Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hispanic Cultural Dimensions and Archetypes

In my latest readings, we cover the topics of cultural dimensions and archetypes.

As marketers, one of our goals is to connect with people on an emotional level. To do this, we obviously need to know more about our market. At the same time, we need to know what makes a person laugh and cry before we can begin to know what makes a person entertain or commit to a product/service. To make our products and services meaningful, we have to tap into the emotional drivers of a market.

The emotional drivers of the Hispanic market are built upon several cultural dimensions. For example:

* There is a Polychronic nature in the US Hispanic market as opposed to the monochronic nature of the non-Hispanic market. This simply means that the Hispanic market is more accepting of a certain level chaos where non-Hispanics tend to prefer one-on-one treatment and orderly processes.

* Hispanics prefer monomorphic leadership as opposed to the non-Hispanic preference of polymorphic leadership. This simply means that Hispanics tend to rely on one person whom they respect for advice in several different areas as opposed to non-Hispanics that tend to prefer leveraging many experts that are specialists.

* Hispanics value collectivism where non-Hispanic can be characterized as individualistic.

* Hispanics attribute causality to external entities where non-Hispanics are more likely to embrace the ideas of self determination.

Korzeny also highlighted several archetypes that help describe the attitudes, feelings and behaviors of the market. These archetypes can be observed in popular culture and quantified through in-depth ethnographic interviews and observations.

* Money - Hispanic culture doesn't value money as non-Hispanics do. Wealth for a Hispanic is often derived from enjoying life and enjoying the moment.

* Fatalism - Hispanic culture subjugates life's activities to fate and this manifests itself into the idea that one should live life for today and worry about tomorrow when it comes.

* Celebration of Life - Rooted in Catholicism, Hispanics celebrate the life that each morning provides (because at night when you go to sleep you do not know if you will wake in the morning).

* Guilt vs. Shame - Hispanics have a strong sense of existential guilt and represent an extreme in the guilt continuum.

* Parent Child Relationships - As mentioned in previous posts, there are roles within the family that are unique and defined.

* Machismo and Marianismo - This is the male/female relationship that is characterized by macho males and compliant females.

In understanding the cultural dimensions and cultural archetypes of the Hispanic market, marketers can better position campaigns to better meet the needs of this market. In my next post, we'll take a look at a few case studies that illustrate how cultural dimensions and archetypes can play a valuable role in the success of a campaign.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Segmentation by Level of Acculturation and Allstate Case Study

In picking up right where we left off last week, I wanted to start today’s discussion on the topic of segmentation by the level of one’s acculturation. Remember, acculturation is the process of acquiring a second culture. And, as marketers, acculturation provides a necessary way the segment the Hispanic market. Plus, in the process of acculturation, acculturating individuals are open to new inputs – products, services, ideas, etc. Anyhow, the most common and basic approach is to segment Hispanics based upon categories like Spanish dominant, transitional and English dominant. However, as the Allstate example from the book shows, a multidimensional segmentation based upon demographics, psychographics and behavioral data is often the best way to target.

Speaking of the Allstate case study, let’s take a quick look at it. In 1989, Allstate came to two realizations: the insurance industry as a whole was maturing but opportunity was present in the Hispanic market because the Hispanic population was growing quickly and underserved. As such, Allstate embarked upon an effort to develop a diversity strategy for the Hispanic market.

Allstate leveraged tv, radio, print and mail to target Hispanics. In turn, Allstate used each of these mediums to prompt a viewer or recipient to call into a special 1-800 number that was designed to route the caller to a bilingual agent. Each of these calls were tracked based upon conversion to sale and analytics were employed to quantify the market and market need. The result of these metrics enabled Allstate to evaluate and improve their whole process. For instance, on the marketing side, Allstate was able to gain a better understanding of the Hispanic market and was able to deliver better messages. On the sales side, Allstate was able to modify and create better sales support materials and improve the language capability of the agency support staff. As a whole, Allstate’s Hispanic strategy and their constant refinement allowed them to gain key insights into a prized market and yield a sales closure rate (8.8%) that were well above their target (6.0%)

Next, I’d like to jump in and state a few things from the internet marketing perspective. On the surface, it appears Allstate also does a good job of integrating its website into the overall diversity strategy. The Allstate Spanish site isn’t merely a translation of the English site. Allstate takes the opportunity to address this market segment with its own unique messaging and imagery. Plus, did you notice that the 1-800 numbers on both sites are different? On the English site they prompt you to call 1-866-621-6900 and on the Spanish site they prompt you to call 1-877-366-1607. I called the Spanish website number and sure enough Allstate continues the Spanish language experience. In the end, you have to give Allstate credit for recognizing the importance of Hispanic market and customizing the overall experience for the market.

