At DTC National: Finding the Common Ground

By Eric Talbot / Univision Insights

We recently joined DTC Perspectives once again for its annual gathering of healthcare thought leaders at the DTC National Conference. Throughout the event we constantly heard that the consumer is core to everything DTC (direct-to-consumer) marketers do. Mediapost Ad Critic Barbara Lippert said that we should zero in on the insight that gives your message a “human touch.” Marketing Strategist David Meerman Scott suggested that we all focus on “buyer personas” versus product details when building our marketing campaigns. These are reasons why we thought it was important to spend some time talking about how to approach Hispanic consumers with messages relevant to them. The reality is, embracing similarities is as important as celebrating differences.

During my presentation, I used the “apples to oranges” example to illustrate this. Typically, that expression is meant to denote things that couldn’t be more different from one another. But what about the similarities? They are both fruits, round, relatively the same size and used to make juice. The list can go on and on.

Our consumer segments are much the same in that it can be easy to find common ground between our non-Hispanic and multicultural targets such as the U.S. Hispanic consumer. We recommend that you uncover those similarities with solid research upfront: make sure your foundational research includes a representative sample of all of your potential consumers, including the option to survey in Spanish.

Often when you start by looking for the similarities you can find creative solutions that connect with the entire audience or at most require a small cultural twist.

Niaspan is a perfect example of this. The brand knew that high cholesterol was not only a Caucasian problem so they developed creative for the general population, as well as African-American and Hispanic audiences. All three “intervention” spots featured intimate discussions with a family member suffering from high cholesterol and capitalized on the universal insight of family as a great motivator to better health. While each had its own approach, Niaspan was able to connect with distinct audiences using a consistent positioning and message.

The general population ad was a frank, forward sister-to-sister discussion. The African-American ad showcased a daughter expressing her worries over a video chat. In the Hispanic version, a mother-daughter pair sits down face-to-face with their father-husband and address the topic delicately and with great concern.

Another brand that benefited from focusing on similarities was Mucinex. When they decided to target Hispanics they discovered that their English-language creative could be adapted with just a change in voiceover. The sales lift generated was one of the highest Symphony IRI had measured – proof positive that it can be that easy if the universal insight exists and the execution “speaks” culture.

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