Measuring Authenticity in Spanish Advertising

The last time we took on the subject of authenticity in Spanish language advertising campaigns, we outlined at least 12 red flags.  To those of us in the multicultural marketing business this may come as second nature, but this issue is somehow still generating discourse among advertisers.  So much so that the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently released a deck asking the question “How Powerful is Culture to Marketers?”  The answer is “very powerful.”  In fact they even put a number on it – 40% of a campaign’s multicultural success depends on what we call “fluency.”  

The Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (a division of the ANA) and NBCUniversal came together in late 2019 to develop a metric and research model designed to measure “authenticity.”  This is a huge deal. The study evaluated over 125 brands and resulted in what we have conceptually referred to as an authenticity index called the Cultural Insights Impact Measure (CIIM). This new ad metric looks at how cultural insights affect brand perceptions, purchase intent, and loyalty among multicultural customers.  Participating brands included:  Automotive, Restaurants, Consumer Packaged Goods across various categories, Health & Beauty, Retail, Beer and Spirits, Education, Dental, OTC, Non-Profits, D2C and others.

Inclusion DOES NOT Equal Relevance

One of the most insightful findings of the study and subsequent presentations, is that inclusion in an ad or commercial does not necessarily make that ad culturally relevant. In fact, it is just the beginning. This reinforces what successful Hispanic marketers already know. Effective account planning and messaging starts with taking a stand for enculturation across the entire marketing process — from cultural insights to culturally informed creative briefs, to offline and online targeted data, to content creation through media planning and buying to campaign measurement indexes and attribution. It transcends translation – it’s enculturation.  

Now that there is a theoretical construct and an actual ROI driven research model, we all need to aspire to up our game.  At d2H, we aim for what we call Fluency and Hispanic IQ; but you can pick whatever label helps get buy-in – cultural competency, cultural identity, cultural connectors, cultural sincerity or any other culture-centric messaging strategy that you want to lead with.  No matter what you call it, do it for ROI.  Cultural authenticity measurably unlocks customer engagement and activates word-of-mouth which is so important to any multicultural segment.  As a performance-driven transactional Hispanic advertising agency we can add one more to this list of marketing benefits – fluency motivates immediate response.

The Proof is in The Index

Let’s go back to the CIIM.  Four marketers in particular — P&G, Google, Denny’s and Walmart — learned that their customers are 1.5 times more likely to want to learn more about a brand that features people they can relate to.  More importantly, customers are almost 3 times more likely to buy from such a brand for the first time.  Beyond that, they are 50% more likely to repurchase and 2.8 times more likely to recommend a brand they can relate to.  In other words, viewers who relate to an ad are more likely to try, buy again and recommend buying to their family and friends.

MediaPost recently reported on a new study by the Cultural Marketing Council that revealed that half of people ages 13-49 have actually quit a culturally illiterate brand saying that it “offended them or disrespected their values.”  The stakes could not be more clear.  If targeting the Hispanic Consumer Market segment is a strategic decision then it follows that Authenticity is the prime directive.  This takes truth in advertising to a whole new level, which is what I mean by “cultural truth” as shorthand for cultural literacy and value alignment.  I not only want to recognize myself in your advertising, I want your messages to feel me.

Now that we have the measurement tools and a framework for thinking about authenticity, it is not difficult to see what it takes to write and produce successful Hispanic ads beyond the token, cast-a-Latino efforts of a total market approach. But where to start?  I can tell you where to begin.  Great d2Hispanic advertising campaigns appeal to logic, impulse, emotion and most importantly, cultural truth – regardless of language. 

Thanks to the ANA, Hispanic Marketing Council, Nielsen, Univision and Telemundo, there is a lot of data on the subject.  As an industry we now have the numbers to prove it.  If you do not see a lift in your Hispanic or multicultural advertising campaigns, you are likely doing something wrong.  You know who you are.

For more discussion about Measuring Authenticity in Spanish Advertising, check out the infographics in our “Market IQ” section on our website, www.d2hispanic.com

Marcelino Miyares, Jr. – Managing Partner – D2H Partners, LLC – 2021