Multicultural Marketing: Objectives, Obstacles, Strategy & Results

Hispanic & Latino Digital Marketing Case Study

“Our strategy for coming to the Spanish speaking market was people, process, products and finally, promotion. We are finally promoting!

Steven Stapp, CEO Unitus Community Credit Union, Former Chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions

Key Considerations For Multicultural Marketing

It was a years-long journey to this point…running the first multicultural marketing campaign for a billion dollar credit union located in Portland, Oregon. 

The Objective

Unitus Community Credit Union desired to connect authentically, build trust, grow membership and provide more inclusive services to Spanish speakers and the Latino community in their diverse field of membership (FOM).

Building trust and demonstrating authenticity were two core values that were taken very seriously throughout this process.

Two dads walking to soccer practice in a park with their kids.
Image outtake from Unitus' "There Is More That Unites Us" video production. The diverse cast consisted of professional actors alongside actual Unitus members and employees.

The Obstacles

  • The Right People: Recruiting, training and retaining Spanish speaking employees that represent the Hispanic and Latino cultures.
  • The Right Process: Developing an internal process that equitably serves Spanish speakers. Nationwide, approximately 12% of Hispanic households are unbanked, compared to 2.5% of white ones. Building trust and demonstrating authenticity was paramount.
  • The Right Products: Overcoming issues internally with products and services so that everything could be represented in a bilingual format. This included all third-party app providers (i.e. online banking and mortgage applications), translating the website, dual language signage and more.
  • The Right Promotion: Representing the Hispanic and Latino communities accurately and appropriately in all advertising creative visuals, with ad copy in both Spanish and English, diverse on-screen talent and inclusive marketing messaging.

The Backstory

Embracing the Hispanic and Latino communities is an initiative close to the heart of Unitus CEO Steven Stapp, who is a fluent Spanish-speaker himself, was propelled by his professional experience serving on the board of World Council of Credit Unions for 7 years and as Chair from 2018-2020, which included global travel to many Spanish speaking countries. Steven’s personal background is also a motivator - his grandfather is from Spain and his wife is from Mexico. 

Steven is an advocate for the credit union movement, firmly believing that credit unions, when put in contrast with other financial institutions, are much more aligned with the needs of the community and that they are trusted by their members. Diversity, equity and inclusion is an important initiative at the credit union.

“My first credit union international experience was through in-the-field engagement in Ecuador. When a flood wiped out an entire community that was downstream, community members formed a credit union to help in the rebuilding process. Although the credit union started very small, they provided much needed capital to small businesses so that they could restart and ultimately build savings and lending products for housing and farm/agriculture products. As the community developed trust in the credit union as a vital part of their economic engine, they began to invest and save more. Today, this credit union is the largest in Ecuador and technically advanced in providing digital services to their members and supporting additional community programs.” 

- Steven Stapp, Unitus Community Credit Union CEO
Originally published on 7/28/2020, in an interview with the Northwest Credit Union Association.
stephanie with edge and anthony with izo
Stephanie Chadwick, CEO, Edge & Anthony Veliz, President of Izo Public Relations and Marketing

“It’s clear that this initiative was about much more than growing membership numbers - it was about recognizing and embracing the local community - and that means including everyone - and providing a much needed resource that can make lives better. It was an honor - and it was exciting - to work with Steven and his excellent Marketing Team to expand their diversity of credit union members through this multicultural marketing project. Their work will have a profound impact on the community at large.”

Stephanie Chadwick, CEO, Edge

The Strategy

Several key must-haves were carefully set into place prior the execution of this multicultural media marketing and messaging strategy. True to form, Edge worked closely with our client-partner Unitus and their other partners to ensure a strong campaign launch. 

In preparation for this initiative, Unitus:

  • Made sure to be adequately staffed with Spanish-speakers 
  • Translated their credit union website to Spanish 
  • Consulted with native Spanish speakers through various avenues
  • Earned the Juntos Avanzamos distinction. Juntos Avanzamos means “Together We Advance” and is a designation for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic and immigrant consumers. 

