chief Retail Analyst for the NPD Group, “Hispanic consumers are more likely to engage now in rewards programs than the general market.” This presents a great opportunity to get to know them and capture a consumer for life. Don’t view Hispanics as a segment but as game changers.

Key to Connect: Authentic Cultural Storytelling

There is a myth that Hispanics are becoming “more American”, and thereby less Hispanic. However, Luis Miguel Messianu, CEO of Alma Agency, confirmed that Hispanics are actually retaining their Latin culture stronger ​than ever before. Messianu stated that the in-culture formula is simple. “It’s about English and Spanish plus culture. The result is cultural affinity.” For Hispanics in-culture advertising is most impactful as general population advertising doesn’t always resonate. Furthermore, we know that Spanish-language ads perform better than English-language ads among Hispanic adults in terms of ad, brand, and message memorability, and perform more than twice as well in likeability3, so the importance of language can’t be diminished.

Pepsi fully understands this duality of the Hispanic consumer. Marissa Solis, Vice President/General Manager of Hispanic Business Unit at PepsiCo North America Beverages shared with attendees, “We want to target the Hispanic ‘Fusionistas.’ They are 100% Latino, 100% America and 200% Unapologetic.” To bring this concept to life, Enrique Acevedo, Co-anchor of Noticiero Univision: Edición Nocturna added “I’m a Fusionista! We go trick-or-treating on Halloween with my daughter, and the day after we put up our altar for Día de Los Muertos.” Hispanics may be becoming more American, but they are simultaneously also embracing even more Hispanidad.

Good Business is Driven by Purpose and Inclusivity

Afdhel Aziz, Best-Selling Author, Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn explained that as marketers, “purpose has become so important that it is now the fifth ‘P’ of marketing.” Brands in various categories are doing well by doing good: From donating profits to supporting gun control or immigration, brands that market with a purpose are fueling their growth. And Hispanics in particular are receptive to purpose and cause-driven marketing with a higher propensity to rate social causes as having a positive importance to them (79% vs. 72% for non-Hispanics).4 This model for good can change the world: the intersection of commerce, conscience and culture.

In addition to purpose, inclusivity has also proven to be “good business.” Levi’s has proven that inclusivity not only matters in their advertising efforts, it is also engrained within their brand roots, both major factors in driving results. Julia Bois, Director of U.S. Consumer Marketing at Levi Strauss & Co. offers “when we look back at our history to see when our brand was at its best, it’s when we were broad and inclusive in our targeting and messaging.”

 So how do I start leading the change?  

Feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with your Hispanic marketing strategy? Listen to the experts that have proven it works.  Rosy McMichael, top Univision Creator Network influencer, reminds us that in every business, the first one to do something different will most likely be successful. She should know, she has amassed over 6 million fans on social media by posting beauty videos in Spanish. And as PepsiCo’s Solis advises, while it does take a lot more than one activation and one program, you just need to start.


  1. Latino Donor Collaborative. Werner Schink and David Hayes-Bautista “Latino Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report.” June 2017.
  2. CivicScience data, generated April 16, 2018.
  3. Nielsen TV Brand Effect, Survey Responses from 1/1/17 – 12/31/17. Television Norms Inclusive of Primetime Non-Sports Programming Only. Based on Hispanic Adults 18+.
  4. Media Predict. CSR Brand Awareness Study 2017.

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