Everywhere you look, you see it -- and there's no escaping it. By 2013, Hispanics will account for more than $1.4 trillion in purchasing power in the U.S. Add African Americans to the equation, the numbers almost double, as they will contribute an additional $1.1 trillion in spending power by the year 2015. Both of these segments are younger and growing at a faster pace than their white counterparts. Multicultural Americans are, in effect, what some have coined the "new American mainstream."
In a world where digital is now the baseline for consumer engagement, answering the question of how to effectively engage this "new American mainstream" has only grown more complex. It's no longer a question of if, but simply when will your team be asked to engage these powerful consumer segments. But how do these audiences behave digitally? This is where it gets really interesting:
- By 2014, more than 39 million Hispanics will be online, accounting for almost 70 percent of total Hispanic population, and at growth rate of 32 percent, almost four times that of non-Hispanic white only users online.
- 45 percent of Hispanics have smartphones versus 34 percent of the general population.
- 51 percent of African Americans own smartphones versus 45 percent of the general market. African Americans are also more frequent users of social media.
These stats provide just some of the serious reasons "why" you should engage. However, my goal here is to help you understand "how" to engage the "new American mainstream." So, below I have compiled three best-in-class sites that successfully answer the challenge of how to connect culturally, and I detail how that effort has helped move the needle for their business.
NBA.com -- Éne-Bé-A
Yes, Hispanics do more than just soccer, and the NBA is proving it with their Éne-Bé-A platform. Witnessing a decline in their Hispanic viewership and fan base in 2008-2009, the NBA needed to find a way to reach and engage with U.S. Hispanics. Through research, the league would find that in order to engage with Latinos, it needed to do so from a culturally centric standpoint, but not by singling out Latino fans by language or ethnicity alone (like the creation of spin-offs of NBA Latino or NBA en Español).
Instead, it needed a more organic way to deliver greater cultural relevance to their fans. The use of colloquialism proved such a way when the NBA learned that instead of pushing the NBA brand, they could leverage an existing cultural reference in éne-bé-a to draw greater ap-peal for the brand. This allowed the league to reinvent the brand from within the Hispanic space versus taking a top down approach towards engagement.
Delivering an authentic Hispanic NBA experience, the site greets visitors in Spanish language upon entry and serves as a one-stop landing zone for NBA fans. From custom content featuring Hispanic imagery and video to social media engagement and the NBA Store, a Latino fan can easily use this as their home for all things NBA.
Social media lies at the very core. Today, the Éne-Bé-A Facebook fan page holds over 400 thousand Facebook fan "likes." But they have also added multiple social media networks including Twitter, MySpace, QuePasa, and MiPágina.
Leveraging cultural insights like this helped deliver Hispanic viewership growth of 17 percent during the 2009-2010 season and a fan base increase of 9 percent by December 2009.