April 6, 2018
"We're getting a tremendous response to People en Español apos;s first product line (the CDs), so that's promising," says Jennifer Bonhoff, associate licensing manager, Time Inc. Brand Licensing. "People en Español magazine is not merely People magazine translated into Spanish. It's actually written specifically with the particular needs and interests of the U.S. Hispanic community in mind. Any licensed product introduced must have that same specificity-otherwise it won't be relevant to the community we're trying to reach. As we expand People en Español apos;s licensing program, we'll continue to focus on product categories that not only reflect the qualities of the brand, but ones that also are relevant to the Hispanic market."
Ina study from the Selig Center For Economic Growth, University of Georgia, it was reported that in the 10 years between 1990 and 2001, U.S. Hispanic buying power grew from $208 billion to $542 billion.
In a recently published report by the Food Market Institute in Washington, D.C., "U.S. Hispanics: Insights into Grocery Shopping Preferences and Attitudes," the question was asked, "Why does community involvement rate so highly among U.S. Hispanics?" The answer? "This ethnic group pays lots of attention to family and relationships. Sharing with people and with one neighborhood from day-to-day is a priority in Hispanic culture."
Connection to community is a key element in capturing ethnic market share. Kodak has long understood this, sponsoring scholarship programs for minority youths, as well as recently teaming up with Alan Page-the former pro-football-great-turned-Minnesota Supreme Court justice-to produce the Kodak/Alan Page Challenge, a nationwide essay contest encouraging minority youth to recognize the value of education.
Page is the founder of the Page Education Foundation, which provides mentoring and scholarships to Minnesota students to continue their studies after high school. "Page is doing great things in Minnesota to empower minority youth," says Dr. Alan Erlich, president, Transcultural Consultants. "He appeals to both older and younger African-American audiences [as a spokesperson]." The positive characteristics of a spokesperson can expand the sales of a product within the ethnic community, Erlich says. "A spokesperson such as Page has across-the-board appeal to Hispanic and Asian consumers, as well as African American. "
Cristina Seguilere is a celebrity spokesperson (aside from the Cristina Collection eyewear, Cristina has associated herself with both AT&T and Mastercard) with very strong community ties. She has garnered a number of community service awards, including one from the National Council of La Raza/Kraft Foods ALMA (American Latino Media Arts) for her exceptional work in heightening the awareness of HIV/AIDS in the Latino community.
Says Seguliere, on her Website cristinaonline.com, "I have collected eyeglasses all my life...I'm blind as a bat...So if I was going to have a line of products with my name on it, why not be something I really like and use?"
The believability factor in successful licensing is evident here. If Cristina were hawking bathroom cleaner, the audience probably would rightly assume Cristina does not, in fact, scrub her own tub, and, therefore, is not representing a product with which she has any firsthand experience. Dr. Erlich notes, "People want to believe in what they're buying because they're cautious with their resources."
Image Is Everything
Both Reyne Rice and Marshal Cohen of The NPD Group, a market research firm in Port Washington, NY, say image is key to successfully sell to the ethnic market. "The Hispanic market is much more about lifestyle, and being marketed to it directly. It is not about adapting to mainstream," says Cohen, co-president, NPDFashionworld.
Rice, director of marketing and communications, NPDFunworld (NPD's toy and video division), confirms that an honest matching of brand or spokesperson to product is essential to success in the ethnic market. "If the product selected to represent the license is mismatched by age group, gender, type of product category, or price profile, it can mean the kiss of death for that licensed property."
Dr. Erlich cites boxer Oscar de La Hoya as providing a positive image for the Latino market in the context of the "Got Milk" ads in which he appears. "He's strong, handsome, a battler," Dr. Erlich says. "He has a strong identity the Latino market can identify with." Oscar de La Hoya's strong ties to the Hispanic Community in Los Angeles are evidenced by The Oscar de La Hoya Youth Center. With believability and concern for the community going for him, de La Hoya is a licensing dream in the ethnic market.
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