By Brenda Kahn
Senior Public Information Officer
Metropolitan Transportation Commission & Bay Area Toll Authority
You may not have heard of the character “La Mala Suerte,” but for tens of thousands of Hispanic American consumers, this comedic embodiment of bad luck is very familiar, and has become synonymous with Allstate Insurance. The gist of the Spanish-language TV ad and social media campaign is that wherever the suave La Mala Suerte character goes, mayhem is sure to follow. La Mala Suerte also serves a larger role, symbolizing a vibrant and lucrative new thrust in communications and advertising.
The members of the SF Public Relations Round Table came face to face with La Mala Suerte at their July luncheon, where marketing consultant Juan F. Lezama spoke about the growing political influence and buying power of the Hispanic market in the U.S. The director of Mosaico, a Hispanic- and Spanish-language focused division of Fineman PR in San Francisco, Lezama presented some compelling numbers.
According to Lezama, Hispanics now make up 17 percent of the U.S. population, and 40 percent of the population in California. This population group accounts for one in four births, and collectively possesses $1.5 trillion in buying power per year. And these figures are growing rapidly.
The Hispanic market is also going more upscale: The segment of the Hispanic population earning more than $110,000 a year has grown 221 percent over the last decade, he said. Companies are noting these trends, with such luxury brands as BMW, Gucci and Ralph Lauren all launching campaigns targeting Hispanics.
“All industries — from government, telecommunications, financial, technology, travel, education, pharmaceutical and healthcare — must actively target Hispanic consumers if they want to grow,” Lezama said.
Three industries in particular are aggressively going after the Hispanic market: food and beverage, automotive and telecommunications. Lezama also predicts more cross-border marketing between Mexico and the U.S., as Mexican brands gain a larger foothold in this country and as Hispanics look south of the border for their entertainment and cultural fixes.
Communicating with Hispanic consumers involves more than translating materials into Spanish — especially since 22 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population speaks only English. “To achieve optimal results, companies and organizations must commit to building a relationship with this community,” he said.
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