When AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing (AHAA) became the Culture Marketing Council (CMC) earlier this year, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was an act of name changing or game changing. Recently, the organization held its first conference under its new name, tackling its theme of “The Power of C3,” referring to creativity, community, and culture.
From the opening keynote by Target’s CMO, Rick Gomez, to HispanicAd’s closing Culture Account Planning Excellence (CAPE) awards, it became clear that we were witnessing an exciting act of frame changing, a shift in perspective that allows one to see things in a whole new light. It has been said that changing the way people look at things is at the heart of learning and the start of changing the way people do things. CMC is off to a great start.
Here are four key themes, or should I say c-themes, that rose to the top:
CQ In a session titled “Hispanic Brand in the Trump Era,” Liliana Gil Valletta, CEO of CIEN+, introduced the concept of cultural intelligence (CQ) and the importance of leveraging the strengths of the industry’s collective cultural acumen to “reclaim alternative facts.” She stressed the importance of resisting victim mentality in favor of victor mentality. The next day, that idea was brought to life by actor Danny Trejo. Trejo spent much of his youth in prison, and he used this experience to reframe stereotypes and embrace playing to his strengths.
Context Pepsi’s VP/general manager, Marissa Solis, zeroed in on the flaws of a one-size-fits-all total market approach, suggesting that the industry had mistakenly substituted general market for total market and had often “pretended” to connect everyone. The majority of the CMC speakers spoke to context as a critical component of framing cultural conversations, whether direct-to-consumer or from an internal perspective. Keynote speaker Alicia Enciso, CMO of Nestlé USA, drilled down on how her team used context to change the internal corporate cultural surrounding Nestlé’s Hispanic marketing approach.
Collaboration This theme, which took several forms, was threaded throughout the three-day event. The importance of collaboration was inherent in discussions about how clients want to work with multiple agencies, but it was also an ingredient for success with internal brand stakeholders and retail networks. Co-creation, both with consumers as collaborators and with a spectrum of creative resources was also discussed.
Clicks and Cliques Several quantitative studies were presented throughout the conference, and many speakers pointed to the power of digital to demonstrate the ways in which Millennials and other Latino cohorts engage with brands and one another online. Brands with an understanding of code-switching and tribal clustering are more likely to leverage the granularity expressed by Pepsi’s Solis. CMC’s commissioned study, “Digital Lives,” looked at behaviors across segments, allowing for a more nuanced interpretation of consumer behavior among Latinos and African Americans vis-à-vis one another and the non-Hispanic White population at large.