The identity of the United States has been steadily changing for the past 20 years. The 2011 Census confirms that Latinos are becoming a cultural force …a bilingual and bi-cultural force that is. Among them are the New Generation Latinos (NGLs), a segment that fuses their Latin roots with their American way of life and experiences. This rapidly growing segment is made up of US Born and foreign-born Latinos with 15+ years on American soil and represent 75% of the 12-34 Hispanic population.
NGLs are nearly 30 million strong (62% of US Hispanic population) and are now scattered across the country, quickly influencing the American culture. They are ‘front and center’ with businesses and government sectors, which are increasingly vying for their economic and social support. But the question still remains ‘How do we communicate with them?’
A recent study conducted by Motivo Insights and the New Generation Latino Consortium (NGLC) titled “The Maximo Report” surveyed this acculturated and powerful bilingual/bicultural segment at both the national and local levels. The study revealed nearly 50% of them hunger to see “their lives, entertainment interests and issues authentically represented” and “their American and Latino experiences” portrayed in the content they consume.
NGLs are seeking out “in-culture.” Just like they live much of their daily lives, NGLs want to have media and programming options that reflect the various aspects of their identity, regardless of language. In fact, NGLs are language neutral when it comes to communication preferences, but they do want to see themselves and their dual culture lifestyle in the U.S. more represented on television as well as in any media and marketing that targets them. But it’s not an “all Latino or nothing” solution. In fact, there are more important elements to marketing for NGLs than having an “all Latino” cast. More than 7 of 10 NGLs think that seeing an English language commercial on Spanish language TV is a good thing.
When it comes to brand loyalty, NGLs are leveraging their vast social networks to spread the word (positive or negative) about brands. In fact, NGLs are highly responsive to online marketing and are more likely to forward opinions and info about a brand compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Word-of-mouth is a vital tool that NGLs use to discover new brands and products. Factor in their intense social media consumption, it’s no wonder that 75% of NGLs have learned of a new brand or product via social media.
Most NGLs share a computer in their household, so mobile platforms are increasingly becoming their ‘personal space’ asset. It’s their opportunity to be away from their relatives that live at home. Texting is used most often to communicate with friends but NGLs also use their phones to browse the internet check email, play games, take video and download apps.
Their bi-cultural experiences help shape how they view their role in U.S. society. They have a different “value set” than their Caucasian counterparts that gives them unique attitudes and opinions on education, their career, finances, and much more. They’re more adaptable and resilient when it comes to social issues. Given their experiences with always having to do more with less, often supporting family back home and living-in a multigenerational household, NGLs are better equipped in dealing with a recession. They’re positive and practical about progress, key issues and the current economy.
NGLs are an increasingly large and an important demographic. As they begin to dominate the younger portion of the adult Hispanic segment in addition to their current dominance in the teen segment, deepening our knowledge on how they express their Latinicity beyond language, and understanding their unique habits and interests will be crucial for Hispanic marketers.
There is no better time than the present for leaders in all aspects of society to strengthen their relationship with this powerful and influential segment that commands a new and unique way of being addressed. It is time to re-think how you address the New Generation Latino… or you run a chance of being ‘tuned-out.’