Lastly, I found this article, Hispanic Media Remains Area of Growth, via José Calvo’s post on the Latin Creations Facebook group. This is a great article that just came out a week or so ago and does a good job of describing the current Hispanic market. One of the more interesting things I found in the article was the summation that the Hispanic market still remains in a growth phase, unlike the slowing of the English-language media market in the U.S.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Magic to Hispanic Marketing?

The more I read about cultural marketing and Hispanic marketing specifically, the more I think I’m coming to believe that this should be less a study about marketing and more a study about the various Hispanic cultures. I think this is the right approach. I mean… there is no magic, per se, to Hispanic marketing. Marketing is just marketing and it involves a process that is dependent upon understanding your market. That’s what we should be doing here - learning about the Hispanic market inclusive of the role of culture.

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia so I have to admit that my experiences with the Hispanic population were largely limited. Also, despite the fact that I’ve traveled to about 40 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, I have to say that I never really experienced Hispanic culture until we moved to Durango and my wife started teaching English as a Second Language in Farmington, NM. Yes, we had spent a month in Costa Rica but that experience didn’t provide the insight that my wife’s ESL class did. What was cool about her class is that she let me set them up with a blog and from this blog we got to see a unique insight into both Hispanic and Navajo perspectives. Anyhow, what attracted me to those kids is what attracted me to New Mexico Highlands University and it’s what attracted me to doing this class – a desire to know more about other cultures.

With all of that said, I did want to comment on the idea that marketing to the Hispanic population is the exclusive domain of those from that culture. That’s crazy. Just because I’m Anglo, does that mean that I know everything there is to know about the Anglo market? Of course not. Every Anglo isn’t like me. At the same time, does a Mexican know everything there is to know about a Puerto Rican? No. That Mexican doesn’t even know every intricacy of the Mexican market! Understanding a market isn’t about where you’re from, what language you speak or what color you are. It’s about listening to your target market. It’s about asking questions and listening to the responses.

Lastly, let’s run through a few concepts/terms in the book.

The first one is the idea of enculturation. Simply put, enculturation is the learning of a first culture.

How one adapts once they’ve immigrated to the US is described by terms like: “integrate” – those that preserve their first culture but also relate to the second culture, “assimilate” – those that don’t preserve their first culture and value their second culture, and “separate” – those that value their first culture and don’t value their second culture.

What’s interesting is that according to the book, Hispanics in the United States tend to either integrate or remain separate but few tend to assimilate. The common thread here is that the Hispanic population steadfastly holds onto their cultural identity.

The next concept is the idea of acculturation or biculturalism. Acculturation is simply the process of acquiring a second culture in addition to one’s first culture. Where traditional European immigrants eventually assimilated, the Hispanic population seems to embrace biculturalism. Or, in some instances, there is actually a third culture that evolves when an immigrant feels distant from home and rejects or is rejected by the new culture.

Anyhow, that's about all I feel like doing today (it is Friday!). So we'll pick up next week where we left off today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Duality of Language and the Corona Case Study

In picking up where we left off yesterday, I wanted to touch on the duality of language in the Hispanic market. The Hispanic market is a rather complex market to tap because of its bilingual nature - Spanish, English and even the mix of the two, Spanglish.

Spanish speaking Hispanics may be complex to market to but they are relatively easy to target. However, what about English speaking Hispanics? When is it appropriate to market to Hispanics in English? What about marketing to those that are bilingual?

These questions go back to the culture, family dynamics of the household, the relative roles that each member assumes and the role of both English and Spanish. As I discussed yesterday, language is intertwined with and defined by one's previous cultural experiences. According to the 2003 Yankelovich Multicultural Monitor, Spanish is most often the language of the Hispanic home while English is often the language of work and school. What's interesting is that 80% of the US Hispanic population uses Spanish at home but 70% of these people also claim to understand English very well due to the necessity of speaking English in the workplace and at school. This duality of language is pervasive in Hispanic life. For instance, when you quantify the time spent watching tv in the US Hispanic market, Hispanic consumers watch just as much tv in English as they do in Spanish.

As you can imagine, the issue of language can present both problems and opportunities for the marketer. For instance, on one hand, choosing a language to market to Hispanics requires a real understanding of the target market. On the other, there is also an opportunity to capitalize on the ever growing English speaking Hispanic market.

