Category Archives: U.S. Hispanic

5 New Mobile Trends among Hispanics

As part of our tracking of mobile trends in Brazil and Latin America, we also focus on mobile data for U.S. Hispanics, another key market we reach for our clients. After reviewing a number of recent studies, here are 5 trends in the Hispanic mobile market that we have observed.

#1 Hispanics Are More Likely to Own Smartphones than the General Market
A May 2013 report from the Pew Research Center noted that 56% of American adults are now smartphone owners. However, 60% of Hispanics report owning smartphones. When breaking down smartphone ownership by ethnic group, Pew noted that smartphone ownership stands at 53% among white non-Hispanics and at 64% among African Americans.

#2 Hispanics Are More Likely to Own Tablets as the General Market
Another Pew Research Center report from June 2013 indicated that 34% of Hispanics report owning a tablet computer, compared to 33% of white non-Hispanics and 32% of African Americans.

#3 Hispanics are More Likely to Go Online with a Mobile Device Than the General Market
More data from Pew indicates that 76% of Hispanics report going online with a mobile device, compared to 60% of white non-Hispanics and 73% of African Americans.

#4 Hispanics Are More Responsive to Mobile Ads
A 2012 study from Terra reported that 46% of Hispanics believe they are more likely to remember brands advertised on their tablets—compared to just 37% of non-Hispanics. In addition, in a survey from ThinkNow Research published in June 2013, more than 60% of Hispanics felt that mobile phone ads provided them with useful information about bargains or products and the same percentage would be willing to accept mobile phone ads in return for additional services or lower monthly charges.

#5 More and More Hispanics Are Shopping with Their Mobile Phones
Research from the Integer group indicates that 16% of Hispanic shoppers use mobile phones to make a purchase, compared to 12% of the general market. This use often involves product research, although 15% of Hispanics also report using either a QR or UPC code.

To find out how we can help you reach Hispanics via mobile or another form of media, please contact us.


US Media Consulting Launches New Web Site

In early July the new US Media Consulting Web site debuted after many months of work. We created the new site for a number of reasons. First, we wanted to explain our capabilities more fully. Secondly, we wanted to showcase what we can offer to help companies reach Brazil, Latin America, U.S. Hispanics and other media markets, such as the United States and Europe. And finally, we  wanted to provide resources to help our colleagues and clients stay current with the latest trends in media and advertising plus benefit from the practical knowledge we gain from helping clients get the maximum ROI with their campaigns. Here’s a quick guide to some of the main portions of the new site.

Media Solutions
This section of our site covers our core capabilities for clients. For clients who need to reach Brazil, Latin America or other markets, our media partners are one option. Over the years we’ve built relationships with more than 3,500 media outlets of all types, allowing us to obtain competitive pricing, quick launches and smooth execution for clients.

In addition, the media we represent offer strong value for clients trying to reach important segments, such as financial professionals, business executives, technology buffs, travelers, health-conscious women, music lovers, the Brazil online audience, gamers and more. To that end, we discuss those represented media brands, including Wall Street Journal, iG, Grupo Medios, Bloomberg,, Clickhoteles and more.

We also cover our proprietary media, including Jumba Display Network, Jumba Mobile Network and Jumba Video Network. These are ad networks we’ve created that allow for precise segmentation that reaches millions of Internet users in Latin America while also connecting brands with Latam’s growing mobile market and huge online video audience.

Finally, this section explains how our media outsourcing works to help public relations, interactive, creative and other types of agencies enhance the value they offer their clients by leveraging our expertise in implementing media campaigns.

Services/Media Channels
These particular sections highlight how we create powerful value for the three main types of clients we serve: agencies, advertisers and media owners. They also discuss the types of media our range of media specialists handle, including Web, print, TV, radio, out of home and mobile.

As part of our work here at US Media Consulting, we constantly review studies to stay on top of the latest trends. To help our clients and colleagues, we put together a vast array of the studies we find ourselves reviewing. Users will find that the Resources section, like the rest of the site, offers the information in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Here you will find summaries of the latest studies covering Latin America in terms of Internet, mobile, print, e-commerce, TV, social media, media penetration, consumer buying habits, smartphones and more, all organized by both topic and country. So if you’re interested in knowing about social media in Chile, pulling up Chile in the Categories window will bring up the studies we’ve collected. Whenever possible, we include links so you can download the studies in pdf form.  Our team will be constantly updating the site with new research in English, Spanish and Portuguese, so you may want to check back regularly as we add fresh content in existing areas and for new topics.

Beyond the research done in the industry, we’re also beginning to compile case studies, which reflect the work our team does every day. We’ll be expanding this section very soon and our goal is to share our experience in terms of what is working with clients and colleagues to benefit them.

