By Natalia Borges, EVP Marketing
We are Hispanic. We are also American. Some of us are white, some are black. But most importantly, we are human. Twenty years ago we began to create content and streaming music for audiences online. At the time, most of the content was either music related, or streaming music itself. Being Hispanic, the music reflected the beats, sounds and artists that filled our hearts, playlists and came from our many countries of origin. Most of the lyrics were in Spanish, the beats vibrant. But, we are also American, which meant that the playlists also included popular songs and artists from the U.S., and the content thus flowed between English and Spanish. The result was an audience of millions of Hispanic-Americans.
Throughout the years we learned that this Hispanic-American audience spoke Spanish, but also English. Some spoke more Spanish than others, and some always preferred English. Yet all of them carried their cultures and heritage in their hearts. And each one was proud to call the U.S. their home. We also learned what is now an obvious part of the mainstream, that you don’t have to be Hispanic to enjoy the music and dance to the beat, you only need to be human.
Almost two years ago our commitment to creating content lead us to the creation of VIX. By leveraging positivity and curiosity, it provided us with the ability to make the vision of the world a positive one, thousands of stories and videos at a time. Once again, because we are Hispanic, we continued to tell those stories in Spanish, but because we are also mostly millennial, and living in the U.S., we told stories in English as well. Our commitment remained the same, to provide audiences online with authentic and relevant content. What is not the same, is the data we are now able to collect and analyze.
Data that confirmed the following truths; the most engaging stories are universal and inclusive. They are not Hispanic stories, multicultural stories, or even “American” stories. They are stories that evoke an emotion. A human emotion. And when you tell these stories in a particular language, you attract audiences that consume that particular language. It is these truths that have led us to now have an even larger audience, made up of what so many call the “Total Market”.
Today our audience is not homogeneous, it is as diverse as our country. It is made of men and women, straight as well as LGBTQ. It includes Hispanics, African-Americans and Anglo-Saxons. It is young, at times rebellious. They want to learn about the world around them, and improve their own relationships. They laugh, they eat, love hacks and most important of all, share it all on social media. Some speak English, some speak Spanish, and a few speak both. They don’t always agree on social issues, but will act when asked to. And while so many in our industry argue whether or not they should be labeled Hispanic, multicultural or total market, they don’t want to be labeled at all. They just want to be included.
We don’t intend to put an end to the discourse, or pretend to know all the answers, but what we do know is our audience. We know their sentiment for each and every story we tell, we know what makes them tick. We have data on what they love and like, what they react to and how they feel. We know that the most powerful way to market to any group is to leverage these insights to tell a brand’s story in the most relevant way to this audience. Our intention is not to end any discourse, but to start a new conversation with all marketers. One that does not begin with labels and languages, but with stories and heart.