Pokémon Go is the fastest mobile game to reach 10 million downloads. It’s official: Augmented and virtual reality is the new frontier. Every time I am out and about and see an increasing number of people staggering around with their eyes glued to their phones, I find myself thinking about the marketing opportunities this new technology represents, especially for U.S. Hispanics.
Hispanics are eager to experience virtual and augmented reality
I’m not surprised that Hispanics over-index in their usage and intended usage of virtual reality. Hispanics have demonstrated time and time again they are trendsetters and early adopters when it comes to technology. They are among the most active ethnic groups when it comes to smartphone adoption and usage, social media, and online video; it follows that they are on the forefront of virtual reality.
According to research summarized in Mario Carrasco’s recent Engage:Hispanics column, 54% of Hispanics are interested in purchasing a VR product compared to just 44% of Caucasians. A 2015 study by Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research substantiates the fact that Hispanics are early adopters of VR, finding that 43% are “aware and excited for VR” compared to just 30% of Caucasians.
As we have discussed in this column, Hispanics are on the cutting edge of technology because they are young, have friends and family outside the U.S. who they want to keep in touch with, and because they want to consume and create content that is relevant to them culturally.
These insights can help marketers craft a VR strategy for connecting with the largest minority group in the U.S.
Marketers should lead with cultural relevance to connect with Hispanics via VR
Brands have already jumped into what Fast Company reports will be a $30 billion VR ecosystem by 2020. Ikea is dabbling with VR via their Kitchen Experience, Kellogg and McDonald's are leveraging VR headsets to create immersive experiences for their customers, while carmakers Toyota and Infinity are experimenting with VR showrooms and test drives. U.S. Hispanics will certainly engage with general market VR campaigns, but given their immense buying power and interest in VR, proactive brands will begin to execute VR campaigns targeted to them.
To cut through the virtual clutter that is likely to arise, we recommend that marketers lead with cultural relevance to best connect with U.S. Hispanics via VR.
Brands should consider the unique cultural needs of U.S. Hispanics at the outset of planning of a VR campaign and address them in the actual experience and promotion of the campaign. Brands could even take it a step further and create custom U.S. Hispanic VR campaigns. For example, Orbitz could create a VR experience that allows first generation U.S. Hispanics to explore their country of origin. Rosetta Stone could help Spanish-preferring U.S. Hispanics learn English or English-preferring U.S. Hispanics learn Spanish via an immersive language learning application.
I look forward to strapping on my VR headset to experience how brands engage with U.S. Hispanics and hope my experience will be culturally relevant.