We hope that the new Web site is useful for you and we encourage you to explore it and share any feedback you may have. And if you need help in reaching Brazil, Latin America or U.S. Hispanics via a strategic campaign across all media, please contact us.

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6 Spanish Translation Tips for Stickier Sites

One of the interesting findings of AOL’s 2010 Hispanic CyberStudy was that online Hispanics prefer English-language media. This is partially because most web content is created in English, but it’s also due to quality. Significant numbers of Hispanic respondents said they felt that Spanish-language Web sites were less comprehensive and of poorer quality than their English-language counterparts. I edited Spanish-language translations for Rodale, publisher of Men’s Health and Prevention magazines. My books produced 1.1 million in sales and $35 million in revenues in 5 years. Here’s what I learned about connecting with Hispanics when translating products for them.

Don’t translate, “transadapt.” You spent time crafting your original copy to pull in your audience with wordplay, clever turns of phrase and fun cultural references that also delivered SEO. You have to make the same message work for Hispanics, but on their terms. Literal translations of wordplay won’t work. Neither will cultural references that Hispanics won’t get.

Example: once I had a lead for a chapter about back pain written in second person. It more or less said, “You’re dancing up a storm at your high school reunion when the back pain hits. Suddenly ‘Twist and Shout’ has a whole new meaning.” Cute, but how many Hispanics go to high school reunions? How many know the song ‘Twist and Shout’? To be safe, I changed the scenario to a Tito Puente concert. Back in the 1990s Puente had name recognition with most U.S. Hispanics and they are more likely to go to a concert than a high school reunion.

Pick top talent. I continually tested freelance translators with a background in advertising or editorial copy, around 500. I picked 3. To save time, try to recruit freelancers who were Hispanic market copywriters or Latin American editors who worked on adapting American magazine brands for their markets. They understand how to “transadapt” copy.

Test them. If you’re a Hispanic market professional, it’s likely that you are skilled in both English and Spanish. Send sample copy to your pool of prospective talent. Try around 20-30 people. Give them a deadline for handing in the sample. If you can prepare guidelines and a glossary for them to follow, even better. Grade the samples according to quality, how well they followed your guidelines and glossary and their professionalism in hitting your deadlines. Translators who won’t provide a sample for free are easily eliminated. You also don’t want someone who doesn’t follow your guidelines or is late. That behavior will repeat itself if you hire them, believe me.

What else to look for in the samples
>How they adapt wordplay and slang
>How they handle cultural references: do they catch the ones that won’t work and substitute new ones? Or do they leave in references that Hispanics won’t get at all?
>How they handle titles: Some of your titles are tied to your brand equity and can’t be changed, but other ones should be changed so you resonate with your audience. Did the translator pick up on this or not? What kind of suggestions did they offer?
>Did they ask questions while preparing the samples? Good translators will ask you about your target audience, which terms can’t be translated and other specifics. The bad ones inevitably never ask questions—they do what they want and generally hand in weak samples.

Vocabulary. Ideally, you want to create a glossary for the translator, even for the sample. Hispanics have regional differences when it comes to food terms and terms for objects. For instance, a “bicho” is a bug to most Hispanics but it’s a vulgar term in Puerto Rico. You need to review your copy to identify key terms that need to go into the glossary with preferred translations. And don’t be scared of synonyms. In Spanish, beans are “frijoles” in Mexico and Cuba, “fríjoles” in Colombia, “caraotas” in Venezuela, “porotos” in Argentina and Chile and “habichuelas” in Puerto Rico and in the Dominican Republic. You can pick one main term and 2 synonyms—for example: frijoles (habichuelas, porotos)—and connect with most of the audience. If your site has a lot of food terms, create a simple synonym glossary, put it on a separate page and add a tagline that links to it.

Offer resources. I edited a number of health books offering herbal remedies and supplements, but I thought Hispanics would have a tough time finding those products in their local stores because of language barriers. So I researched Spanish-speaking health food stores around the country and included a list of them in the back of these books. Online, it’s easy to add links to resources to help your customers learn more.

Where’s the ROI in all of this? Rodale books were sold via direct mail. When I arrived there, a big problem was the return rate. Many readers returned the books because they had trouble understanding or relating to them—lost revenues for a company with a 30-day money-back guarantee. With my approach in place, return rates dropped by 50%. Unhappy customers became happy customers who paid for their books, and the company made more money. If your site becomes stickier, obviously your bottom line will benefit. And the glue of sticky sites is great content that users relate to and enjoy in their native language.

