A few weeks ago, I attended a virtual conference about the future of the Hispanic market in the U.S., and I was surprised by some of the predictions made about this highly influential and vital demographic.
Most surprising was the consensus among the panelists that due to the decrease in immigration, specific Hispanic outreach as a practice would become a thing of yesteryear as many would eventually assimilate and become part of the general market.
Some brands have already adopted this stance by eliminating multicultural efforts from their strategic plans. But, ironically, the opportunity lies in understanding that truly successful U.S. Hispanic marketing is about as much the past as the future.
Undoubtedly, the Hispanic demographic is by far one of the most nuanced in the U.S. More than 59 million Hispanics in the United States, all of whom represent different countries, cultures, dialects, traditions, customs, cuisines and even have other consumption preferences. For years, there has been an attempt to create a simple formula that appeals to all, but alas, it has not happened.
But there is something that often unites Hispanics: an emotional attachment and sense of nostalgia to symbols of their upbringing and childhood. Today, a vast majority of Hispanic Americans, regardless of acculturation, assimilation or generation, have products in their homes that are strongly tied to their roots and provide comfort and security. Some have become anecdotes or funny memes about "growing up Hispanic" on social networks in recent years.
Take, for instance, Mistolin, an all-purpose cleaner that is such a staple, it is often noted in social media as the marker of being raised by a Hispanic mother. There's also Country Crock, not only recognized for its butter but also for its alternate use in Hispanic households as a container for leftovers.
And, of course, the most iconic example of all, Vicks VapoRub, jokingly viewed as the Hispanic mom's must-have, medicinal cure-all that is used well beyond its traditional purpose as a decongestant.
The last decade has ushered in the country's most extensive and fastest-growing demographic: the U.S.-born Latino youth. While predominantly English-speaking, a Pew Research Center study shows that six in 10 say they continue to speak Spanish frequently, consider themselves Latino and remain eager to embrace, capture and retain the staples of their culture.
As marketers, we know that novelty and identity are two of the main drivers of brand loyalty. While there is no doubt that Hispanic-Americans will assimilate more and more, the desire to preserve and maintain their roots and traditions in the long term remains high, and so does the opportunity to help them achieve it.
Investing in this population, not retreating, is the correct path to take. Through this emotional bond that many Hispanics have with symbols of their family life and childhood, brands can successfully appeal to this unique group of consumers and remain part of their homes for many generations to come.
Agustin Caceres is president of Genomma Lab U.S.A., a Mexican, multinational producer of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, beauty and wellness products.