The Hispanic 101 IPO

IPOs1By Richard Vasquez 

Moody’s just updated Univision’s rating to “positive” from “stable” clearing the way for owners of Univision to recoup their investment through an IPO sometime in 2015. Great news for Univision owners and for Hispanic Market marketers as well.

Wall Street loves Univision because they are paying down their debt and have a great outlook for sales growth thanks to the 2016 presidential campaign when it is predicted that Latinos will play an even bigger role in determining who is elected President. That is the great news for Univision. Much of this debate will play out on Spanish language media where Latinos still congregate for relevant content that reflects their new role as integral to the new American mainstream. That is the great news for Hispanic Market marketers.

But why is this so? Because it proves that Hispanic Marketing is alive and well and focused on aligning the Latino narrative of making the transition from “immigrant” to community building and the multicultural future. It is a narrative of immigrants coming to the US for a better life, of having to hide in the shadows for half of a generation, of forming families with US born children, and of laying down roots in inner-city neighborhoods and building communities with strong economic and social networks geared to being productive and making a contribution to the culture.

The Latino influence is being felt across the board in American culture and it will take increased marketing investment and content development in Spanish language media and elsewhere to help align the narrative of a newly empowered, youthful Latino core to the major political and consumer brands that want to tap the Latino space.

It would be a big mistake to assume that Latinos are typical “American” voters and that all it takes is a “Spanish language version” of the overall campaign to get results. Remember the Obamacare launch, where even in media sophisticated California, the first attempts at getting mass Latino sign-ups fell on deaf ears. One big reason was that organizers simply translated English language content developed for other target audiences and aired it all over Spanish television without aligning the Latino healthy living narrative to the national conversation of healthcare and acquisition of insurance products.

Candidates and their consultants that use Spanish media to reach this vital voting block, should keep in mind these three things:

  1. Create original multi-channel content that allows real people to tell real stories about their US experience;
  2. Touch them through sponsorship of events. Remember, before you can get a vote you have to make a friend. Leverage Latino sociability by sponsoring local community events and large “fiestas” and lifestyle expos where families and neighbors gather to socialize and to share a common experience in a trusted setting; and
  3. Use media to frame the insights you uncover and that fill in the story of inclusion and multiculturalism. In today’s media landscape media partners can offer a wide array of tools that go beyond simply placing ads. Integrated segments in news and specialty programming, event sponsorship, multi-platform on-line activation are but a few.

For generations, Latinos have relied on Spanish language television and radio content to help shape and define the narrative of their experience in the US. Its like looking through a portal and seeing stories of people that look like you and talk like you enjoying the benefits of what America has to offer. These are powerful vehicles that drill deep into the core for what sets off emotion and action among Latinos. And as we have seen, in close races, it can mean the difference between winning and losing.

In 2016, when the money starts pouring into Spanish speaking media to sway and provoke the conscience and subconscious of people already engaged in community building, candidates, as many smart brands have learned, have to align their vision for America to the narrative of a strong and resilient community united by their love for family, traditions, language and the great opportunities this country has to offer. And that is an IPO worth investing in.

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