Anyhow, this discussion leads into another rather good case study - Espanol Marketing and Communication, Inc. and Corona Extra Beers (another crappy website).
What's interesting here is that Corona, through it's US importer, Barton Beers, sought out Espanol to market to the US Hispanic market (specifically Mexican American males of legal drinking age). Over the years, US domestic beers had been targeting the US Hispanic market with solid success.

Through quantitative and qualitative studies of the market, Espanol was able to determine US Hispanic consumers tended to be loyal to their home country's beer. Mexican beers were perceived as being premium beers to be consumed on special occasions where US beers were consumed on the other more regular occasions. Additionally, Espanol discovered that Corona's popularity in America was a great source of national pride for Mexican Americans.

Based upon this understanding of the market, Espanol positioned Corona to the Hispanic market as "proudly Mexican" (orgullosamente mexicana). Corona's communications tapped into this sense of pride through visualizations and messages that reinforced Mexican culture.

The result of understanding the cultural aspects of the Hispanic market has been a growth in sales and share for Corona Extra. And, like the book points out, in an industry known for advertising by using scantily clad women, sports and humor, Corona and Espanol showed how their unique approach of using national pride and culture was able to reach Mexican Americans.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1-800-Flowers.com en Espanol and the Role of Language

While reading HispanicAd.com toady, I came across what appeared to be a press release from 1-800-Flowers.com announcing the launch of 1-800-Flowers.com en Espanol. What’s great here is that unlike the Tampico site which was a straight translation, 1-800-Flowers.com has actually seized the opportunity to refine their site to the Hispanic audience. It appears they’re offering a unique message and Hispanic specific products on a stand alone domain (pluses and minuses to using another domain). This is how it’s supposed to work. If you’re going to market to Hispanics, market to them – don’t market to the Anglo community and simply translate.
The above is a pretty good lead into the next chapter – the role of language in Hispanic marketing. I’ll have much more on this tomorrow; however, I do want to touch on a quick point.

Language and culture are intrinsically intertwined. On the subject of language, words, phrases, sentences, sayings, etc. are all expressions that are defined by one’s past cultural experiences. For instance, the book uses the example of the word mariachi. Mariachi can mean different things to people from different places. It can mean marriage, a musician, a band and a genre of music. Furthermore, beyond the strict meaning of mariachi, there are several emotional connotations behind the word. According to the book, mariachi brings a sense of pride and nationalism for Mexicans based upon the cultural experiences of colorful events, great food and music. Mariachi is about the pain of love, love for Mexico and life and the pain of dying. As you can see, how one relates to and defines mariachi illustrates exactly how language is in fact based upon culture and that cultural interpretation.

Given the above, how could a company do a straight translation of a campaign from one language to another? Do you know for sure the intended message in light of its cultural interpretation makes it through the translation? You better. What works for an Anglo targeted campaign might not have the same intended message for and interpretation by the Hispanic market

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Reference Groups and Nissan / Acento

As I was watching live coverage of Super Tuesday on CNN, one of their talking heads made the comment that Hillary was doing particularly well with Hispanic voters. As quick as this person made the comment, another talking head jumped in and said that her success in places like Florida or New York doesn’t necessarily mean that Hillary will find the same success with Hispanics in places like Arizona or California. Why? Obviously, Hispanic is a broad label and each of these states have distinctly different Hispanic populations.

In today’s reading we take a look at defining and describing a market based upon cultural and social identity.

The “Hispanic” label was created by the US Census Bureau in an attempt to quantify all people in the US that traced their origins back to Spanish speaking countries. Over the years, other labels have emerged like “Latino”. However, “Hispanic” is the most widely accepted label by the Hispanic community.

But, while Hispanic may be the most accepted label, we know there are many different populations within the label. Heck, even the talking head on CNN new that.

Anyhow, the book makes the point that marketers shouldn’t just rely on a Hispanic’s country of origin. Instead, marketers should find a person’s reference group – community in the US, town or area of origin, country of origin, US associates, the people that person looks up to – and work to understand their self identification.

To illustrate the point above, I loved the example of life insurance sales. Life insurance is not typically something a Hispanic person would be exposed to back in their home country. Instead, a Hispanic person’s reference group may be made up of his/her Anglo co-workers that buy life insurance for their families. Therefore, the Hispanic person’s reference group may actually be Anglo as opposed to those of Hispanic origins. In this fashion, an advertisement featuring a Hispanic person buying life insurance for his family may not resonate where an ad featuring an Anglo person my capture the reference group the Hispanic person is familiar with. Additionally, while the Anglo ad may play better, the comfort of actually dealing with a Hispanic insurance agent may work best as Hispanics may want to buy from an individual within their “belongingness” groups.

