Hispanic PR pros urge companies to dig deeper into Census data

NEW YORK: Complete results of the US Census rolled out today, reporting that 50.5 million Hispanics are living in the US, accounting for more than 16% of the country's overall population.

NEW YORK: Complete results of the US Census rolled out today, reporting that 50.5 million Hispanics are living in the US, accounting for more than 16% of the country's overall population. The numbers are causing PR practitioners to urge companies not to think of the Hispanic population as an after thought.

“Those that haven't ever woken up to this kind of sleeping giant, I think are not going to be in a position to ignore it any longer,” said Mike Valdes-Fauli, president of The Jeffrey Group, an agency that specializes in connecting clients with the Latin market.

While it's not a surprise to many that the Hispanic population continues to surge, Valdes-Fauli said it's important that the PR and marketing industries, as well as companies themselves, take note of the trends within the data, including speed of growth, sprawl, and its emerging youth. The Census reports that the US Hispanic population saw a 43% increase in growth between 2000 and 2010.

“An enormously disproportionate amount of the growth is Hispanic,” he said. “Almost 50% of the total growth of the US population in the last 10 years were Latinos, which is a pretty amazing statistic if you think about where we'll be in 2020.”

Valdes-Fauli said for years people have talked about the top five Hispanic markets of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. The Jeffrey Group's clients have included American Airlines, Coca-Cola, and Fox Sports en Español.

“Now there's really the top 20 or 25,” he added. “The census revealed states like Georgia, and the Carolinas as growing quickly and having a large percentage of Hispanics. I think the fact that the market is growing incredibly and quickly is one, and two, that it's spreading across the country so that there are virtually no pockets without Hispanics.”

The census data also reported Hispanics as the youngest population in the US. Latinos under the age of 18 grew nearly 40%, the highest percentage compared to whites, blacks, and Asians.

“It's not growing because first generation immigrants are coming over in record numbers, although that contributes to it,” said Valdes-Fauli.  “That's something that most people assume incorrectly that's driving the growth. And it's not the recently arrived immigrants, it's the second and third generation who are acculturated, who are bilingual and sort of walk both cultures, which makes them a lot younger as well, so they are tech savvy and rapid adopters of new trends.”

The Jeffrey Group intends to “dig deeper” into the census data to build upon its studies. Last month, the agency released a study that asked physicians whether or not pharmaceutical companies were communicating well to Hispanic patients. A sports-related study is on the horizon, Valdes-Fauli said.

Meanwhile, Formulatin, the Hispanic practice of Formula, will look to grow greater awareness and understanding of Hispanics, said Michael Olguin, CEO. Formulatin serves clients such as Tecate, ESPN Deportes, and H&R Block.

“For us the biggest thing is to start to make brands recognize that the Hispanic marketplace should not get just a sliver of your marketing dollars,” he said. “They need to be considerate of the presence, and the perception that Hispanics just don't have money is just complete naivety. The motivation for Hispanics is slightly different than general consumers. We believe they are anchored in what we call the passion points, and those passion points are sports, food, family, beauty and music.”

Olguin also believes that the data's relevance is a game changer beyond the consumer market place.

“Not only are brands going to have start being concerned about this incremental marketplace and how they can market to them, but also politics,” he said. “Politicians are going to start thinking how do I resonate with the Hispanic marketplace that's becoming a more prominent player in our space.”

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