MiTu Network was created to cater to the growing Latino demand for creatively packaged how-to, help-oriented content for bilingual and bicultural audiences in the US and abroad. With the exploding number of U.S. Latinos watching video on YouTube, MiTu offers a compelling alternative to traditional Hispanic programming and media opportunities for viewers and advertisers. Programming will feature a mix of English and Spanish language content that will aim to both entertain and be a resource for Latin audiences focusing content around six key channel categories: Health, Beauty, Food, Family, Style and Design. Currently in its preview phase, MiTu will officially launch April 30th, prior to their Digital Content NewFronts presentation in New York on May 2, 2012.
Beehive Group is Los Angeles based boutique marketing agency that specializes in Latino engagement. They are working with MiTu on both B-to-C and B-to-B launch strategies, including overall marketing guidance, launch events, and press & publicity. In addition, Beehive Group is working with MiTu to develop a vlogger loyalty and engagement program for their content-makers.
The alleged “digital divide” notwithstanding, U.S. Hispanics are enthusiastic users of social media, according to a new survey of 650 online Hispanic adults by uSamp — but they’re also more cautious about the information they share online, the same survey found. There’s no question the online Hispanics surveyed by uSamp hold an edge in social media adoption: 90% of respondents are on Facebook, compared to 81% of the general online population. Meanwhile 57% of Hispanics use YouTube, compared to 46% of non-Hispanics. Interestingly 47% of online Hispanics say they use Google+ compared to just 18% for the general online population. But as noted, Hispanics are also more cautious about sharing personal information via social media: just 65% of those surveyed said they are willing to share their names, compared with 87.1% of non-Hispanics, and only 43% of Hispanics said they are prepared to post their relationship status, compared with 74% of the general population. While 53% of non-Hispanics said they would be willing to reveal their political affiliations on social media, the proportion is less than a third for Hispanics. Similarly, while half of non-Hispanics are willing to reveal their date of birth, only 36% of Hispanics said they would share this information. The uSamp Hispanic research panel consists of more than 100,000 Hispanic adults living in the U.S., recruited via online, mobile and social media, as well as a national campaign in traditional media. The company claims the panel is representative of the U.S. Hispanic population, which now numbers over 50 million, or 16% of the total U.S. population. Although the uSamp survey suggests obvious privacy concerns, online Hispanics are often willing to share their opinions about brands, products, and services. As noted in a previous post, last month brought the launches of two other online-based Hispanic survey platforms with a marketing focus. Tu Cuentas which translates as “You Count,” but also “You Tell”, includes user-generated product reviews, moderated discussion forums and community polls of registered members, as well as Web cam interviews with individual members, allowing advertisers to uncover information about shopping behavior, brand preference, advertising likeability and product attributes. Another online community, VozLatinum, has already attracted more than 80 corporate clients, including The Clorox Company, ConAgra Foods, Hallmark, and Nestle USA. Companies can conduct custom and targeted research activities in English and Spanish, including discussion forums, ad testing for both video and print, package testing, and attitudinal and behavioral research.
Social media the most popular distribution channel
Though the general population of marketers may just be beginning to ramp up investment in online video advertising, January 2012 research from Outbrain showed the vast majority of US brands and agencies are already investing heavily in digital video production for their content marketing efforts.With nearly 55% growth expected this year, online video will be the fastest-growing ad format in 2012, eMarketer estimates. One factor behind video’s high growth rate is its relatively low base of spending; data from media buying solutions provider STRATA showed just under 28% of US ad agencies used digital video as a part of their online advertising efforts in Q4 2011.
Nearly 87% of US brands and agencies leveraged videos for their content marketing programs, according to Outbrain’s research, emphasizing the importance of this dynamic, visual content format. Blog posts were the next-most-common form of content, generated by two-thirds of marketers. Articles and slideshows or photo galleries were also important to 44% of respondents.
To distribute and share content such as videos, articles and blog posts, nearly 96% of US brand and agency marketers turned to social media. Paid search and display advertising were also used by approximately 78% and 76% of respondents, respectively.
Relying on social media for content distribution is only natural considering five of the top 10 methods internet users worldwide used to share content in January 2012 were social networks, according to data from social sharing solutions provider AddThis’ network.
