Latinos and Latinos are taking to social media “como zapatero a su zapato”, as a natural instinct.

LATISM, Latinos in Social Media, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community, unveiled the results of their second year study Latino Blogosphere at BlogWorld 2011 last week. As a board member for LATISM and an expert in multicultural marketing strategy at Edelman, I participated in the panel discussion. Following are key findings and strategic implications.

1) The cheer numbers: Over 12,000 Latino bloggers responded to the research. How many studies can boast that many thousands of respondents?

Sharing and communicating frequently within a group environment is pivotal to Latin cultures, what anthropologist call ‘collectivistic’ societies. Digital technologies enable this behavior. Furthermore, blogging opens the door to be part of a larger community; it is a vehicle to exert the Latino “voice.” Regardless of the platform, Latinos are learning how to be ‘influentials’. They are growing in  numbers, becoming more assertive and expanding their circle of interests. Marketers and politicians are taking note.

2) The’ influentials’: Respondents were educated, with about 10,000 reporting having at least some college education, degree or even post-graduate studies. A majority preferred to write in English, and still almost a third preferred to write in Spanish.

Is Spanish dead? Is Spanish the language of the non-educated? No. 

The majority of U.S. born Hispanics know English; within the non-U.S. born Hispanics numbers as high as 60-70% report knowing at least some English, and yet many adults still prefer media in Spanish for the following reasons: it extends an invitation, it creates motivation, demonstrates respect and establishes trust.   This language dichotomy can be easily explained: language does not equal culture; it is just an element of culture. Having Spanish messages resonates at the emotional level and it is recalled better than English messaging. Moreover, Spanish and English options allow for family and friends interactions, regardless of language preference or proficiency. And yet, many Hispanics dominant in English, will continue to prefer to converse in English while considering responding to Latin culture and values.   Confusing? No, know your audience and communicate the way they want you to communicate with them, just as a marketer would do with any segment.  

An Associated Press-Univision poll exploring Hispanics and media consumption shows that U.S. Hispanics turn to Spanish-language media on a daily basis.

  • 90% of Spanish-dominant Hispanics watch some Spanish-language TV
  • 75% listen to Spanish-language radio each day
  • Among English-dominant Hispanics, nearly 4 in 10 consume either Spanish-language TV or radio

“In order to reach Latinos in general, "said Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino, "we have to create media that speaks to them in English with a Spanish cultural sensibility.”

2a) Respondents  equally engage in blogging and in tweeting on a daily basis.

Notably, they did not differentiate between blogging and tweeting. There’s not a ‘war’ of platforms, they just want to communicate. And will continue to do so regardless of the ‘next best thing’.

3) Exerting influence: When directly asked which criteria is important in choosing a brand, the answers were rather objective.  When asked the same question about changing brands, they responded that friends’ influence was the most important factor.   

First purchase

Price- If on discount, I tend to get it 6258

How much I need it 8120

If it makes me feel good 2315

If my friends recommend it 2730

Changing Brands:

Price- If on discount, I tend to get it 5035

How much I need it 3590

If it makes me feel good 2148

If my friends recommend it 5675

Some will quickly point out that the answers from this group could tend to be self-serving. However, if you believe in the wisdom of crowds, 12,000 similar responses do reflect a trend.  Plus the criteria was consistent, it was the prioritization that changed.  This insight can be verified in the article titled A Look into Hispanic Purchasing Decisions.

4) Top of Mind: Top five topics they discuss:

Being Latino 5603

Social Good 4830

Education 4112

Business 3824

Technology 3623

Latino influentials seem to want to have a voice in terms of defining what it is to be Latino. They want to be part of the conversation, or even drive, the meaning of Latino within the mainstream society. 

5)Heavy Online shoppers: Over 60 percent (ck ) prefer to shop on line.

First, remember that the surveyed are the Latino digerati; therefore, all online activities are second nature to this audience. What about the rest? The Pew Hispanic research center shows that even among the un-acculturated Hispanics the rates of Internet access are increasing, and among acculturated and bi-culturals the percentage of penetration equals that of the general population. Does this mean that shopping at the physical store in groups of family and friends is passé? Au contraire, studies show that Hispanics shop in family and/or friends groups all the time, in general it is their preferred way to shop from groceries to luxury items and across the continuum of low and high involvement products and services.

No longer may a marketer refer to Hispanics as a monolith group with preconceived notions of attitudes and behaviors. At 50MM and counting, there are more Hispanics in the U.S. than Canadians in Canada; if they were a country, they would be second in size only to Mexico, and its purchasing power is larger than the entire economies of all but 14 countries in the world–smaller than the GDP of Canada but larger than the GDP of Indonesia (Emily, $1Trillion, ck stats) . What do you do? Segment, analyze,  target, and then invest in the market, just as you would do with any other marketing initiative.

By Loida Rosario, SVP-Multicultural Strategy and Planning. Edelman Global Public Relations, excerpts in EdelmanDigital Friday 5.


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