A Consumer Insight Is an Insight, Whether It's Hispanic or Not

Trying to Get Over the 'What's Hispanic About That?' Syndrome

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Catarino Lopez Catarino 'Cat' Lopez
When reading The Big Tent, I like to browse through the blogs and see how many comments each receives. The more comments the better. That usually means a blogger has hit a nerve. Judging from fellow Big Tent Blogger Tommy Thompson's 30 comments on a past post, I'd say he's pissed a few people off. Not a bad thing in my opinion. If a blog entry doesn't elicit a response then it hasn't done its job.

In response to Felipe Korzenny's comment, I agree that the conversation needs to move to a higher level in regards to insights. The days of relying on soccer balls and la familia should already be behind us. But until we get past the "What's Hispanic About That?" syndrome, they'll always be around. Let me explain.

In the early days of Hispanic marketing, it was easy enough to throw in a soccer ball or a family situation and create relevance. As the market grew, these devices became cliché, forcing Latino agencies to dig deeper to connect with consumers at a higher level.

As we continue to mine these insights, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. The insights we unearth today often tend to be universal human truths. That is, while they are relevant to Hispanics, non-Hispanics respond to them as well. While it would be great to have insights that are uniquely Hispanic, they are getting harder and harder to find. After all, people are people, Hispanic or not.

Does that mean we should discount an insight if it is not uniquely Hispanic? I don't think so. As Mr. Korzenny said, "An insight to be an insight must be a realization about something deep in the consumer's mind OR in his/her culture that will help connect with him/her at a deeper level." The key word being "or." According to his definition, an insight does not have to be uniquely Hispanic. It can be "something deep in the consumer's mind." And guess what, that "something" could also simultaneously be deep in a non-Hispanic consumer's mind. And that's OK. It does not have to be unique to Hispanics. And that is the battle we must wage, not against soccer balls and la familia.

Twenty years ago this would have been impossible. Today, not so much. Latinos are already the largest minority in the U.S., and a quick glance at U.S. birthrates shows that it's just a matter of time before we become the majority. Furthermore, brands like Pampers have declared the U.S. Latina their target consumer! Should we mine unique Hispanic insights and alienate the rest of the market in cases like Pampers. Of course not. That would be a waste of money. It's also a waste of money to walk away from an insight that resides "deep in a consumer's mind" just because it does not simultaneously reside strictly within "his/her culture." We must make our clients understand that a good insight is a good insight whether it's "a realization deep in the consumer's mind OR in his/her culture." It does not have to be both! And until we convince them of this reality, we will have to default to "a superficial common place" like soccer balls and la familia.

Rock 'n roll!
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