The Evolution of Multicultural: Univision, Telemundo Hold Strong As Industry Shifts
What: Who are brands turning to in order to engage today’s evolving Hispanic audiences? Are Univision and Telemundo still the go-to networks, and how are budget allocations shifting as new platforms and media emerge? We talk to industry insiders to find out.
Why It Matters: Despite the fact that new digital platforms and formats allow for more effective targeting and messaging, Univision and Telemundo hold advantages in terms of market share and resources on consumer demographics. But new digital platforms certainly allow for new, more measurable and creative approaches to targeting.
When it comes to Multicultural, one thing is certain: Evolving demographics and the emergence of new digital platforms and formats like online video and social media are keeping marketers on their toes. But some things don’t change: Univision and Telemundo continue to wield considerable power in connecting brands with Hispanic audiences.
Telemundo, Univision Bring ‘Great Resources and Knowledge about Consumer Demographics’
How closely are Multicultural marketers watching industry leaders like Univision and Telemundo as they do their best to keep up with the increasingly complex Hispanic demographic? In many ways, marketers are comfortable turning to them as safe bets for reaching and truly engaging Hispanic audiences. Chris Ota, Marketing Manager, Confections & Global Foods at Nestlé USA said that their Multicultural COE, led by Margie Bravo, “works very closely with Univision and Telemundo as they bring great resources and knowledge about with consumers demographics.”
Margie Bravo, Multicultural Marketing Manager at Nestlé USA explained that at the end of the day, with regard to the shifting Hispanic landscape, the two powerhouse networks “have seen it evolve, and are adapting the offering for the future as they more than anyone has seen their audience evolve as well.”
Larissa Acosta, Segments Integrated Marketing Lead at Wells Fargo, agreed: “Latinos are an important consumer segment for Wells Fargo, which is why Univision and Telemundo are key partners in our marketing mix.”
She elaborated, saying: “In broadcast, they both tend to reach the same audiences with a similar programming that is comprised of news, sports, news magazines, reality, events/specials and novelas.” And in terms of whether there is a perception that one is more effective than the other, she added: “We don’t see one network as more effective than the other.”
Spanish-Speaking Hispanics ‘Still A Sizable, Unique Segment that Few Effectively Deliver’
Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Executive Vice President, Client Partnerships at Hemisphere Group, supported both Ota and Acosta’s arguments in favor of Univision and Telemundo’s effectiveness as well, stating, “Tell me what general market network can claim the type of share that Telemundo and Univision have? That’s what marketers and buyers should focus on.”
Tell me what general market network can claim the type of share that Telemundo and Univision have? That’s what marketers and buyers should focus on.
She also argued that the fact that Univision and Telemundo still hold such a high share of Hispanic audiences means that “Hispanics (regardless of acculturation level or language proficiency) are still largely underserved by general market choices.”
The Spanish language still plays a key role in Hispanic identity, regardless of whether they speak more Spanish or English in their lives. For this reason, “reaching ‘Spanish-language Hispanics’ is still a priority for a select group of marketers, but should be part of every marketer’s strategy,” Traynor added.
Acosta of Wells Fargo seconded that sentiment, and added that “Spanish language television has been delivering big ratings for a while now, so we are not surprised that the trend continues.” She also noted that much of the viewing for these networks is live, which is important as streaming and time-delayed viewing become more common programming formats.
This is not to say that connecting with Hispanic identity is not important. Marketers must understand that the Hispanic American today is complex, and appreciate that when Telemundo and Univision started, “we had a foreign-born population that didn't speak English, but today the highest growth is coming from the second-generation of US-born Hispanics who are very proud of where they came from but want to also honor their American heritage,” said Bravo of Nestlé.
