Brands target Hispanic shoppers

22 November 2010

NEW YORK: Brand owners including Best Buy, Coca-Cola and Ford are attempting to enhance their connection with Hispanic consumers in the US.

Ford, the automotive giant, introduced a dedicated online portal for this audience ten years ago, but last year hired specialist website translation company MotionPoint to revamp its output.

Trisha Habucke, the carmaker's digital marketing manager, suggested the original offering delivered a "very poor experience."

Ford has also produced a bespoke Spanish-language mobile hub, and argued it enjoys substantial benefits from possessing greater flexibility.

"The technology that MotionPoint provides enables us to translate millions of words within 24 hours," Habucke told the New York Times. "Prior to having them it was all manual translation."

In August, 55,000 people visited Ford's Spanish website and 14,000 accessed the equivalent for wireless handsets, and the Michigan-based firm intends to boost its understanding of this segment going forward.

"It's been very encouraging," said Habucke. "There's no benchmark. No one knows what an industry standard is yet."

MotionPoint has worked with other corporations such as fast-food group KFC, sports specialist Puma, fashion brand Oakley and pharma manufacturer Tylenol.

"What we're seeing is clients who are looking for growth outside their normal market, and often that market speaks a different language," said Charles Whiteman, svp, client services, at MotionPoint.

"If we're serious about targeting this consumer, this target market, we need to speak their language."

Pizza chain Papa John's International runs parallel web and mobile services in a similar manner to Ford, and revealed a greater proportion of Hispanic customers place orders using cellphones.

"Now almost 30% of our sales come online, since we launched our new English and Spanish desktop and smartphone-optimised mobile sites in October," said Jim Ensign, vp, digital marketing.

Electronics retailer Best Buy has built microsites, apps and catalogues in Spanish, alongside translating text messages such as its regular "Deal of the Week."

During the FIFA World Cup, Best Buy sponsored Univision's smartphone app, and the organisations jointly constructed a mobile platform aimed specifically at the Hispanic demographic.

"We try to connect with customers around their passion points," said Ana Grace, Best Buy's site manager for Latino initiatives and online catalogues.

She added that the average order on the Spanish website was twice the value of the English alternative, partly as it allowed large numbers of people to conduct research in the language they were most comfortable with.

"So many brands try to simply translate their site," said Jessica Pantanini, chairwoman of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.

"You've got to make sure that you're connecting with your consumer in a relevant way in language. What's the right spin, the angle? You've got to have the right strategy."

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks titan, also provided members of its MyCokeRewards loyalty scheme with the chance to win a trip to Walt Disney World and meet two telenevola stars.

"For more than 100 years, Coca-Cola has been part of the dreams and celebrations shared by Hispanic families," said Reinaldo Padua, assistant vp, Hispanic marketing, Coca-Cola North America.

"From bautizos to quinceañeras, from our kids' sports victories to graduation and treasured family vacations, Coke has always been there to ... bring people together."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by Warc staff