When measuring the success of their content marketing campaigns, almost all of Outbrain’s respondents (89%) gauged success by the number of social media engagements and referrals. Other common metrics used to measure content marketing success were content views and downloads (75%), number of leads (53%) and search referrals (51%).
Only a third of respondents used direct sales to quantify success, pointing to either a top-level content marketing objective of branding and generating awareness or an inability to properly tie content marketing efforts back to sales. A combination of both is most likely.
Users not only click on more ads with video or rich media, but also tend to visit brand sites long after seeing the associated ad
Ad solution provider MediaMind found that web users in North America who were exposed to a campaign that included rich media display ads were nearly three times as likely as those who saw only standard banners to end up at a marketer’s website—either by clicking on the ad directly or by navigating to the site at a later date. Those exposed to banners that included online video were about 5.6 times as likely to visit a marketer’s site as those exposed to standard banners.Many marketers have moved past a direct-response-centric model for online display advertising, recognizing that despite low clickthrough rates, banner ads also have a branding effect. And research suggests that adding rich media or video to those banner ads can improve both types of response—increasing the likelihood users will click the ads as well as boosting the lingering brand awareness that results from viewing.
The study indicated that rich media and video boost metrics on both the direct response and branding sides. Rich media and video made users significantly more likely to click directly on display ads—in the case of video, the likelihood of clicking on an ad went up more than ninefold.
The branding effect was smaller, but still evident. Web users exposed to a campaign who did not click on the ad when first exposed to it but who later visited the marketer’s site were about twice as likely to be driven to do so by video or rich media as compared to standard banners.
eMarketer expects strong growth in spending on display advertising, especially video, this year. In the US, eMarketer projects advertisers will increase video ad spending by 54.7% and up investments in standard banners by nearly 20%. eMarketer predicts much lower growth for rich media ads, however, at just over 4%, as brands turn to true online video instead.
December 2011 research from digital ad agency ValueClick Media found that video was second to mobile as the leading channel marketers said they would increase spending on this year.
Did you hear about Nestle’s recent launch of Construye el Mejor Nido(“Create the Best Nest”), a new communications platform to reach the U.S. Hispanic market? Maybe you’ve seen or visited Unilever’s Vive Mejor (Live Better) program, a similar cross-platform effort to engage Hispanics around various Unilever brands. If you haven’t noticed, there has been a growing trend over the last five years among consumer goods companies to launch Hispanic multi-brand programs. Here is a brief summary of some of the larger Hispanic multi-brand platforms currently in market:
So what exactly are these multi-brand platforms? Simply put, they are efforts by companies that own and market multiple brands – think Proctor & Gamble – to collectively market a suite of brands together. We’ve all seen ads for Cheerios on TV. The multi-brand platform approach is when General Mills (the owner of Cheerios) pools all their major brands – such as Betty Crocker, Green Giant, Hamburger Helper, Nature Valley, Progresso, Yoplait and Cheerios – under a big umbrella brand. Sometimes that umbrella brand is the corporate brand – e.g., Kraft, Nestle, or S.C. Johnson. However for most of the Hispanic market efforts, the trend is towards creating a culturally relevant, unique Hispanic umbrella brand – such as Orgullosa or Que Rica Vida.
So what is the opportunity and benefit afforded by a Hispanic multi-brand program? The two biggest opportunities are cost-efficiency and cultural relevancy. Pooling marketing resources is a very attractive option for brand portfolios because developing unique brand platforms can get expensive. This is one of the reasons brand portfolios exist to begin with. This is particularly important when it comes to Hispanic marketing, where budgets are often limited, or nonexistent. In particular, a multi-brand platform provides an opportunity for smaller brands – with smaller, or no budgets – to share resources with larger brands. By pooling brand marketing resources, many companies are able to invest the resources necessary to create a truly relevant cultural platform to connect with Hispanics. Since most individual brands do not have the budget to develop a large integrated cultural communications platform, the multi-brand approach provides the resources necessary to do it right.
The multi-brand program concept was originally rooted in print and experiential environments, as pioneered in the Hispanic market by Sears Todo Para Ti in the ‘90s. Yet as digital – the Web, mobile and social media – has assumed a central role in these platforms, a natural question arises: Do these multi-brand platforms make sense in the digital world?
