2014 Rewind: 5 Multicultural Media Trends to Watch

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the year that’s passed and its influence on what’s to come. Join us as we continue to rewind the year and read previous 2014 Rewinds here.

2014 Rewind - Multicultural Media

Multicultural media and marketing work together so fluidly that you can’t think about trends for one without the other. The market dictates programming, while journalists and producers typically must balance their audience’s demands with those of advertisers.

This merging continued in 2014. Brands’ content marketing efforts and user-generated movements like Black Twitter developed a stronger voice online as journalists ventured into brand journalism and traditional news agencies embraced social media to reach a larger audience.

Essentially, media organizations have had to adopt marketing strategies and marketers have had to polish their writing skills.

To get the full picture of why this merger of media and marketing is gaining ground, I reached out to multicultural journalists and conference organizers for their thoughts on trends to keep watching in this space.

Left to right: Hugo Balta, Adriana Waterson, Adam Jacobson

Left to right: Hugo Balta, Adriana Waterson, Adam Jacobson

INCREASE IN Bilingual Content

Hugo Balta (@hugobalta), senior director of multicultural content with ESPN and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, explains that Hispanic-focused marketing saw an increase in bilingual content in English and Spanish language media in 2014. This largely took place around the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

“Mega companies like McDonald’s and Wells Fargo produced television spots which reflected the experience of the majority of Hispanic households across the country,” Balta said. “I think we will see more companies follow this example in 2015 as they realize it doesn’t alienate other communities.”

He adds that non-Spanish speakers easily can follow and relate to messages about family interaction, especially when the English spoken in commercials complements and sometimes mirrors what’s said in Spanish. “After all, with 54+ million Latinos in the U.S., it is safe to say many if not most non-Spanish speaking people have heard Spanish spoken and often in the market they live in,” he said.


Adam Jacobson (@AdamRJacobson1), publisher of The Hispanic Market Overview Report, explains that reaching Hispanics today includes traditional media, social media, and digital media.

Jacobson’s 2014 report focused on the “total market” approach and the importance of social media in reaching Hispanics.

However, he warns that since “budgets haven’t grown and with this hyperfocus on ‘total market’ permeating our industry, my concern is that companies will use this idea of a ‘total market approach’ as a convenient excuse for trimming their US Hispanic marketing down to the bone, or eliminating it altogether.”

The Influenced Become Influencers

Adriana Waterson (@adriana_tweets), senior vice president of marketing and business development with Horowitz Associates, which produces the annual Multicultural Media Forum, explains that at its 2014 cultural insights conference it introduced the concept of the “transcultural effect.”

“In essence, the ‘transcultural effect’ means that in today’s increasingly diverse, interconnected America, we are all both influenced and influencers on the broader culture around us,” Waterson said. “No culture is static, and certainly ‘American culture’ is not static.  Cultures are ever-changing.   The ‘transcultural effect’ is happening all around us now, accelerated by social media.  We can look at TV today for a great example of the ‘transcultural effect.’”

She pointed to new shows like Blackish, Cristela, and Jane the Virgin that not only feature actors of color, but keep the conversation about culture front and center in the storyline — on mainstream TV for America’s new mainstream audience.

Left to right:  Marcos Baer and Joe Schramm

Left to right: Marcos Baer and Joe Schramm

Content Marketing’s dominance grows

Portada Publisher Marcos Baer says one of the most important trends was the continued ascent of content marketing in the form of brand integrations, native advertising and celebrity endorsements. Portada produces several conferences, including the annual Hispanic Media and Advertising Conference.

Baer says a second trend is the “amplification of messages through social media as well as through content discovery platforms.”

“A third [trend] is the crucial role of data both in the analysis of marketing efforts as in the growth of programmatic (digital) media buying,” he said. “Finally, mobile media consumption is ubiquitous, but marketers are still trying to tackle that opportunity.”

Baer expects these trends to continue to play an important role in 2015, but he cautions marketers to not rely heavily on tech and to not “invade” editorial content with marketing messages.

“To really engage the Hispanic consumer, authenticity will continue to be very important,” he said.

Viewership Goes Online and Mobile

Meanwhile, Joe Schramm, managing partner with Schramm Marketing Group, Inc., says an increase in viewership of internet protocol and streamed television will continue to unfold in the new year. Schramm Marketing Group produces several media conferences, including the Hispanic TV Summit, The Multicultural TV Summit & Leadership Awards and The Multicultural TV Breakfast.

“Hispanics are already loyal users of IP television,” Schramm said. “Most of them access video through wireless, personal ‘smart’ electronic devices.   The majority of these devices are mobile phones.  In 2015, we can expect to see a significant rise in IP TV viewership among Hispanics at a rate that exceeds all other audience segments in the US. ‘New arrivals’ are most likely to access TV programming via IP TV than US-born Latinos.”

Schramm also sees an increase of marketing testing for “cord-cutters” or “cord nevers” in multicultural markets as an important trend and that Pay TV providers, especially cable TV companies will begin research and market testing among Hispanic and other multicultural households.

“Specifically, they will be testing ‘customer acquisition’ or ‘win back’ promotional offers,” he said.

The multicultural market will continue to play a huge role next year. Stay up-to-date on trends and news by opting into one of our multicultural media lists. Journalists and bloggers can email [email protected] for more information or follow us on Twitter @PRNMltCult.

Jessica Alas is Media Relations Director, Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire at PR Newswire. Follow her at @alasjessica.

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