Why you need to “Multiculturize” your brand
There is a huge emerging Latino wave “Multiculturizing” America that will also change the mainstream market in the US. Latinos represent a massive $1.3 trillion in purchasing power and 56% of US population growth. The Latino population is 52 million strong and growing, they represent 17% of the US population. The number of Latinos living in the US is expected to grow up to 29% of the population by 2050 according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
US born millennial Latinos are driving this huge wave as they will represent 80% of 18-29 year old US population growth by 2015 according to the Pew Hispanic Center. These Latinos unlike their parents want to stand out and be noticed, they want to do good in the world and get ahead embracing a working class moral compass. They are becoming more educated and more affluent: Latino college enrollment grew 20% in 2011 and Latino affluent households now number 5 million. The US born Latinos’ heart is Latino but their head and aspirations are American. Their heart is rooted in their Latino culture so they embrace their family, food, music, and community. Their aspirations reflect the American cultural values of education, financial success and freedom.
The rise of US born Latinos has fueled the new Latino status as today’s SUPER TRENDSETTERS. They are rapidly becoming the most influential voice in business & politics. Their deciding role in the outcome of the 2012 US presidential election was the watershed moment for Latino influence in the US. Latinos are having a powerful influence over non-Latinos by spreading their culture and shopping preferences through technology at higher rates. Latinos are twice as likely vs. non-Latinos to be first to share with friends and try new products first. They also shop more with mobile phones (56% vs. 33%) and tablets (43% vs. 25%) vs. non-Latinos according to the “Latino Shop” study by the Center for Hispanic Leadership. Retailers across all channels are trying to find ways to capture this trendsetting and extremely attractive Latino shopper. They know that Latino households will actually spend more at retail than white non-Latino households over their lifetime: 48 % in food consumed at home and away, 82% in apparel and 22% in personal care products according to Convenience Store News.
Latino culture, food, music and overall product preferences are very attractive to non-Latinos so the more they are exposed these influences the more they will embrace them. Latino influence has already inspired a growing number of non-Latino mainstream consumers to embrace Latino culture, food, music, fashion, sports and shopping preferences. According to a study by the Latino influence project by Experian marketing non-Latinos living in high-density Latino neighborhoods behave, buy and believe more similarly to Latinos than non-Latinos living in low-density Latino neighborhoods. These non-Latinos were 5.5 times more likely to eat jalapenos, 2 times more likely to shop organic and natural food, 6 times more likely to listen to and enjoy salsa and merengue and 70% more likely to experiment with new clothing styles.
In popular culture Latino celebrities are all the rage as evidenced by the popularity of Sofia Vergara, Pitbull, and Shakira now the new judge on the popular show “The Voice”. Latin food and beverages have won over the American palate and are expected to grow 31% over the next 5 years to $10.7 billion in sales. Tortillas now outsell spaghetti, macaroni, pasta, hamburger and hot dog buns and salsa is growing twice as fast as ketchup according to Packaged Facts 2012. Top Latin food chefs are more popular than ever as evidenced by their huge foodie following and the fact that they are widely considered as the ones to watch at the 2013 James Beard awards. Walmart launched Supermercados (Latin grocery format stores) in some markets and has expanded their Latin food aisles in many stores, in Florida Publix launched Publix Sabor. In fast casual restaurants Chipotle is a shining light increasing sales by 20.2% in 2012 according to the research firm Technomic.
It is very clear that Latino influence has hit the mainstream in a big, big way. This influence on mainstream market will continue to grow as more non-Latinos discover more of the beautiful, colorful and flavorful world of Latino culture, food, music, and fashion. But, yet there remains a lack of Latin inspired products and brands that reflect this new market reality. Brands that don’t embrace Latino inspiration will lose relevance not only with Latinos but also with what we at Marketealo have coined “The Latino influenced mainstream” consumer. This consumer is comprised of non-Latinos that are being influenced by Latino culture and that will demand more Latino inspired brands and products. The most visible examples of this can be seen in the food & beverage, retail, entertainment and restaurant industries who should be the first ones to evaluate how their product offerings and brands are addressing the needs of this Latin influenced consumer.
The need to “Multiculturize” brands to continue to be relevant in this rapidly changing Latino influenced marketplace couldn’t be more urgent. “Multiculturize” is what we at Marketealo call the process of infusing Latino inspiration into brands and products to win with the Latin influenced mainstream and multicultural markets. “Multiculturizing” encompasses product innovation, brand positioning and go to market plans. There is not a once size fits all solution here, the amount and type of Latin influence needed will have to be tailored for each brand’s situation. Latin inspiration can range from a very subtle infusion to a full embrace. Brands should be wise to seize the moment and get Latin inspired to capitalize on this fantastic market opportunity.
Arturo Nava is Managing Partner at Marketealo, a strategic brand marketing and innovation firm focused on creating and marketing Latin inspired brands to help companies win in the Latin inspired mainstream and multicultural markets.