Millennials, Hispanic marketing, and the authenticity trap
May 23, 2019
by Sarah Liddle is Vice President, Sales, at MRI-Simmons.
In the drive to build cred and radiate authenticity, making sure that your materials are fully bilingual is certainly near the top of every aspiring crossover brand’s checklist. To those on the outside trying to get in, speaking Spanish seems like an indispensable element of effective Hispanic marketing.
New findings from MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer®, however, point to the ambiguous and sometimes unpredictable reactions that Spanish-language marketing can evoke. Over one-quarter of Millennials, for example, agree completely – the highest level on a five-point scale – that speaking English is “a priority” in their homes. That is 16% higher than the overall Hispanic average.
A remarkable 42% of Millennials also agree completely that “being part of American culture is important to me” – 10% above average, and higher than the scores for Gen X and Baby Boomers.
At the same time, Millennials are less likely to agree strongly that “companies who advertise in Spanish respect my culture and want my business.” On this question, Millennials are 13% below the Hispanic average – while Generation X and Baby Boomers are both well above.
In fact, Boomers seem to be the most swayed by Spanish-language efforts, posting the highest levels on questions like, “I am more likely to pay attention to … and remember” advertisements in Spanish.
All three generations post levels of two-thirds or greater in agreeing that “it is important for Hispanic parents to teach Spanish to their children” – although, of the three generations, Millennials have the lowest score here as well.
The answers to these 19 new attitudinal questions recently added to MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer® – which will be tracked over time – reflect the complex experience of having simultaneous ties to two (or three, or more) cultures; inconsistency is not surprising, and in fact…revealing.
The lesson is that authenticity is not about a list of agenda items, or a recipe with three or four ingredients; it is a journey of continual listening, not wedded to any one goal or idea or action.