What: We talked to Robert Velez, Director, Multicultural Advertising Sales at Vevo, about the company’s strategies to approach multicultural audiences in the US, and particularly Hispanics.
Why it matters: Talking to multicultural audiences is a great opportunity to expand a brand’s reach; however, several tactics should be taken into account when addressing multicultural needs.
The hitherto unparalleled growth of the US multicultural population, together with the proliferation of new media channels offering content to the consumer, has brought never before seen challenges to address the consumer in an effective, differentiated way. We had a chance to sit down with Robert Velez, Director Multicultural Advertising Sales at Vevo, during this year’s #PortadaNY summit, to ask about his impressions on the multicultural opportunity and the state of the issue around it. The transcript has been edited lightly for clarity and length.
Portada: Can you briefly describe your role at Vevo?
Robert Velez: I’m at Vevo to lead the multicultural sales strategy. The company identified this as an area of opportunity and they wanted to start building up the department to make sure that we are addressing marketplace needs and helping clients looking reach multicultural consumers.
Portada: What do you think Vevo contributes to the conversation on Hispanic marketing opportunities? What untapped potential can Vevo deliver on?
RV: Look to Vevo for multicultural audiences at scale with premium content in a brand-safe environment. Vevo offers a solution in reaching US Hispanics —young, Millennial, and bilingual— as well as a broad range of multicultural people. So it’s not just Hispanics, we can also deliver the African American and Asian audience segments on a huge scale.
It’s very hard to get both quality content and scale in the marketplace together. You can usually get one or the other, but not both.
It’s very hard to get both quality content and scale in the marketplace together. You can usually get one or the other, but not both. I dare anyone to challenge us and tell us that there is someone out there doing what Vevo is doing. I think we all kind of get stuck between Univision and Telemundo as being the two top players in the marketplace. And they were, for a long time. But now there are other options out there for brands and consumers. Consumers, especially, are gravitating towards other platforms. So, really what I want to accomplish is to make Vevo into a household name within the multicultural space, where people can think multicultural and think Vevo at the same time.
Portada: Why is there such a disconnect between brands and multicultural marketing today?
RV: Perception is lagging. For example, in the past, the industry tried to merge general market and multicultural marketing and call it the “total market” approach. That really backfired. People thought “I can reach these population segments with just one creative.” And years later we found out that, oops, that actually doesn’t work.
People want to be spoken to. They want brands to take the time and kind of hint at those cultural identities within their creative – we have to reach that consumer and make a connection. It makes sense to have different creative for different segments of the population, because that’s what’s going to make consumers engage more. Overall, general market and multicultural should work together. The Vevo platform does a tremendous job in reaching both in different ways – but they work together.
Portada: On the other side, how deeply do you go into micro-segmentation; for example, by country of origin, or first generation versus second-generation multicultural consumers?
RV: It makes sense only if it makes sense for the brand to want to do it that way. Say they want to reach a Hispanic consumer, but more specifically someone who originated from Peru. It could be a brand that is established in Peru already and is now trying to come here to the US. They would first try to reach out to Peruvian consumers in the US because they know they recognize their brand from back home. Outside of those edge cases, we’re not really at the point where we have to get that detailed in terms of whom we’re reaching.
And there are going to be segments that we create. Right now, Hispanic is the overarching segment, and within that there is going to be Mexican-origin because they represent a big percent of the population. We might have Caribbean and Latin American as well. But at the end of the day, brands are going to want to reach as many people as possible and cast the widest net.
Portada: Can you give us a sense of how you use data to help different partners serve different sectors? How big is the platform?
RV: We layer in the data that we have as well as work with third-party partners to filter consumers and make sure we are reaching the right audience. Vevo has so much scale…, we reach one-third of the population every month.
Portada: How are you ensuring brand safety?
RV: Vevo implements its own 21-point criteria rating system aside from YouTube’s standards. With a manageable library of 350,000 pieces of content, we leverage both human and AI review systems to rate our content. These criteria map back to TV content ratings, allowing advertisers to transact against the brand safety levels they are most comfortable with.
We regard brand safety at the highest level, because we know how delicate the situation usually is. If we think that a video is not going to fly with a client, we’ll tell them about it. The client will have to opt-in to get that video; we won’t serve the ad just to say that we delivered.
Portada: What is the relationship between artists and Vevo?
RV: Music videos are the visual representation of an artist’s music and Vevo is the promotional vehicle for those music videos. Vevo is not only a platform to host and monetize their content, but it fosters the connection between artists and fans. Beyond just YouTube, Vevo uses our original content, social and other distribution platforms to generate awareness and excitement for artists throughout every stage of their career.