If there’s one good thing that’s come out of quarantine, it’s that I’ve been able to spend more time scouring the internet for data on U.S Hispanic growth than I’ve spent learning to cook banana bread or find a new hobby. I’ve discovered what I’ve always known: corporate businesses have consistently failed at engaging the Hispanic youth. After all, just ask your nearby Latinx gen Zer or young millennial what brands full heartedly “get them”. At best, well known corporations are simply skirting around the line when it comes to marketing to Hispanics. At worst, these businesses are offending Hispanic consumers by displaying tone deaf ads or content that doesn’t resonate. I’ve coined the term “Hypercultural Latinx” to represent the young community that exists within U.S. Hispanics. A Hypercultural Latinx is a 13-25 year old second-generation individual that is the product of a bicultural society. She cares about coupling her parents’ values and traditions with the lifestyle she has grown up with as an American. More importantly, she will never seek inspiration from legacy brands. Instead, she is searching for new brands to represent her and inspire her to live her best life as a 100% American and 100% Hispanic identity.
As a Latina investor in Silicon Valley and Hypercultural Latinx myself, I think this presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to build around this U.S. Hispanic sub-community. So, what does it take for a startup to target this hidden giant? Authenticity, a team with shared life experiences, and creative customer acquisition.
This word gets thrown around too easily and inaccurately. However, when it comes to the Hypercultural Latinx being a brand that can prove it’s reliable, respectable, and real goes a long way. Yet, developing authenticity is not a skill that can be learned but rather a way of being that lives within a company’s work culture, community, and prioritization of making the customer happy. As an investor, this comes down to picking an ambitious founder whose core reason for starting their business is personal and passion. Thus, I recommend founders to never stop questioning and finding their potential customers’ biggest pain points and what the company can do to make their lives easier.
Team With Shared Life Experiences
I believe a founder that can personally relate to the life experiences of living among two cultures (either vicariously or first-hand) has an advantage in understanding the needs and problems of the Hypercultural Latinx. After all, the founder story and narrative of a company is a big part of their brand. It plays a role in why consumers pick certain brands over others. For example, I will buy Glossier not because it is the higher quality beauty product, but because I have bought into what Glossier stands for and the compelling story of its founder. I think other sectors, apart from beauty, are ripe for targeting this audience, including the 3 “F’s”: Food, Fashion, and Finance. Food is the mother of all markets and can be sliced and diced in a multitude of ways. In fact, 79% of millennials say they would spend more to eat at a hot/trendy restaurant. Fashion to a young millennial is part of their identity and they are willing to spend on that identity—69% buy clothes they don’t actually need. Finance is a hyped segment where more companies are looking to capture U.S. Hispanics’ wallets.
Creative Customer Acquisition
One of the coolest aspects of this Hispanic youth is their obsession with mobile. They are twice as likely to engage with social ads and purchase products. That means there’s room to explore creative and new go to market strategies for this particular customer segment. For example, social shopping is big in Latinx communities and startups are beginning to notice. I encourage startups to explore and come with innovation around acquiring customers.
U.S. Hispanics were once the overlooked stepchild of Uncle Sam. However, given their growing purchasing power, it’s time for businesses to realize we are an unstoppable force and get on board or lose out. I am excited to see more founders targeting the hypercultural latinx get funded.