Hispanic Millennials: One size doesn't fit all

One in five Millennials living in the US is Hispanic, and while Hispanic Millennials share similarities with the rest of their generation, they are a dynamic group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and distinct traits.

One in five Millennials living in the US is Hispanic, and while Hispanic Millennials share similarities with the rest of their generation, they are a dynamic group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and distinct traits. 

Each contribution in this three-part series will provide strategic insights on how to reach a different segment within the US Hispanic population, beginning with the one I know best. I am proud to be a part of the “one in five” and will share five things to remember when engaging Hispanic Millennials: 

1. Earn their trust now
According to the 2010 US Census, the median age of US Hispanics hovers around 28-- a bull's eye target for many brands. While they already have brands they are loyal to, they are more likely to try new products they perceive as genuine and to share their opinions with others. When projecting future sales goals and growth, brands should particularly consider the younger set of US Hispanic Millennials as a long-term investment. Winning them over won't happen overnight; brands must make a genuine cultural promise and long-term commitment to this community, but it has the potential to pay off for years to come.

2. Create a brand “para mi” too
Hispanic Millennials are extremely savvy, and they need to feel confident that brands value their opinions and genuinely understand and appreciate their cultural intricacies. An example of a brand creating a product “para mi” is Doritos' launch of Dinamita Nacho Picoso, rolled tortilla chips that are similar to taquitos (also known as flautas), a common Latin American dish. This not only illustrates Doritos understands the culture and flavor preferences of this community, but underscores the influence Hispanic Millennials and the Latin palette have on driving mainstream trends and new products. 

3. Speak English, act Latino
Most Hispanic Millennials were born in the US and while they may prefer speaking and consuming media in English, many are still holding onto their Latin heritage. These US Hispanics are truly living the best of both worlds: they listen to Calle 13 and Jay-Z and eat arroz con pollo and mac and cheese interchangeably. This is a group that cares deeply about maintaining their cultural identity but is also open to adopting new traditions that fit their lifestyle and they are seeking brands that understand their biculturalism as they navigate life between languages and cultures. In an effort to culturally connect with Hispanic Millennials, consider what aspect of their heritage and tradition they are closely trying to maintain and show that you advocate for them. In essence, your brand's communication strategy should focus on being “culturally fluent,” with language becoming secondary.

4. Give them someone to relate to
This new American reality is quickly being embraced by some brands, and time will tell how effective these campaigns are in driving loyalty and sales. CoverGirl recently caught the eye of our Hispanic strategies and solutions team at Hunter PR when they announced their latest spokesperson, Becky G, who starred in their first-ever bilingual commercial during Univision's Premios Juventud. The 16-year-old Mexican-American singer is the perfect example of a Hispanic Millennial representing the bicultural and bilingual lifestyle. 

5. Reach them where they upload and download
Hispanic Millennials are embracing social and digital media more than any other segment of the population. Compared to the general market, Latinos tend to be more brand-loyal and rely heavier on word-of-mouth recommendations. For entertainment, they seek out user-generated content they can relate to and are spending time on platforms that allow them to share their opinions about life, work, and products and services they care about. Social and digital media offer an immediate way into to engage this demographic and start a meaningful and dynamic dialogue.

Imagine the impact of effectively engaging the fasting growing segment of the population in addition to the general market. If you're not investing resources to reach 20% of your consumer target, perhaps it's time to reevaluate your approach. In my next article, we'll hone in on the male Latino consumer and explore what's driving his purchasing decisions and which brands are successfully leading that charge.

Annette González-Malkin is VP at Hunter Public Relations in New York City dedicated to the agency's Hispanic strategies and solutions practice.

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