McDonald's, NBA, and more discuss Hispanic and social media

Tuesday at the Hispanic PR and Social Media Marketing Conference brought some great panels and speakers, including representatives from the NBA and lunch keynote speaker William Whitman, VP of US communications for McDonald's.

Tuesday at the Hispanic PR and Social Media Marketing Conference brought some great panels and speakers, including representatives from the NBA and lunch keynote speaker William Whitman, VP of US communications for McDonald's. Whitman spoke about the company's work promoting diversity and community outreach, which he described as "a business imperative that goes back five decades."

Whitman discussed the company's employee communications, relationships with Hispanic owner/operators of McDonald's franchises, and how it uses social media.

"Not everyone is a McDonald's fan, but there is an opportunity for us…to gain traction, build credibility, and gain trust," he said, highlighting the fact that every 10 seconds, someone says something online about McDonald's.

Expanding on the social media side of Hispanic outreach, a panel event, sponsored by Ketchum, looked at the "Key Issues and Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know about Hispanic Social Media." Moderated by Stephen Chavez, a Hispanic marketing consultant, the panel included Paul Rand, president of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and CEO of Zocalo Group; Jose Villa, president of advertising agency Sensis; and Tomas Custer, publisher of HispanicTips.com.

Villa said he sees a move away from social media "campaigns," because the set time frame and set budget aren't the best ways to build relationships in the space. Rand agreed, saying that the question is now "How do you want to be talked about and how do you want to be recommended?" Rather than how do you want to be covered in the media?

"We now have the ability to actually understand how a brand is being talked about," he said, adding that it gives marketers new ways to measure ROI and more.

The panel also touched on issues of the new FTC guidelines (Rand said the FTC is currently investigating four companies, including two CPG brands, beyond Ann Taylor Loft); whether Spanish-language advertisements resonate with the Hispanic market because of the language or the more inclusive and diverse images used; and how mobile is a huge opportunity for reaching the Hispanic market.

OK, I've finally gotten to the NBA (a lot to write about today!), which was part of a panel called "Experiential Marketing: How to Successfully Engage Latinos One-to-One." Saskia Sorrosa, senior director of US Hispanic Marketing for the NBA spoke about the league's recent "éne·bé·a" campaign, and how it was born out of research and listening to the market.

"Hispanics don't like to be singled out, so NBA Español didn't resonate with them," Sorrosa said, but the NBA realized the community was just embracing NBA and infusing their own pronunciation. "We took something that was their own, and made it official." She added that 16% of the NBA's fan base is Hispanic and that basketball is becoming as popular among Hispanic teens as soccer is.

Not to be outdone, FC Dallas had its senior director of Hispanic sales and marketing, Eduardo Carvacho, on hand to bring soccer into the mix. The club is focused on families and youth, trying to connect on a deeper level and give the customers what they want from a game.

"We need to find that passion and find ways to make that connection," Carvacho said. "We're looking for that one-on-one connection." Moderated by Marco Lopez, senior director of the Hispanic Group for Relay Worldwide, the panel also featured Ralph Paniagua, president of R. Paniagua Inc., who talked about the ways sports can bring out the passions in Hispanics.

"The Latinos, we can translate anything we want, but there is a cultural underlying love of some sports that we need to develop," he said, noting the popularity of soccer, basketball, and boxing.

Follow @prweekus for more Twitter updates and tomorrow's breakfast keynote is Rudy Rodriguez, director of multicultural marketing for General Mills.

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