The answer is a resounding YES. A central tenet of these multi-brand platforms is to focus on providing valuable and culturally relevant content as a way of building brand awareness and affinity and ultimately product sales. The Web and social media are perfect media for content-focused marketing programs. A website, particularly one leveraging a robust content management system, is a potent publishing platform. By artfully integrating social media, brands have a potential for the most widespread distribution system we’ve seen to date to syndicate that content.
However, most of the Hispanic multi-brand platforms in market today are not fully leveraging their potential. This is manifesting itself in limited traffic levels, low levels of user generated content, and content that is not quite providing the utility they could to Hispanic digital users. Most importantly, while some offer English-language content, they have not been able to connect as effectively with acculturated Hispanics.
Where most of the multi-brand platforms are still not fully leveraging the opportunities afforded them digitally:
User-centered design User-centered design principles prioritize the needs of the end user, providing content and functionality that meets user goals. Most of the Hispanic multi-brand platforms are organized around how companies categorize their brands, not necessary the way Hispanics use them.
Content Strategy & Utility All of the multi-brand platforms offer high quality, professional content that is culturally relevant. However, is the content useful and meeting an unmet Hispanic consumer need? I did some very basic Spanish keyword volume research, and most of the multi-brand platforms fail to offer content that is relevant to the most popular search terms. Similarly, users are increasingly demanding and expecting video content online. These platforms should start to embrace a video-first content strategy.
User-Generated Content Getting users to contribute meaningful content on a consistent basis to a commercial marketing program is never easy. Getting Hispanics to contribute content is arguably a bigger challenge. However, I still believe there is a big opportunity to multi-brand platforms to creatively embrace and encourage community content. The potential for engagement and content utility is enormous.
Responsive Design Hispanics continue to outpace the general market in mobile Web browsing and tablet adoption making it imperative that all Hispanic digital programs embrace responsive design. Responsive design is a form of website visual and user experience design where the layout of a website adapts to the viewing environment – one website that adapts to the screen size of a desktop browser, tablet or mobile phone.
Content Distribution Whenever an organization or individual starts producing quality content, they should look to syndicate it. The Web is an increasingly fragmented environment, and it’s critical for multi-brand platforms to make sure their content is where their users are – and that is often not their websites.
Don’t get me wrong I think the aforementioned CPGs are way ahead of the game and on the right track. Brands in other categories should take a page from their CPG colleagues: many elements and opportunities of Hispanic multi-brand platform concept can be effectively applied to other industries, such as beverage companies, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and telecom. The first movers have the advantage now, but followers can build on the learnings of the pioneering Hispanic multi-brand platforms.
With their burgeoning numbers in the U.S. and their propensity for fresh fruits and vegetables, members of the Hispanic community make ideal produce department customers.
The U.S. Hispanic population has skyrocketed to 47 million consumers, says Rafael Hernandez, owner of Cincinnati-based Hispanic Marketing Insights.
Their numbers have expanded well beyond the Southwest and Florida.
Hispanic consumers have settled in many major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas and Charlotte, N.C., Hernandez says. There even are pockets of Hispanics in “secondary cities,” such as Cincinnati and Minneapolis.
Hispanics hail from many countries, including Argentina, Chile and Cuba, and each have their own produce preferences that should be catered to, he says. But also keep in mind that 65% of Hispanics in the U.S. are from Mexico or of Mexican descent.
Latinos now make up 16% of the nation’s population, says Eduardo Serena, marketing director for the Los Angeles-based Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Michoacán (APEAM).
This population rise provides retailers with valuable sales opportunities by allowing them to strategically market to the Latino consumer, Serena says.
Hispanics tend to prefer specific foods, Hernandez says, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
That includes lots of tropical produce, says Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Brooks Tropicals LLC, Homestead, Fla.
“Tropical produce is Latino produce,” she says. “It’s the fruit and vegetables that’s native to Latin cuisines.”
Yucca, yams, malanga, boniatos, and eddos are vital entries in the produce departments that want Hispanic trade, she says.
