5 Things Latino Listeners Expect from Advertisers
September 15 marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month when we celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community in the US. The celebration only lasts through October 15, but any Latino will tell you that the pride they feel for their heritage doesn't have an expiration date.
In a recent SXM Media study, 91% of Latino listeners said they are proud of their culture, racial roots, ancestry, as well as where they and their family were born. 1 These elements influence their daily lives—from the media they consume to the products they purchase.
As an advertiser, don’t make the grave mistake of only ramping up your efforts during Hispanic Heritage Month—your Latino audience wants to hear from you long after the conversation stops trending. 58% of Latinos say it is important that brands show visible support for the community throughout the year. You'll come across as more authentic and have a higher likelihood of earning their trust.
Sure, it can be intimidating, especially if you are not immersed in the culture. But, there’s some pretty simple steps you can take to launch a successful campaign and engage a Latino audience. We know because we asked, and here’s 5 things they expect from advertisers like you:
1. A Positive Narrative
For decades, Hollywood used stereotypes and tropes when representing Latinos- from the fiery, ill-tempered, scantily clad Latinas to the dominant Latino macho. These stereotypes, and the limited efforts to change the narrative, have contributed to the widespread discrimination against the community. As a result, 52% of Latinos say they are skeptical about how their culture is portrayed in US shows and films.
"When companies try to reach Hispanic audiences, they tend to only focus on stereotypes. Otherwise, all of their marketing is in Spanish. There is no real connection with ordinary Hispanic-American consumers." - Pandora Listener
Advertisers can change the narrative by investing in content and ads that paint the Latino community in a positive light. 76% of Latinos say they feel proud and empowered when they see positive Latino representation in media, entertainment, politics, business, and other major fields. This community is diverse and full of unique and meaningful experiences, and they are ready to share them with the rest of the world. Media influences public perception, and companies can signal that their experiences matter by putting Latinos in starring roles.
2. Diverse Representation
Hispanics and Latinos are part of a community of 62.1 million people of different races with ties to more than 20 countries and territories. 2 They love being part of a large community but appreciate the uniqueness of each other's backgrounds. This audience describes their identity as a spectrum made up of different aspects of their experience. They are always looking to see themselves in the messages they see and hear, as 55% say they want brands to make an honest effort to represent the full spectrum of their community in their ads.
"Companies have a broad sense of what we are, instead of realizing that there are SO many different variations of us who all eat, talk, dance, and even act differently." - Pandora Listener.
Catering to a diverse group of people with a limited budget is no easy task, so most advertisers use neutral characters and voices to broaden their ads’ appeal. Groups sitting outside the "neutral zone" often feel disconnected and alienated from these messages. To avoid this, marketers should diversify their messages by showcasing a range of talent, voices, music, and storylines.
3. A Seat at the Table
It is no secret that Latinos are absent in many boardrooms. Despite representing 18.7% of people in the US, they only make up 4% of company executives. 3 Companies that want to become more inclusive must allow Latino employees to rise through the ranks. In our study, 56% of Latino listeners agree brands should ensure the people making leadership decisions are of diverse backgrounds. Their presence would help the fight against stereotypes in and outside of the media space.
"It feels that at times brands just hop onto a wagon to fit into what is trending or to be considered "inclusive" but, what are they truly doing to involve inclusiveness in aspects, not in the media?" - Pandora Listener
4. Genuine Support for the Latino Community
The advertising industry often measures the importance of Latinos by the power of their wallets and not by the rights they deserve as Americans. This audience is often overlooked and continues to be othered and dehumanized by communities that want to see them out.
The pandemic has specifically put Latinos at a considerable disadvantage. Not only is this group more likely to contract COVID-19, but they have also faced significant losses in employment in the past year. This community is concerned about their wellbeing but also cares about many other issues. More than half actively support movements such as immigration rights, the environment, and Black Lives Matter, and 44% want brands to support the issues they care about.
Individuals and companies can support the Latino community in several ways. They can get involved in non-profit organizations, donate to relevant causes, and influence policies that affect them. They can also invest in Latino-owned businesses, support entrepreneurs looking to grow in their industries, and help develop Latino talent.
5. Culturally Relevant Content & Ads
Companies can positively impact the Latino community by investing in culturally relevant media. Their support could further help Latino creators deliver content that matters to their audience. Brands can surround these spaces with culturally relevant ads. Many brands are already catching on and offering content that is resonating.
“I see and hear many commercials with Hispanic/Latino content and actors that connect with our culture.”- Pandora Listener
Latino listeners are leaning on streaming audio to hear content that speaks to them on a personal level. Music, with its many genres and endless catalog, allows people to see themselves in a world that doesn't. In our study, 54% of Latino listeners said they see themselves and their experiences reflected in Latin music. It is one of the most inclusive spaces as 93% say Latin genres connect them to their race, ethnicity, culture.
Podcasts have become more popular among Latinos, increasing by 44% over 2020. 53% of Latino listeners find audio content like podcasts and talk shows entertaining and informative, providing a forum for more meaningful conversations. The space is very nascent but perfect for brands who want to learn and grow with this audience. Everyone outside the collective can also tune in and learn about what drives this growing and influential community.
1. Pandora Soundboard Hispanic User Study, September 2020
2. US Census, 2020
3. The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: JD Swerzenski, University of Massachusetts Amherst