More Brands Adopting ‘Total Market’ Approach
For this reason, instead of focusing solely on Multicultural or Hispanics, many brands are taking a Total Market approach. Nestlé is one of them. Take their coffee lines, for example. The brand reaches Hispanics through Latino-oriented brands like La Lechera and Nescafe Classico, as well as traditional brands like Coffee-mate, through which they may communicate through both English and Spanish advertising. Bravo added that “The Spanish creative may be slightly different to acknowledge the nuances of how the brand is viewed or used amongst Latinos,” but all-in-all, a Total Market approach seems to facilitate more flexibility.
Bravo also added that Nestlé has introduced “exotic flavors inspired by Hispanic tastes across several of our categories,” like Confections; Frozen Snacks; and Beverages. Examples of this are the Nerds ¡Lucha Grande! lines. “For Hispanics,” Bravo said, “some of these flavors may be nostalgic, but for Non-Hispanic Millennials, these flavors may be new and different and add a cool twist to their favorite Nerds candy.” And the industry recognized this effort, awarding it the National Confectioner Association’s (NCA) “Most Innovative 2017 New Product" award.
Facebook, Google, Snapchat Have Influence, But Small Digital Footprint
So what about the alternatives to Univision and Telemundo? Asten Morgan, Executive Director of Integrated Media at Latina Media Ventures, said: “We always pay attention but Univision and Telemundo are Spanish-language television networks,” and that while “Facebook, Google and now possibly Snap have more influence specific to Latinos,” it is also true that “those networks have small digital footprints.”
Nonetheless, Morgan admitted that Univision and Telemundo are far more targeted to the bilingual or Spanish-dominant Latino, and “still don’t address the English dominant ones, as the majority of their programming (95%+) is Spanish-language.” As the Hispanic becomes more acculturated and bilingual, Morgan, at least, does not see them switching to English: “Their core business is Spanish-language television, so the story they tell in the marketplace speaks to that.”
New digital platforms have allowed our marketing messages to be more targeted, measurable and culturally relevant…We have opportunities to experiment with new creative and content formats and test our way into optimized creative that drives business results.
On the other hand, Acosta noted that new digital platforms do offer opportunities that television does not: “New digital platforms have allowed our marketing messages to be more targeted, measurable and culturally relevant…We have opportunities to experiment with new creative and content formats and test our way into optimized creative that drives business results.”
Acosta added: “Both networks have recognized that media consumption is changing and have set very interesting strategies in play to evolve with the times.” Through acquiring properties like Fusion, The Onion, and The Root, Univision’s strategy seems to target Hispanic Millennial audiences. Telemundo, on the other hand, promotes within NBC’s properties. “They are both important partners, and are among many other Hispanic targeted vehicles that are part of our media mix,” Acosta said.
Multicultural and Hispanic Marketing: Friends or Foes?
While some people use the words “Multicultural” and “Hispanic” interchangeably, they most certainly do not mean the same thing. Still, many brand marketers do not have budgets for both types of targeting. Are media buyers and brand marketers starting to shift budgets away from Hispanic into broader Multicultural targeting?
Morgan of Latina Media Ventures asserted that he does see them as competing for budgets: “It’s about trying to tap into two buckets of money, as some brands just have one or the other, but it’s smart on their part if they can pull it off, as Multicultural blurs the color or ethnicity line.”
But Morgan does not believe that budgets will shift away from Hispanic to Multicultural, as Hispanic “can be as specific as Spanish-language only, which means the exclusion of the fastest growing Hispanic segment, the acculturated Latino.” In his experience, “there are specific Hispanic initiatives and then there are Multicultural ones.”
Acosta of Wells Fargo agreed that both Multicultural and Hispanic marketing are evolving thanks to demographic changes “combined with the growing influence of diverse cultures on the mainstream, particularly with younger, digital native generations.” She added that they work closely with Association of National Advertisers and Alliance for Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing and other industry organizations “so that the work is reflective of the growing influence and acceptance of diverse insights in business planning.”
At Wells Fargo, Acosta asserted that they do not see any demographics or audiences as competing for budget, instead letting “the business opportunity determine our segment strategies and budget allocations.” Through studying campaign data and measuring performance, they allocate budgets in segments that are driving business.