How to make the Consumers “Nice” List—2013 Multicultural Holiday Shopping Trends

Companies have made and locked down their 2013 holiday campaigns, but they should check them twice in order to make this 25-day-long holiday shopping season a profitable one. The National Retail Federation projected this year’s holiday sales to reach $602.1 billion (a 3.9% increase from 2012). Despite the traditional holiday season lasting seven days shorter than last year, a number of stores have worked to extend it by beginning promotions the day after Halloween. Brands must keep in mind consumer shopping trends affecting purchases this year. Thanksgivukkah Hanukkah begins early this year, coinciding with Thanksgiving. Therefore, some holiday gifts will be purchased in advance of the holiday. Black Friday falls on the second of the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. Online and Mobile Purchases The convenience and growing simplicity of online shopping make it a continually surging trend. Cyber Monday purchases last year were almost double that of 2011. Savvy Americans benefit from using online shopping for early deals, and free shipping is essential for online purchases. According to emarketer.com, 39% of companies plan to offer free shipping. This year, online retail should exceed $50 billion, of which $8 billion will be from mobile devices. Multicultural consumers overindex on making purchases through their mobile phones: 60% of Hispanics mostly access the internet by mobile phone compared to 43% of African Americans and 27% of whites. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, mobile online sales are up 35% from 2012. Hispanics spent $5.15 billion online mobile shopping the last holiday season. Social Media Influence Social Media acts as a key component to holiday brand strategy. Brand presence and awareness through social media sites are high despite low purchases resulting from advertisements placed on social media. The tech savvy Hispanic consumer demographic also overindexes on social media usage, with 80% of Hispanics using social media vs. 70% of the general population. Special Deals Since the economic recession, consumers have placed an importance on specials. Continuing this trend, Marketers are promoting specials early this year. As early as...

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Just Because You Build It, Doesn’t Mean They Will Come: Brands Utilizing Digital Content

By George L. San Jose, President and Chief Creative Officer of The San Jose Group Digital Jabber Jaws is a modern epidemic plaguing today’s brands. In fact, brands are losing out daily by casting out massive quantities of digital content with little regards to the most important aspects: quality and relevancy. Yes, social media and search engine optimizations have altered the industry in the sense that brands need to be present, involved and constantly engaging in the online conversation. Yes, clients want to see ROIs, conversions, likes, follows and retweets. However, the method to achieving this is not “new.” Building brand awareness isn’t about populating every digital space available but more so about creating rich, memorable content that aligns with the brand’s persona and speaks at the opportune time to its targeted consumer. Is this a pioneering or groundbreaking concept? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t mean brands don’t need a reminder from time to time. Speaking frankly, the objective of the advertising game is the same as it was before Facebook, Google and Twitter dominated the playing field. The only thing that’s changed is brands simply have more channels to play in now. So, as brand guardians, changing our approach to meet the opportunities within the growing digital space doesn’t need to be revolutionary. It appears the onset and growth of social media has distracted marketers, causing them to switch their focus from “quality, quality, quality” to “views, views, views.” Unfortunately, views and clicks do not build brands or increase market share. In the grand scheme of the advertising industry, the Internet—particularly social media—is still a new frontier confusing brands to believe they should strive for the numbers by flooding everywhere and anywhere with content. In doing this, creativity almost always suffers thus changing the role of Artistic Director to Mass Producer. Most often, marketers play the Field of Dreams approach: “If you build it, [they] will come.” This strategy only generates content and speaks nothing to creating a positive, lasting brand impression—let alone...

