Brands for Hispanics?

19 Jan 2006|Felipe Korzenny

The usual first reaction on the part of marketers is to think of a line extension, or a new brand to reach out to Hispanic consumers. They seem to feel that Hispanics would naturally relate more to a brand that has some more familiar ring to it. For example The Men’s Warehouse launched a Hispanic store brand “Eddie Rodriguez” to cater to relatively affluent US Hispanics. Others have considered launching banks for Hispanics, title companies for Hispanics, etc.

Clearly, there is great virtue in names that can provide for cultural identification. But names are just a beginning consideration in a marketing effort. This is particularly true when the company considering the launch of a brand or line extension has equity in its larger and established brands.

The case of The Men’s Warehouse was not successful as that effort lasted just a short time. What most marketers need to keep in mind is that it is not jus the name or the Hispanic exclusivity of the brand or line extension that will make Hispanics flock to it. A successful case study has been that of Marbo’s Tampico. The name resonates with Hispanics but in addition the product is highly compatible with the needs, expectations, and perceptions of Hispanic consumers. It if had been the name alone the effort would not have been as successful.

A bank with a Hispanic name will not necessarily be successful just because of the name. It will be successful if it caters to specific needs and aspirations of Hispanic consumers. Other things being equal, a Hispanic consumer will be more likely to aspire to consume or use a major US brand than to use a small brand that pretends to be exclusive for Hispanics. Just consider that Hispanic immigrants to the US come here to achieve and grow. They do not come to the US to be marginal. If they can choose between “Banco de la Gente” or Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, or Citibank, according to our past research, they will likely go to the widely recognized brand because it is aspirational. The only reason they may go to “Banco de la Gente” is if that hypothetical bank offered products and services that larger institutions do not offer. But the smaller “Hispanic” bank would not be chosen for the name alone.

What this means, in our experience, is that Hispanics look up to prestige brands but also have specific needs. Merging brands and aspirations is what good marketing is about.

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