Sounding Off: David Santana “Lost In Translation: Better Serving Hispanics with Relevant Digital Content”

David Santana_HeadshotAs cultural trends shift, so too do the devices and means of getting a message broadcast in the most effective channels, says David Santana Art Director at Deep Focus, a company that defines itself as a “Modern Global Marketing Agency”.

In 2015, one key factor for brands and services looking to grow their presence in the U.S. will be their ability to capture the hearts and minds of the Hispanic market. With 21% of U.S. Millennials identifying as Hispanic, this new generation of Hispannials, as they’ve been dubbed, is digitally ahead of the curve and has a much higher comfort level on mobile than ever before. A great opportunity to build a loyal and social-sharing-minded audience awaits those brands that make the effort to understand this demographic’s opinions and passions.

As cultural trends shift, so too do the devices and means of getting a message broadcast in the most effective channels. Although it was once assumed that the Hispanic consumer could be found gathered around the family television set or checking in with distant family members at the local Internet café, this has not been the case for some time and will certainly not hold true in 2015. We will continue to see the Hispanic consumer’s abandon¬ment of desktops and their quick transition to smartphones and tablets as their primary – and sometimes only – way to connect socially, share content, experience entertainment and purchase goods. All this will happen as other ethnicities are reaching the mobile device saturation point. Hispanics’ use of mobile is predicted to continue growing through 2018. Currently, 80% of the 52 million Hispanics in the U.S. are smartphone-ready, and of the 147 million people in the U.S. with tablets, nearly 19% of them (over 28 million) are Hispanic. These two categories account for 70.9% of Hispanics who are on the Internet in the U.S.

The need to step up the content game in 2015 will lead some brands to simply translate preexisting creative and toss it on Facebook. Such a mindset will not move the needle with this fiercely independent group that is tired of being subjected to stereotypes and hand-me-down content. To create anything relatable and shareable, we’ll need to dig deeper and deliver content that piques Hispanic’s true interest, in English or Spanish, as they search for an assortment of themes through which to be entertained and informed. This will include everything from arts and entertainment to politics and government, from the exploration of ethnic diversity and LGBT themes to the characterizations of modern antiheroes.

If that balance can be met, we will see the unparalleled devouring of video content by Hispanic consumers, who are currently 11% more likely to binge watch and 9% more likely to watch a web series on platforms such as YouTube. This consumption includes user-generated pieces like fan fiction, recipes and citizen journalism. Video has become the heavyweight contender and might very possibly become the champion of the Hispanic content fight in 2015.

Striking that balance between content, message and culture in a way that truly resonates with the Hispanic consumer will not be an easy task for all. With Hispanics estimated this year at sharing content 5x more that non-Hispanics on social networks like Facebook and Twitter and expected to outpace all ethnic demographics on those channels through 2018, those who miss this opportunity are likely to lose out on more than just a strong fan base. Hispanics are already 1.3x likelier than non-Hispanics to follow the path to purchase from shared content and this trend is only expected to continue growing. If content is truly great and actually sharable for this group, it can lead to both intense brand loyalty and great sales.

2015 will be the year brands must dig deeper to understand where and what the Hispanic – and specifically the Hispanic Millennial – consumer craves. Those who lean on stereotypes and translated material will be missing out on a huge opportunity to create meaningful relationships that they can learn from, help broaden a brand’s regional and global appeal, and create consumer growth. Taco Tuesday and Cinco De Mayo need not apply.

David Santana has been Deep Focus Art Director since September 2013.He has also been working as Freelance Art Direction & Design for the last 6 years. Some of his clients include Century 21, 4mm Games, Arcade Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Interactive and others. In 2013, he held the position of Senior Digital Designer at JWT leading the design team in digital design and interactive activations and representing the design team in branding and digital initiatives, from concept to execution. Prior to this, he was Creative Director at Brooklyn based Events & Creative Agency Villain, where he was in charge of handling every aspect of the creative process for clients, using a mix of digital and traditional techniques to achieve results.