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Planning Account Planning in the Hispanic Market

Posted on November 16, 2005 and read 7,441 times

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Why should agencies in the Hispanic market start seriously to implement true account planning within their organizations? Because the Hispanic consumer deserves it.

Let’s be honest. Until recently our market has had a pure implementation of two kinds of “mirror” approaches: One is the “brand-centric” approach, based on a re-application of the brand message with the wrongly named, tacked-on “Hispanic insights.” More accurate would be to call it “outsights” — which uses some external elements -Hispanic customs, slang and icons among others — that are added to the pre-existing brand. This approach has helped some brands with Hispanic consumers under the guise of “this is how you behave” approach, but, is this enough to successfully connect with our target?

The other “mirror” strategy is the “consumer-centric” approach, which listens to what consumers are saying but not necessarily interpreting them for optimum potential. Family plays a huge part in Hispanic life, as do other traditional values, but it is critical that agencies interpret what they really mean. The “this is who you are” approach could connect with the consumer, but it may also hinder the surprise effect, and therefore, could lack differentiation or recall.

The most effective approach is a strategic and creative combination of both “mirrors.” Instead of reflecting a reality by holding a mirror in front of consumers, we should always try to project an aspiration, showing consumers how great their lives could be if they embrace the brand promise that Brand X offers. We should invest more time and energy on our strategic thinking process, in identifying the best way to make consumers want to acquire something – Brand X or just the attitude that comes with it. To achieve this, we should remember that Hispanics are human beings.

Hispanics see themselves as human beings before they see themselves as Hispanics. Let’s remember that the term “Hispanic” is utilized to group all people who are of Latin descent living in the United States. Marketers believe that what defines Latinos first is their ethnicity, when in reality, this is just one of the elements that defines them. Granted, this is an important part of their lives as it encompasses a large set of values, but who they are as individuals is more important. Once we’ve uncovered their different reality or context, we should keep scratching the surface to find what truly worries or moves them as human beings to later identify the strongest insights that will establish a connection with the brand.

We are faced with a tremendous challenge. Our reality is very unique. We’re not creating advertising for our neighbors, friends or relatives. The beauty of our market is that it is wide and rich in variety, constantly growing and changing. We have to deal with a “multidimensional mindset” instead of dealing with the unique mindset of our “neighbor” that has a similar background, hobbies and attitudes toward life as we do.

We also have the opportunity of becoming an authority for the rest of the industry. We can uncover what consumers really want and establish a successful relationship with brands that were already “alive” before consumers were “born” in this country. Isn’t that unique? Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that so exciting?

We should all aim to get to that point of strategic excellence. Let’s plan to truly plan what we say to the Hispanic consumer, and how we say it. Let’s do it for our industry’s reputation. Let’s do it for our consumer, because they deserve it. Let’s do it to make our consumer’s life much better, or at least, much more fulfilling. Let’s recognize that there’s much more to be done here. That is, let’s believe in planning account planning in the Hispanic market.


Alex G-Pallete is Vice President/Director of Account Planning at The Vidal Partnership in New York City. His multinational planning experience ranges from Madrid, Buenos Aires, Miami/Latin America.






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