Seeing the future at the LatinVision CEOs Summit

24th Oct 2013 | Posted by Kerri Allen Kerri Allen's picture

The News Corp. tower on Sixth Avenue played host to the 6th Annual LatinVision CEOs Summit last week, where I was invited speak and connect with some of the Hispanic media industry’s visionaries and rainmakers. The marketplace is changing rapidly and brands, agencies and media are reacting in creative and innovative ways.

Carlos Vassallo, LatinVision Media CEO, shared Univision’s visually-arresting video “The New American Reality”, which underscores the issue: “Without me, playgrounds in Texas would be half empty. If I were a country, I’d be the second-largest Spanish speaking country in the world. You see me every day, but do you know who I am?”

To try and answer that and other important questions, more than 125 media, agency and brand leaders converged to uncover the opportunity behind the growing Hispanic market — a demographic touted to be as landscape-altering as the Baby Boomers. It may be true. Today, 25% of kindergartners are Hispanic and according to Census data, 20% (over 8.5 million) of  millennials are too. (Compare that to 1970, when the entire U.S. Hispanic population was 9 million people.)

It was fitting, then, for this Summit to take place in the building that houses media giants like The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, and MundoFOX broadcasting and Fox News Latino. The latter is an English-language web and social media property that launched three years ago. It was among the first, but many have followed. Café Mom went live with Mamás Latinas in 2011, Cosmopolitan launched Cosmo for Latinas last year and Woman’s Day for Latinas hits newsstands and Facebook next month.

But the biggest buzz in this media sector has been around Univision and ABC’s new cable channel Fusion, which debuts at 7pm ET on Monday, October 28. (Morning shows Good Morning America and Despierta América are airing a historic co-production the same day to hype the launch.) These are all examples of cross-culturalism, which was the topic I addressed that afternoon along with how Cohn & Wolfe’s own INFUSE group uniquely approaches communications.

“Multicultural” refers to various cultures co-existing but not necessarily overlapping or stepping into each other’s territory. New technology, social media and the inherent diversity of the U.S. have broken a lot of that down. Today it’s less about “live and let live” and more about “show me what that is.” Cross-culturalism, in contract, defines how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate in similar and different ways and hop into each other’s cultures and communities. Many Latinos naturally do this, by virtue of living in two languages and two cultures…and they’re influencing the larger culture.

The Futures Company urges marketers to “recognize and act on the complexity now associated with cultural identity and intercultural influence. Many consumers now identify with icons, activities, traits, etc. that have not been historically or typically linked to their particular race or ethnicity.”

During the Entertainment and Media panel, Mónica Gil, senior vice president of government and public affairs at Nielsen shared key findings from their 2013 report The Latina Power Shift. The report states that, “Latinas are making the conscious choice to hold onto Spanish in combination with English.Some marketers assume that Millennial Latinas will be vastly different from their older counterparts and shift to English dominance, but that is not supported in the data. Millennial Latinas, significantly more likely to be U.S. born, have similar levels of Spanish and English use compared to older Latinas.”

Donna Kalajian Lagani, SVP/publishing director of both Cosmpolitan and Cosmopolitan for Latinas, shared a video of English-preferring Latinas in their early 20s. These self-assured millennials affirmed that they were fully bicultural, bilingual and not compromising on being “American” or “Latina.” They’re both. They’re presumably why Cosmopolitan for Latinas was born. The standard Cosmo didn’t resonate, Cosmpolitan en Español wasn’t in their preferred (reading) language, so here was a middle path.

My biggest takeaway was this: reach young Latina women via mobile—in English and Spanish--or you’ll miss massive market share. These are the buyers of today, the moms of the future and the plugged-in, share-happy leaders of the social media sphere. Many brands and marketers continue to incorrectly assume that Latinos don’t use mobile. That couldn’t be less true. In fact, Hispanics own and use smartphones more than the non-Hispanic white population in the U.S. (60% compared to 53%, Pew Internet Spring Tracking Survey, April 17-May 19, 2013).

After a long day of thinking and debating, “The New American Reality” video capped off the Summit’s presentation portion. The room erupted in applause before heading off to cocktails, where the catering deftly reflected the market: sliders and empanadas, Budweiser and margaritas. And we didn’t have to choose. Everyone could have a bit of both.


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