Making the Connection

During a recent trip to Los Angeles, two colleagues and I dined at a Spanish restaurant awarded by Los Angeles Times as one of the top “Most Memorable Dining Experiences.” After a rough start with our designated waiter, Raul, a Latino waiter who had been watching us, came to our rescue. He was determined to make sure we felt welcome and that we would enjoy their creative approach to Spanish cuisine. Even more than the food, it was Raul’s attentive and personal approach that really made the experience memorable for us. It made me think about how we as consumers desire experiences from brands, not just transactions. Consumers these days demand more than a product. They want a relationship.

Still, it seems that many companies haven’t yet created this sort of relationship with Hispanics. A recent study from Newlink Research revealed that nearly 42% of Hispanics believe that U.S. companies have little respect for them as consumers. That’s pretty scary, and a little sad. For Hispanics, feeling respected by brands has a lot to do with feeling understood. For some of our brands, this understanding has led to new ways of connecting with Hispanics.

From a pharma perspective, we’ve long relied on relationship-building to help doctors connect with patients. The materials we create for our Hispanic pharma initiatives, regardless of the brand, aim to improve the relationship between doctors and their patients by providing education, fostering discussion, and even helping Hispanics incorporate their families into the treatment process. By speaking to Hispanics in their language and acknowledging their unique views on health and medicine, we’ve been able to create lasting relationships between brands, doctors, and Hispanic patients. 

You might not think that women are seeking a relationship with a product as simple as fabric softener, but our research revealed that scent had a particular significance for Latinas. They express their uniqueness and their personality through fragrance and scent, and fabric softener is no exception. With that in mind, we focused our communications less on the functional benefits of the fabric softener, and more on the emotional benefits. By helping our Latina express herself and find the scent that was the best fit for her personality (seductive, passionate or serene), we were able to give her not only the product she needed but also the experience she desired. Our deep understanding of the Latina target helped us initiate a more personal, experiential relationship with her and placed the brand on track to grow Hispanic volume share for the first time in three years.

Brands that understand the kinds of experiences Hispanics are seeking, and how to deliver on those desires in a culturally relevant way, are taking the best first step towards a long-lasting relationship with them. 

Tags: hispanics
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1 comment about "Making the Connection ".
  1. Zeph Snapp from Not Just SEO , May 17, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.
    I love this article! It completely describes our approach to marketing. Hispanics (like most people) need to make an actual connection, with a person or a brand. The difference is that unlike most of America, Hispanics can still remember when they knew their butcher, grocer, and the person who sells them liquor. This means that you have to treat them like a friend first, customer second.