Hispanic shoppers will patronize stores that offer good quality and price, she adds.
Top 20 list
Retailers seeking to attract Hispanic shoppers should have a basic selection of 20 or so Hispanic items, including mangoes, guavas, jalapeno peppers and tomatillos, says Hernandez, who previously served as marketing director for Houston-based Fiesta Mart Inc.
Roma tomatoes, he adds, are critical, and pineapples, grapes and bananas also will bring in traffic.
“Because avocados are a food staple in the Latino household, Avocados from Mexico continuously invests in sales-building integrated marketing programs targeting Hispanic consumers,” Serena says.
Indeed, it’s important to let consumers know you have the items they want by advertising them, Hernandez says. Half the items on the front page of the typical advertising circular for Hispanic-oriented stores are perishables, he says.
And be sure to identify produce in-store with Spanish-language signs to make Hispanic shoppers feel welcome.
“It’s a sign of warmth, friendship, respect and acknowledgment,” Hernandez says.
Customers of the 33-store Gonzalez Northgate Market chain based in Anaheim, Calif., tend to be very habitual, says Alfonso Cano, assistant produce director.
“They buy the same top 10 items every week, regardless of price,” he says.
Those items include white onions, roma tomatoes, bananas, papayas, cilantro, bulk beans, chili peppers (such as serrano, jalapeno and pasilla) and tomatillos.
Hispanic consumers often shop three or four times a week, he says.
Northgate distributes its advertising circular to ZIP codes surrounding its stores and buys commercials on Spanish-language radio stations for holidays, weekends or “when we feel we need to push our customer count,” he says.
Once in a while, Northgate runs a TV ad, usually aimed at customers who have not tried the store or to announce the arrival of a new or seasonal item — such as honey tangerines.
The company strives to offer a fair price, Cano says.
“We have to be competitively priced — not necessarily the cheapest.”
On the East Coast, product selection and merchandising differentiate the 14 Compare Supermarkets from traditional stores, says Juan Diaz, store manager for a Brooklyn, N.Y., location of the Brooklyn-based chain.
About 75% of the store’s customers are Hispanic, he says, and they rely on the store to have the plantains — the most popular item in the produce department — yucca, malanga and other items they crave.
While other stores may have a small display of a handful of Hispanic items, Compare Supermarkets have a full line and merchandise them in large displays, Diaz says.
Hispanic items are featured on the front of the store’s ad as well as inside, he says.
At Northgate stores, because the chain offers high-quality produce at reasonable prices, many non-Hispanics shop there, too, which helps the company build its customer base, Cano says.
“We try not to be too ethnic for the non-ethnic customer or too non-ethnic for the ethnic customer,” Cano says.
There is at least one, if not several, produce specialists on the floor at all times who can offer product information, samples, or recipe suggestions for items consumers may not be familiar with.
Sundays and Mondays are the busiest days for the chain, with Saturday ranking third.
Cano sets up large displays of the 10 or 15 best-selling items, but he sparks impulse buys by strategically placing secondary displays throughout the store — in the meat or dairy departments, for example.
While most experts advise using Spanish-language signs in stores with a large Hispanic customer base, signs in Compare Supermarkets are in English, not Spanish or bilingual, Diaz says.
Diaz says he considers it his job to have plenty of everything his customers want on hand, since they rely on the store to keep their kitchens well supplied.
“We don’t want to be short,” he says. “You can lose a customer if you don’t have all the items they need.”
“Studies have shown your Hispanic (consumer) shops frequently and shops a variety of stores from bodegas to drug stores for groceries,” Ostlund of Brooks Tropicals says. “Play up how you sell best, and the Hispanic consumer may frequent your establishment more.”
Venture beyond papayas, mangoes, avocados and pineapples and merchandise starfruit, uniq fruit, passion fruit, ginger and other tropicals as well, she suggests.
Since Hispanics often shop several times a week, Hernandez says they tend to prefer ripened fruit to nonripened fruit.
They also prefer bulk product to packaged and are more concerned about the quality of their produce than how it looks. And they are impressed by large displays, which they associate with a product that is popular, reasonably priced and in good rotation.
“You don’t have to have beautiful displays that people are afraid to touch,” he says.