The Latino community in the United States is changing rapidly, and this shift is reflected in the evolution of Latinx brands. The first generation of Latinx brands emerged in the 1980s, coinciding with the first large Hispanic immigration boom in the country. Many of these brands sold products from Latin America and marketed to Hispanic immigrants in their native language. Goya, established in New York City in the 1930s by a Spanish immigrant, is an example of a first-generation Latinx brand.
Second-generation Latinx brands emerged as the U.S. Hispanic population grew and CPG companies launched products targeting Latinos. These brands primarily relied on bilingual marketing and branding, using packaging and advertising that featured both English and Spanish. Fabuloso exemplifies the second-generation Latinx brand. While its origins began in the 80s in Venezuela, Colgate-Palmolive purchased the brand and introduced it to the American market in 1996.
Today, as Latino Millennials and Gen Z reach adulthood, a third generation of Latinx brands is emerging. These brands are defined by English-first marketing and branding and rely on cultural cues rather than language to connect with consumers. Nopalera is an example of a third-generation Latinx brand. Founded by Sandra Velazquez who grew up in Los Angeles and was inspired by her Mexican American heritage, Nopalera products are marketed in English but incorporate cultural references, such as cactus and Mexican iconography, in their branding.
The emphasis on cultural relevance, authenticity, decolonization, English-first marketing, and innovation sets third-generation Latinx brands apart. These principles are essential for CPG professionals to understand and integrate into their companies, brands, products, and marketing efforts.
Let’s take a closer look at each element:
Cultural relevance is vital to engaging with Latino consumers. To effectively connect with this demographic, CPG professionals must invest time in comprehending the cultural nuances of the Hispanic community and incorporate them into their marketing and branding strategies.
Third-generation Latinx brands must also be authentic and focused on products and marketing that reflect Hispanics’ lived experiences. CPG professionals can achieve authenticity by collaborating with Hispanic influencers, featuring real people in advertising and marketing campaigns, and creating products that align with the community's needs and preferences.
Also essential to the success of third-generation Latinx brands is a willingness to view efforts through a decolonization lens. This requires challenging dominant and often false narratives about Hispanic culture. CPG professionals can embrace this approach by learning the history of Hispanic culture, working with diverse creators and artists, and developing inclusive and respectful products. By doing so, they can contribute to a more authentic and equitable representation of the Latinx community.
English-first marketing is another defining characteristic of third-generation Latinx brands. By adopting this strategic approach and honoring cultural cues that resonate with Hispanic consumers, CPG professionals can connect with a broader audience while preserving cultural authenticity and relevance.
Finally, innovation. Third-generation Latinx brands are breaking traditional marketing norms by leveraging innovation to create new product categories, distribution channels, and marketing techniques. To remain competitive, CPG professionals should embrace innovation, experimenting with new technologies and strategies to connect with Hispanic consumers authentically and meaningfully.
To sum up, CPG professionals can leverage the unique characteristics of third-generation Latinx brands – cultural relevance, authenticity, decolonization, English-first marketing, and innovation – to engage with Hispanic consumers effectively. By emphasizing these principles, CPG professionals can foster long-term relationships with the Hispanic community while developing successful brands that genuinely reflect the depth and diversity of Hispanic culture.