General Mills’ Sebastian Flores: “Once Hispanic consumers know the Box Tops Education Program exists, their willingness to participate is outstanding.”

Sebastian Flores is Marketing Communications Planning Associate at General Mills. As such he takes decisions for Multicultural Marketing and in particular for General Mills Box Tops For Education program, one of the nation’s largest school earnings loyalty programs that has been helping schools succeed since 1996. Portada interviewed Flores on the way the program is executed, particularly when it targets the Hispanic demographic.

Portada: We understand that you work with other companies also on the Box Tops Education program, like Boise and Haynes, is that right? If so, can you please tell us why?
BANNERS SECCIONES FINALSebastian Flores, Marketing Communications Planning Associate at General Mills:  “Yes. We partner with select brands that we believe align well with Box Tops for Education’svalues and purpose. These partnerships allow us to expand our reach, outside of General Mills’ core consumers, extending onto non-food products that. By reaching new consumers, Box Tops for Education is able to magnify its impact by making it easier for schools to earn money.

Overall participation of US Hispanics in the Box Tops for Education Program is considerably less than the general public/population

What is the engagement of Hispanics particularly in clipping Box Tops Education Coupons? how does it relate to the rest of the population?

S.F.: “Although overall participation of US Hispanics in the Box Tops for Education Program is considerably less than the general public/population, it is increasing rapidly. Our main challenge, and one we are tackling head on, is overall awareness of the program. We have found that once Hispanic consumers know we exist, their readiness and willingness to participate is outstanding.”

How do you market Box Tops Education program specifically towards the Hispanic population?
S.F.: “We use a variety of mediums to market Box Tops for Education. In the past, we invested most of our marketing energy and dollars on public relations, grassroots marketing, going door-to-door to recruit new program participants. This was extremely effective in program adoption and user acquisition (signing up new schools), but now, our marketing objectives have shifted towards driving awareness, which resulted in exploring high-impression driving mediums like television, social media platforms, and online radio. Partnering with a community influencer and well-known and relevant talent in the community simplifies and amplifies the delivery of the message. These campaigns are currently in market and results are still being measured, but so far numbers are reaching or exceeding expectations. The highest performing avenues are, not surprisingly, mobile and social, specifically Facebook.”

As we move into the 2015 marketing/advertising budget planning season, What are the main challenges you see, particularly as it pertains to market against the multicultural demographic?
S.F.: The main challenge when planning for 2015 as it pertains to multicultural consumer campaigns will be continuing to engage the target audience. There are many factors and cultural nuances that go behind every multicultural campaign. Looking specifically at a Hispanic-focused campaign, there are factors like level of acculturation, generational differences, country of origin, and language preferences that all play their role when it comes to targeting effectively. Many times the Hispanic consumer group is looked at as a one-size fits all, where one campaign will resonate with all Hispanics, but this is far from being true. The multicultural consumer is extremely unique and requires special attention when crafting language, messaging, and communication channels.”