Until a few years ago a direct mailed custom publication was where it all started. Now, as Brice Bay, CEO of Enveritas Group puts it, it starts with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) around online content to drive traffic to the marketer’s site.
While the form has changed, content continues to be at the center. That is why now the talk is about “custom content” “branded content” or “content marketing” as opposed to “custom publishing”.

Kraft’s Comida y Familia program, not too long ago a magazine with a (2010 circ. Of 585,000) is now also a complete CRM Program.

“Comida y Famila, “Kraft’s Latina CRM Program is an integrated, customized program to offer Latin Moms relevant food solutions, advice and a sense of community”, Tania Cameron, Sr. Manager CRM at Kraft Food said at Portada’s Fourth Annual Hispanic Digital and Print Media Conference last September. In addition, “it is an Innovative, efficient and effective media network. A robust database for permission-based marketing.” That is what content marketing is all about. At its best, it provides a competitive advantage to the marketer and is a powerful equity builder for its brands.”

As Cameron’s presentation shows, marketers need to learn how to be publishers. Who better than media companies to help them do just that?Content, one of media’s main assets, is more important than ever and in order to capitalize on that, media owners have to become a bit more service providers and a bit less advertising vehicles. What counts is their expertise in creating, managing, distributing and marketing content. To some extent, media properties are entering the agency business. One example of this is Meredith’s Integrated Marketing unit, which produces Kraft’s Comida y Familia and provides corporations with Custom marketing solutions.

Ryan Thrasher, general counsel and regional manager Latin America at global marketing firm Enveritas says that ten years ago “marketers followed the traditional model of talking to (and defining the brand for) their consumers. Today, thanks in large part to social media outlets like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and even sites like Yelp, the consumer’s role has evolved from simply being the receiver of a brand’s message to being an active participant in determining that brand’s identity. These dynamic systems of engagement have forced content marketers to be more deliberate, more calculating in choosing the channels to reach consumers, deciding how to customize themselves on those channels and creating avenues for consumers to engage not just the brand, but one another. As the marketers use these different channels to deliver content, they strengthen the brand’s profile and generate good will with consumers.”

“With the coming of age of the internet and the development of Social media, which basically allows “like minded communities” to aggregate online, content marketing has taken a high-profile role in the way brands communicate with and disperse their brand stories to both their consumers and their prospects through the many different platforms/media that exist”, says Hispanic Marketing Veteran Chiqui Cartagena, who until recently worked as SVP Multicultural Marketing at Story Worldwide a global content marketing firm. She adds that the division between above the line and below the line starts to disappear: “So you still have print on paper, but more importantly you have brands communicating their stories through every imaginable media vehicle, games, websites, microsites, videos, facebook, twitter, QR codes, and whatever may come next”.

Paid Media
Paid Media or advertising definitely Plays a role in the way brands communicate messages. “Got Milk” the slogan by the National Milk Processor Board is advertising in People en español, so is online travel agency Orbitz. Both campaigns marry print with social media to engage Hispanics with these organizations' social media sites and websites.William Vasquez, president of Hispanic Media Representatives, a company that sells advertising into custom publications, says that print is still part of the mix, but obviously digital media and now mobile is too.Sponsored web series are another form of advertising: Digital Broadcasting Group recently announced a partnership with McDonald’s and Dallas based Latino ad agency, iNSPIRE! To launch “Latinos Are One,” a new web series that aims to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the Latin music scene. “Latinos Are One” began on March 1 and full episodes of the show is archived on.

Where is the Business?

So which are the Hispanic content marketing projects currently being undertaken? Meredith Hispanic Ventures Custom Solutions recently launched a Hispanic full-year integrated program for Kimberly-Clark’s Kotex® brand in partnership with Siempre Mujer, Meredith’s magazine targeting Hispanic women, to increase awareness and engagement between Latinas and the Kotex® brand. It includes a Spanish custom minisite (es.kotex.com) featuring beauty, lifestyle and health/wellness content, custom banner ads and quarterly custom print advertorials promoting sweepstakes starting with the April/May issue of 2011 and in two additional issues through the end of 2011.

