What a CPG Company Needs to Know to Successfully Reach the Hispanic Consumer

[Lea aquí la versión en español de este artículo]

During his  keynote speech Rodolfo Rodriguez, Multicultural Marketing Director General Mills, explained that his company has more than doubled its Hispanic marketing budget and is currently undertaking more than 15 Hispanic marketing initiatives.[Conference attendees had the opportunity to talk about the details of General Mills Hispanic marketing campaigns during a session called “Client Roundtables”; one of the tables was led by Karen Treydte, Media Director of Casanova Pendrill, General Mills Hispanic Advertising Agency of Record -LatinThree in Miami is responsible for General Mills’ Hispanic digital media planning and buying).

General Mills substantial increase in allocation of marketing dollars to the Hispanic consumer is already being reflected in a sales increase to Hispanic customers (+6% in 2008 and +10% so far in 2009. For specific product categories like granola bars; Hispanic market growth has been 14% vs. 9% in the general market.  “We’re outperforming our manufacturer brand peers on a share basis: All are flat or down except Sara Lee”, Rodriguez noted.

Rodriguez attributed his company’s success in multicultural marketing to the following 5 key elements: 

 → Know your brand champion

Dig for deep insights to help created a meaningful campaign

Strong partnership with your agency

Leverage scale

Don’t do it alone: Seek partners for content, digital media, promotion tie-ins

Rodriguez explained some key differences that, in his experience, exist between marketing to the Hispanic consumer versus marketing to the general market consumer.

The concept of “Nature”…

As general market consumers, Hispanics are also inspired by and share a connection with nature, but a key difference is that “nature” is not a specific place; it is a feeling of connection and happiness. Hispanics trust that nature gives them all of what is best for them. Natural ingredients in CPG products are a connection to that.

…and the community…
Hispanics are more connected with recreational community oriented, as opposed to sport oriented, activities. “Recreational: parks, beach, community…not golfing, skiing, or climbing mountains”, Rodriguez said.

…and the vehicles to reach it…
Rodriguez added that “with the growing Hispanic target, we know we needed to reach Hispanic moms in their community. We created Que Rica Vida  which means “what a rich, fulfilling life”, an ongoing, multi-touch point Hispanic platform that allows us to introduce the General Mills portfolio of brands by establishing an emotional connection with Spanish-dominant Latina moms. Other elements of the platform include retail execution, grassroots events and a PR component. This year we also expanded the program with a partnership with Univision and developed vignettes with them”. Rodriguez emphasized that the strategy behind Que Rica Vida is to “gain awareness & trial by positioning General Mills as a trusted source of information for Hispanic moms who need help navigating life in the United States.“

…magazine, advertising, coupons, TV and social networking
Que Vida Rica has a strong online presence and is also published as a quarterly magazine. Rodriguez said that magazine advertising, newspaper coupons, digital media and TV are an integral part of General Mills’ Hispanic marketing plan. A strong online presence and social networking are crucial: Rodriguez disclosed statistics that indicate that Hispanics over index in researching products & services online (32.1% compared to 24.3% for non Hispanic whites). “They have a greater desire to connect and share.” He referred to the concept of “Social Capital”, which describes a brand’s ability to employ its online social connections in order to (positively) affect its environment, i.e. increase sales, promote awareness, and ameliorate sentiment.

Lea aquí la versión en español de este artículo