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Brands doing it right

By Cassandra Bremer, Content Manager and Developer at The San Jose Group Each September, a growing number of marketers celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, recognizing the growing Hispanic American community. Introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and later expanded to cover a 30-day period by President Ronald Regan in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) celebrates the history, culture and contributions of Latino Americans. According to the 2010 census, one in six Americans identifies themselves as Latino. While Hispanic Heritage Month gives Hispanics a chance to embrace their roots and connect with their favorite brands on a more intimate level, they know the difference between obligatory campaigns and true public relations efforts, so to succeed, brands must do it right. “Hispanic Heritage Month offers brands a grand opportunity to really capture Hispanic consumers’ attentions,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer of The San Jose Group. “Often though, marketers forget about Hispanic Heritage Month by October, having filled that marketing quota in September.” This case is especially evident in social media where the hashtags #HispanicHeritageMonth and #HHM have dwindled in usage from brands since the second to last weekend of September. Naturally, one would think that targeted social media posts would be on the rise since Hispanics over index in social media use (Pew Research Center reported that 80% of Hispanics use social networking sites vs. 70% of white, non-Hispanics). While some marketers have missed opportunities to reach these consumers, a number of brands are truly making the most out of Hispanic Heritage Month. This year, for instance, PBS planned a full calendar, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, including a new six-part series embracing Latino contributions ranging from arts and entertainment to journalism and politics entitled, Latino Americans. According to PBS, this series, narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, is the “first major television documentary series to chronicle the rich and varied history of Latinos.” Supporting the project as a major corporate funder, Ford featured...

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Accountable Care Organizations, a Bridge to the Multicultural Insurance Market?

Accountable Care Organizations, a Bridge to the Multicultural Insurance Market? By Martha C. Rivera, Director of Strategy and Insights With the support of Anthony Gokianluy, Junior Executive Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs, are the less visible component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the health insurance news these days. ACOs, as created by the ACA, comprise distinct groups of providers that deliver coordinated long-term care and disease management to seniors and permanently disabled beneficiaries. The ACOs program aims to improve health quality while reducing the total cost of care under the Medicare program. While the ACA already stands to have a tangible impact on multicultural populations, ACOs can be an effective bridge between the US health care system and the newly-insured in diverse communities, who would likely have no prior experience navigating the health system and need culturally-relevant attention to partake in insurance plans. Nearly one out of four Medicare users is multicultural, where Hispanics represent close to 8% of the total Medicare beneficiaries. ACOs should establish a presence within these multicultural communities, particularly to Spanish-speaking patients, to help overcome cultural and language barriers and effectively reach out to them, as their share of the insurance market is predicted to significantly increase under the ACA. “ACOs are called to play a vital role in connecting with multicultural populations that the healthcare reform targets,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “ACOs can be drivers of increased enrollment in available insurance...

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Supplemental Medicare and Obamacare

By Martha C. Rivera, Director of Strategy and Insights With the support of Nicha Ruchirawat, Junior Executive Medicare Advantage, which is the Medicare health plan offered by a private company, is going through some changes under the Affordable Care Act. The main transformation is that Medicare Advantage plans rated three out of five stars by Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will receive bonus payments acting as an incentive for Medicare Advantage carriers to offer better quality care. Thus, in order for private insurers providing the Medicare Advantage programs to receive these benefits, they should act to effectively improve their programs. To efficiently increase quality care, it is important for providers to observe the trends of consumers being served. The consumer segment with population enrolling most often in Medicare Advantage is the Hispanics. An estimated 42% of Hispanics enroll in Medicare Advantage, compared to 29% of African Americans and 24% of Whites who do so. This makes Hispanics a potential growth opportunity and an important target to consider. Consequently, Medicare Advantage carriers could enhance their existing efforts to better their plans by developing culturally-relevant communication platforms and staff training programs focused on improvements in quality care. While, not all Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries are eligible by age, approximately 78% of Hispanic Medicare Advantage enrollees are eligible by age, and 22% are eligible by disability status. The majority of Hispanic Medicare Advantage enrollees are also between the ages of 65 to 74. “Medicare Advantage carriers may sometimes underestimate the size of the multicultural segment,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “By realizing that Hispanics and African Americans enroll in Medicare supplemental plans more often, and developing the pertinent communication platform, an important impact on the bottom line can be promptly...

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