The pulse of the Hispanic community is an intense one, and MEC Bravo and Republica are targeting it.
MEC Bravo, the fourth-largest Hispanic media agency in the U.S., has created successful campaigns for its clients to connect with the ever-growing Hispanic population. Its mega clients include AT&T, Chevron and Macy's.
Republica is a cross-cultural advertising, branding, promotions, digital and communications agency that was recently named one of the top 35 Hispanic agencies by Advertising Age magazine. Republica's clients include Goya Foods, Chivas Regal and Univision Communications.
Both communication agencies are celebrating five years in business.
In 2010, MEC Bravo generated $7.6 million, up 7.1 percent from the prior year and Republica produced $6 million, up 33 percent, according to Advertising Age.
MEC Bravo Knows Hispanics
MEC Bravo, based in New York, is a partnership between London marketing firm MEC and The Bravo Group, one of Hispanic marketing's pioneer agencies. Led by managing director Gonzalo del Fa, MEC Bravo has grown from about 24 employees to 34, with offices in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Puerto Rico.
"We develop communication strategies based on in-depth knowledge of the consumers, and we harness the power of culturally relevant insights," said Mr. del Fa. "We also support that with a layer of ROI (return on investment), analytics and modeling consisting of the latest in syndicated research, customized consumer's studies and proprietary tools specifically developed by MEC Bravo for the Hispanic market."
In 2011, MEC Bravo had approximately 25 percent growth in revenue, and expects to maintain that pace for the next three years, Mr. del Fa said. He said the company plans to focus on business development, digital acceleration, and analytics and insight.
Republica Crosses Cultures
Republica was founded in 2006 by Jorge Plasencia and Luis Casamayor. Mr. Plasencia is chairman and CEO of the Miami-based company with satellite offices in New York; Orlando, Fla.; Cleveland; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The company started with eight employees and has grown to more than 60.
"At Republica we devote much time and effort to the study of (Hispanic) consumers, to working with them, to living among them and knowing what deeply connects with them," Mr. Plasencia told HispanicBusiness magazine. "We understand the consumer because we are the consumer. We have an international staff, from many different countries. They are also expert in the correct use of the Spanish language and in the cultural nuances that are so important to communicating effectively with them."
In October, Republica joined the MAGNET Global independent agency network, which is a group of noncompeting, independently owned advertising agencies in major markets throughout the world. The network is composed of leading agencies, with billings ranging from $8 million to $200 million.
MEC Bravo has discovered that Hispanic consumers adopt elements from each of their cultures, combining different degrees of assimilation and interaction with the general market, according to the company's website.
In 2008, the agency released "Nuevo Americans," a study that explored the motives of Hispanic consumers.
The report, which is updated each year, allows MEC Bravo to look at Hispanic consumers in a progressive way by using attitudes and behaviors as the defining factors in capturing relevant culture nuances.
The study examines five groups of Hispanics who all interact in social networks based on shared experiences and motivations—strugglers, aspirers, sacrificers, succeeders and explorers.
"We did not feel comfortable with the generalization of the Hispanic consumer as 'blue-collar workers that do not make a lot of money, have low education, and speak only Spanish,'" Mr. del Fa said.
Mr. Plasencia agrees that a big misconception about the Hispanic consumer is that the market is homogeneous.
"In fact, it is becoming more heterogeneous and segmented," he said. "Another misconception is that Hispanics will stop speaking Spanish in the future. Here we are in the year 2012 and Spanish-language entertainment and media are growing in leaps."
The leading factor for Hispanics is pride in their culture and language, Mr. Plasencia said.
"In order to get the best ROI on their advertising and marketing dollars, we would like to see corporations investing a greater percentage of their advertising budget in Spanish-language and culturally relevant English-language marketing communications in order to appeal to the millions of U.S. Hispanics who would respond more readily to these types of campaigns," he said.
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