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5 Brands That Understand The Latino Market

Posted By: SGK May 12, 2015

Has your brand been paying attention to the Latino market? If not, it should. The proof is in the data: Recent reports show Latinos are the fastest growing segment in the U.S., accounting for 17 percent of the American population (near 54 million, according to the Census Bureau). And if you combine the approximate 123 million people in Mexico alone with the people in 25 countries across Central and South America, the Latino market is 600 million strong -- one of the largest potential markets in the world.
So what can your brand do to stand out? In the past it may have been enough to translate brand campaigns into Hispanic languages, but this is no longer the case. For brands to really succeed in this growing market, brand owners need to design campaigns specifically targeted to Latino’s and their cultural expectations, says Marina Sanchez, Director of Business Development for Latin America at SGK.
Here are a few brands that have had great success by remaining true to the essence of their brands while adapting to local needs and aspirations.

1. Bimbo
The Mexican-based company wanted to have a consistent approach across the region but faced a cultural challenge related to its main brand. When entering the Brazilian market, it realized that the word "Bimbo" in Portuguese could have an offensive meaning without any such connotations in Spanish. Research conducted with potential consumers showed that the word "Bimbo," if used alone, in fact did have a negative connotation in Brazil. But when presented in context (used as a brand logo, with rounded, soft letters and associated with the brand's character, a friendly teddy bear), the reception changed completely. By appealing to the emotional side of the Brazilian audience, the brand managed to convey a completely opposite and very positive message and was able to maintain the desired consistency in different countries.

2. Budweiser
One of Anheuser-Busch InBev's global brands, Budweiser has been successful in the Latino market, appealing to a range of audiences in terms of both economic and cultural differences. While Bud has a "mainstream" approach in the U.S., the brand has a "premium" yet trendy and highly aspirational positioning for Latino markets, such as Argentina and especially Brazil. By closely linking the brand with cool music, technology, and sports, Budweiser has built a strong connection with young beer drinkers in Latino markets, reaching the top position in the premium beer segment in its largest market: Brazil, the brand's second largest market overall (after the U.S.).

3. Danone
The French Danone has had fantastic performance in the region. A big reason for its success? A mix of different products within the region based on a deep understanding of local tastes. The products available differ from country to country, focusing on the flavors and products that speak to local consumers. For instance, Danone recently introduced 18 new flavors of Activia yogurt in Brazil. Some flavors are designed to appeal directly to the local market, including Pineapple & Orange as well as Banana & Apple. These locally focused flavors have strengthened Danone's presence in the market, which has historically shown lower consumption of yogurt products in Latino countries when compared to European countries. 

4. Colgate
With excellent penetration in emerging markets, such as Venezuela and Equador, the personal care brand Colgate knows how to communicate with Latin American consumers. In fact, the Latino consumer is responsible for 29 percent of Colgate's net sales, according to Forbes. That’s because Colgate understands the purchasing power in the Latino market is still lower when compared to North America. The company maintains its brand essence and color equities but adapts to economic and cultural needs by using smaller pack sizes, encouraging trials, and introducing value packs. Colgate also understands the desire within the market for access to more efficient and refined products. Thus, it consistently launches innovative, new products to maintain its leadership position in the Latino market. 

5. Knorr
One of the most popular food brands in the region, Knorr has an approach to launching products that's similar in all markets but adapts to local tastes in much the same way Danone does. Knorr offers different products and flavors in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia. In Peru, for example, the "Fuchifu" soup, a Peruvian recipe with oriental influences, is part of Knorr's instant soups offering and has become a tremendous success. In Brazil, Knorr's "Sopão" addresses the desire to gather the family for a hearty and delicious meal. Knorr's extensive range also includes light (0 percent fat) and low-sodium options, understanding that health concerns are becoming more significant for Latinos. 

As these examples show, successful marketers shouldn't take a "one-size-fits-all" approach to launching campaigns and products in the Latino market. Because the market is so vast, brand owners must do their homework and understand the cultural nuances and differing tastes, preferences, and attitudes that affect buying behaviors throughout. Those who take the time to create a lasting connection, show respect for the cultural differences across the market, and demonstrate a willingness to evolve as the Latino community grows will be rewarded with what all brand owners want -- brand loyalty in a quickly expanding market.