Lastly, I wanted to briefly review the Nissan and Acento case study. Nissan dealers in California and Arizona enlisted the help of Acento to help them better market to, penetrate and serve the Hispanic market.

As part of the research and discovery process, Acento found that Hispanics want a personal experience when purchasing a vehicle. Hispanics are largely unfamiliar with the purchasing process at dealerships and tend not to even enter dealerships unless they know someone there or go with a friend or family. Once there, Hispanics value a personal connection with the sales person and greatly prefer the interaction to be in Spanish. Hispanics want to feel at home in a dealership and when the time comes to make decisions, Hispanics look to others – family, friends – to help provide input.

As for Hispanics’ perception of the Nissan brand, Acento found that Nissan was less appealing that both Honda and Toyota. In fact, the Nissan brand largely did not come into play with Hispanics. Instead, Hispanics purchased Nissan for cost benefits like cash-backs, rebates and other offers.

What this case study shows and what Acento did was actually listen to the market. Advertisements humanized dealerships and featured a Hispanic, Spanish speaking Nissan mechanic inviting people to come by. Once at the dealership, Hispanics were made to feel at home. Employees were educated about the market and hiring focused on bringing in bilingual staff to serve the needs of the Hispanic market. Furthermore, Nissan placed vehicles and Spanish speakers at community events so that the market could be introduced to and learn about the brand from Hispanic experts.

To Acento’s credit, the campaign was very successful. Year after year there were significant sales increases (87% in year two alone) and by the fourth year Nissan had the highest Hispanic penetration of all brands in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Charmin Case and a Bad Website

Okay. I’m back and ready to jump right in where we left off.

If anyone is reading along with me, the Charmin case study is another excellent example of Hispanic marketing. In this case, we have an example of marketing to the Hispanic market within the larger context of a broader campaign. In a nutshell, Charmin in conjunction with their Hispanic advertising agency, Bromley Communications

Hold up. We’ll stop with Bromley Communications’ website and take a second to talk about their site. Wow. Perhaps their site will change by the time you read this but if you want an example of what I consider an absolutely terrible site, you have it.

First off, they use the latest version of Flash. I must not have had the latest version of Flash installed for Firefox so I had to download it, close out Firefox, install, open a new browser and go back to their site.

While I’m obviously at fault for not having the latest updates installed for Firefox, Bromely might want to consider other options (for instance - embedding Flash elements which would also help with several other critiques that I won’t post) that would allow them to at least show something to a new visitor. As is, their site sends you to a page that tells you that you have to download and install the latest version of Flash.

What if all I wanted was a telephone number so that I could pick up the phone and call them? Are you telling me that I have to download the latest version of Flash, close out Firefox, install, open a new browser and go back to their site before I can have your phone number? Some agencies just don’t get it. While I love all the crazy, cool stuff that design can do, people by in large are online for information. Don’t serve up something that puts barriers between your visitors and the info they are seeking. Be smarter than that. People are fickle and the back button is a just a click away.

Next, once you actually do make it to the site, what in the world is going on? Where's the navigation? Seriously, where is it?

Hmmm. When you click on the sun in the sky you get hit with a pop up and served an entirely different website on a different domain. Then, when you click anywhere on the building you are brought to a page with the history of Ernesto Bromley and Bromley Communications.

However, where the hell is contact info? Remember, all I wanted is a phone number. Let’s click on the left and right arrows. Still no contact info.

Okay, is the arrow on the previous page telling me to click on what appears to be an 8 ball in the sky? Apparently so. Wow, after all of that, we finally have some navigation and at least a link to a contact page.

If you can’t tell, I’m a fan of functionality. If I can’t navigate your site such that I can easily find info and become an actionable (lead in this case but also a sale, download, reservation, etc.), then I think you have some problems.

Anyhow, if we get back to the Charmin case study, Bromley helped with an effort to introduce Charmin Scents toilet paper to the Hispanic market within the existing “Call of Nature” campaign featuring a bear family.

Bromley’s analysis found that Hispanic women were “scent seekers” – they buy several scented products for the home and are willing to pay more for the “little extras” these items offer. The tagline to the Hispanic market, Mimalos con Charmin (Pamper them with Charmin), tied into this idea that the Hispanic market likes to pamper with the “little extras”. Charmin Scents “enhanced” the bathroom experience by making it feel cleaner and more presentable for family and friends. The result of targeting the Hispanic market independently was that Charmin was able to refine a better message and it worked. The data in the case study shows that the Scents line accounted for 6% of Hispanic brand sales vs. 3% of the general market brand sales. Obviously, Charmin’s message better resonated in the Hispanic market.