“We’ve also developed a retail activation program named ¡Sonríe!(Smile!) For Colgate-Palmolive® and Huggies®”, says Sonia Margalef, Director of Integrated Marketing Meredith Hispanic Ventures. ¡Sonríe!Is a Spanish language mini-magazine with a circulation of over a million copies that provides Hispanic families with quick and easy tips on oral health, home care, and baby-related needs. Margalef adds that “custom content integrates key brands as solutions For everyday needs through product sidebars and coupons. It is distributed to pre-qualified pediatrician and pediatric dentist offices in close proximity to high Hispanic-indexing Walmart locations.”

“Unfortunately, there aren’t many examples of consistent content marketing efforts in the Hispanic space. I think General Mills’ Que Rica Vida or Kraft’s Comida y Familia have done a very good job of engaging with Hispanic moms around food/meal Preparation”, says Cartagena. She adds that this is the case because these companies create and support communities over a long time, and allow for interaction with the brand.

En español Content Marketing, a Los Angeles based content marketing firm led by Michaelle Fastlicht, works on Hispanic content marketing programs for General Mills’ Que Vida Rica! Program which includes a website And a quarterly magazine with a circulation of 350,000. DirecTV (including DirecTV Más magazine with quarterly circulation of 900,000) is another client of En español Content Marketing.

According to Chiqui Cartagena, last year, Ford Fiesta had a great campaign “ready pa tu mundo” and Harley-Davidson did some cool stuff on their website with “harlista”: “I’m not sure there is continuity there for either brand. Levis has also been doing some interesting branded-entertainment content (documentaries) and the campaign had a core narrative with different executions for General Market and Hispanic market.”

Branded Content

“We see Branded Content as a big part of the future of marketing, but only if the brands take their responsibility as publishers and communicators seriously enough to create quality, engaging, entertaining and informative content.”, says Ryan Thrasher, general counsel and regional manager Latin America at Enveritas.

Thrasher adds that the average Hispanic consumer of content on the web has a healthy appetite for large amounts of clever, engaging and helpful content, and it is safe to say that most don’t mind if that information is tied to or created by a brand. What matters to them is the quality and usability of the content. If it is good and it is relevant, the consumer isn’t necessarily particular where it originated.” One important aspect to obtain relevant content is content localization.The term refers to adding the local component into the content and, therefore, engaging local audiences.

…in the post advertising age.

Branded content is mostly about being part of the conversation. As Chiqui Cartagena puts it. “In this postadvertising age you have to be part of the conversation about your brand all the time,not just once in a while, whether you like it or not, people are talking about your brand and marketers need to join the conversation. That is a marketing imperative these days.”

…agencies take note

There is a clear trend towards multicultural branded content. Agencies, both PR and Media agencies, are including the content marketing perspective into their portfolio of services.Federico Mejer, Partner at Revolucion, says that “as Latinos continue to revolutionize the American experience, communication methods that speak to the Spanish-preferring consumer and the English-preferring consumer are critical. Mejer’s New York City based agency recently announced an official partnership with production company EO Integration to broaden its client service capabilities. The two New York-based agencies merged to enable clients to reach multicultural consumers through cutting-edge communications.As part of this shift, EO founder Roberto Alcazar joins Revolucion as Partner and Executive Creative Director.

The world in which English-speaking Latinos live, simultaneously influences and is influenced by other multicultural Segments. For example, we are working on a creative campaign for a client that is designed to resonate with young Latinos primarily. But throughout the development process, our creative team kept the African- American and Asian-American markets in mind, ensuring that the final execution will have broad appeal to various influencers.”

Roberto Alcazar, who joined Revolucion as Partner and Executive Creative Director, adds that “for a while now, branded content has been introduced to clients primarily from media companies, who know the media very well, but aren’t necessarily the brand keepers like traditional agencies are. We are bringing the branded content discipline to the table, to the advertising mix. As clients increasingly understand that they can’t be trapped by traditional advertising formats anymore, they are seeking out branded content solutions. There won’t be any brand in the next 10 years that isn’t engaged in branded content.”

Six Key Points to develop your Hispanic Content Marketing Strategy

1. The younger generation of Hispanics doesn't necessarily want materials in Spanish.

2. You need to address the specific information needs of US Hispanics.

3. Ask yourself, “Who is my target market, and do I understand their language needs?”

4. Understand your brand's consumer touch points as language and messaging may vary.

5. Create bilingual marketing material.

6. Create “educational” content that fits Hispanic needs.

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