To learn more about how we can help you leverage the power of U.S. Hispanic media, contact us at

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Celia Cruz and the Art of Rebranding

In 1987, I was at the Jersey shore with friends and obsessively listening to the album Cuba y Puerto Rico son by Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. My friend Mario asked me, “So she’s like the Latin Madonna?” I had no response—I couldn’t think of two more different people than Celia and Madonna. But years later, I see something in common with them besides being singers. Madonna has consistently been hailed as a marketing master. Her ability to reinvent herself and absorb new musical trends keep her relevant in a Lady Gaga world.

Celia Cruz has never been called a marketing master—but she was. In her own way, she managed to rebrand herself effectively by following certain core principles. Before we get into that, let’s look at her brand’s liftoff.

Branding Brief
Celia built her brand in Cuba by scoring hits with the Sonora Matancera in the 1950s. She was a national star with some international recognition, mostly in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Celia left Cuba in 1960 and recorded with and without the Sonora in Mexico. Later in the decade she teamed up with Tito Puente. It seemed like the right move. Her compatriot La Lupe had teamed with Tito Puente on the same record label and notched a series of hits. However, despite being good, the albums—including my favorite, Cuba y Puerto Rico son—sold poorly. By the early 1970s, she was in danger of becoming a nostalgia act.

Then Celia rebranded. Here’s what she did.

Brand alignment. First, she appeared in a Latin opera called Hommy, produced by star bandleader Larry Harlow. This got her in front of the young salseros who were fans of Harlow and the other stars featured in the opera. She followed this up by signing with Fania Records, the hottest salsa label around. Celia was paired with megaproducer Johnny Pacheco, who had his own major brand equity with salseros, and produced the hit 1974 album Celia y Johnny. That same year, she traveled to Zaire to perform with the Fania All Stars in a concert before the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman championship bout.  Suddenly her brand was tied with that of Muhammad Ali’s, however indirectly, and a whole new audience of Africans became fans of the newly-crowned Queen of Salsa.

Customer relationship management. Celia’s fan base started in Cuba and followed her into exile. Celia never lost sight of her brand identity as a Cuban singer, so her albums always featured songs referencing Cuba or covers of famous songs by Cuban composers. Examples include “Canto a La Habana,” “Si acaso no regreso,” “Ochun con Changó,” “Vieja luna” and many others. This retained her original customer base—good, smart CRM.

Expansion. Celia made a point of selecting songs like “Toro mata”, a Peruvian folk song, the Brazilian song “Usted abusó” and other tunes from Latin countries beyond Cuba. These picks gave her an entry point with new markets who started with the song they recognized and then later bought into the rest of her brand. Heavy touring in these countries further expanded her brand into Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Panama.

Strategic refreshes. Celia worked with a variety of producers to keep her sound fresh but wisely avoided trends like salsa romántica that were a poor fit for her brand. She also sang duos with stars from other countries, like Vicente Fernandez and Caetano Veloso, and mentored young salsa diva India. This ensured relevance with younger audiences—the  result was a steady stream of hits well into her 70s.

Consistent brand identity. Fans could count on Celia for fresh, fun songs, not odd artsy experiments. She knew her base of working class Hispanics and Latin Americans wanted escape through dancing, and she delivered: “La vida es un carnival” is a good late-career example.

She also kept her appeal to women strong by rebuking machismo with songs like “Que le den candela.” Beyond music, her brand identifiers included wild stage outfits, wigs and her catchphrase, ¡Azúcar!

Strict quality control. Celia didn’t abuse alcohol or drugs. She didn’t miss shows, either. As such, her target market (the audiences) and her distributors (concert promoters) valued her consistent quality. In contrast, her rivals and contemporaries did abuse drugs and miss shows, destroying not only their brands but themselves.

Tireless crossmedia promotion. Celia toured constantly, marketing herself on the front lines through concerts all over the world. She supplemented this by appearing in movies and soap operas. Celia was friendly and open with press of all kinds—an anti-diva who gave funny, charming interviews. Because of this, aside from some minor missteps in the 1990s, she consistently garnered great press. Her ability to adapt suggests that if she were still alive, there’s no doubt that she’d have a formidable Facebook page and thousands of Twitter followers.

The Takeaway
While none of this suggests Celia was cracking open marketing books or taking classes at Wharton between tours, it does demonstrate a profound marketing intuition on her part. Celia was far from the only music star to leave Cuba after 1959. But none of them had anywhere near her success.

What made the difference? It wasn’t mere talent or hard work: she was brilliant in the 1960s and worked hard with little success to show for it.

Ultimately, her astute rebranding maximized the impact of her talent and hard work, transforming Celia from a regional star to a worldwide Latin music icon.

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