Marketing agency Bromley started helping brands target Hispanic consumers nearly 30 years ago.
Today, the company is forging ahead with a new identity (Bromley Originate Change) and a new mission to match the drastically different cultural landscape of consumers in the U.S. The market is more diverse than ever — Bromley’s specialty, the Hispanic population, reached the 50 million-mark earlier this year, up a whopping 43% since 2000 — and the marketing world’s old tricks aren’t quite keeping up pace.
That’s where the San Antonio-based firm’s new approach comes in. It’s called “transculturation” and the idea is to reach wide audiences despite increasingly fragmented ethnic identities. As CEO Ernest Bromley explained to us in an interview, it’s fundamentally a matter of tuning into the multicultural landscape of the U.S. and examining how people identify themselves.Where they previously started research for campaigns by looking at consumers in terms of language (for example, brand awareness among monolingual speakers versus their bilingual counterparts), the marketers at Bromley now hone in on the varying stages of ethnic identity that have emerged in our veritable melting pot, and how they correspond to culture and values.
From there, it’s all about translating those core values to advertisements to effectively reach consumers in a resonant way.
When the firm worked with Totino’s to market pizza to families, it focused its campaign on research that highlighted the tight relationship between Hispanic mothers and their children. By showcasing the parent-child interdependence in the televised ad spots, it capitalised on a more implicit facet of the lives of the targeted consumers. And that, Bromley says, is the future of advertising to different ethnic groups.
Now, Bromley says, it’s vital to see projects in a more fluid way. Because of big upticks in immigrant and nonwhite populations, the U.S. is more than ever an amalgamation of distinct cultures, layered together and fused over time.
A burgeoning non-white population and social media are giving rise to cross-cultural integration and more varied ethnic identities, Bromley says. The most basic audience segmentation methods (like identification by language preference) are no longer effective as ethnic populations in the U.S. are tougher to pin down.
Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has had to step up its game as rivals, like Comcast’s Telemundo, have cropped up. Still Univision is the fifth-most watched channel overall, according to the Wall Street Journal, reinforcing the fact that U.S. consumers who are also Spanish-speakers are increasingly common.
Bromley has taken the idea of transcultural marketing to many of its clients, which include General Mills and the NBA. Many companies have been receptive to the idea, Bromley says, and have noticed the gap in culture- and values-targeted marketing to rein in consumers of all cultural backgrounds.
Moving forward, Bromley says his firm will retain its distinct focus on culture and values as they relate to ethnic groups. It’s the future of marketing, he says, and his business is at the forefront.
“We think were a bit ahead of the curve on this and I think that’s a function of us being in the ethnic marketing space all our lives,” Bromley says. “We’re just taking that little piece and turning into a distinct advantage.”
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