Unitus is the second credit union in Oregon to earn the Juntos Avanzamos distinction, which was celebrated with an event on September 17, 2021 at the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Don’t let perfection and fear stop progress. Multicultural Marketing is evolving and it will be muddy.”

- Anthony Veliz, President of Izo Public Relations and Marketing. A full-service Multicultural Marketing Agency specializing in the Latino market.
Screenshot of Spanish language version of the Unitus Community Credit Union website.
Spanish language version of the Unitus Community Credit Union website.

Key milestones Edge partnered with Unitus to achieve:

  • Translating the website to Spanish
  • Conducting market research to identify the best messaging tactics for creative development
  • Crafting the creative concept, writing the script and storyboard
  • Producing all creative deliverables in Spanish and English
  • Working with native Spanish-speaking voice over talent and using the same voice over talent to read the copy in English
  • Using the same visuals, props and talent in the video creative for both the Spanish and English versions of the ad
  • Partnering with a multicultural marketing agency specializing in the Latino market to act as a checkpoint on all milestones - from video location and props to script transcreation.

The Reasoning

We learned that many Latino members of our community don’t speak Spanish as their first language, but they are very attached to their culture. Partnering with a voiceover talent that is obviously Spanish-speaking and working with on-screen talent and props that reflect this beautiful culture demonstrated an authentic desire by Unitus to connect with the Latino and Hispanic community and serve them as members of the credit union.

The Results

  • Set a record for quarterly Membership & Checking conversion in Q4 2021
  • Generated $1.8M in Estimated Revenue from Ads
  • Garnered a 6.5:1 Estimated Return on Ad Spend
  • Increased Spanish-Speaking website users by +768% Year-over-Year
  • Helped increase all-channel Membership Apps by +23% oPP and 42% YoY
  • 80-85% of this increase came from the Edge-run video and HTML5 display campaigns
graph of average spanish speakers on website
7x Increase in Spanish Language Users: Unitus went from welcoming an average of just 5 users per day with their browsers set to Spanish to an average of 35.

The Creative

Our layered strategy included:

  • A two-pronged digital campaign with all creative in both Spanish and English
    • Video (:30s, :15s and :06s) 
    • HTML5 digital banner ads (14-ads in top performing sizes) 
    • YouTube, Open Exchange Video and Open Exchange HTML5 
  • Capturing footage for Spanish speaking video testimonials to air at the Juntos Avanzamos event and on social media
  • Timing the campaign launch during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-Oct 15)
  • Transcreating the copy for the ads, which is different from just “translating”. An example of this is:
    • English copy written by Edge: Family… it’s more than shared genes… shared history… or shared culture.
    • Spanish transcreated copy (in English) completed by Izo: Family… It’s more than being bonded by blood, more than having shared history, colors and flavors. 

Here's an example of the transcreated voice-over copy for the 30-second video spots.

The Edge Difference

Edge is a full-stack ad agency that has worked with Unitus Community Credit Union since 2008. We approach client needs and goals holistically and empathetically – considering first the human beings that we hope to see at the end of the sales funnel and how we can consult and partner with our clients to connect and engage with them in a meaningful way. 

Early to the digital and web space, Edge built Unitus’ most recent website and is responsible for maintaining and hosting it. Edge translated the site to Spanish, crafted and produced creative deliverables for video and digital use and planned and managed campaigns to achieve the clients desired results.  

What’s Next

Moving forward from a successful multicultural digital marketing campaign, Unitus Community Credit Union is now running most, if not all, marketing campaigns with a multicultural approach. 

Together We Advance. The commitment is made. The Juntos Avanzamos flag is waving from the plaza in front of the Unitus Community Credit Union downtown headquarters. 

This is an exciting time. Edge is thrilled to partner with Unitus and pioneer multicultural marketing campaigns for credit unions.

The Summary

According to the Hispanic Marketing Council, only 6% of ad spend is directed toward the Hispanic community, while Hispanics represent 19% of the total US population. This gap is an opportunity for those that are prepared to serve this community.

With the Hispanic population in the US projected to drive 62% of the total US population growth through 2025, as well as the US being the second largest Spanish-speaking country (behind Mexico), there is a vast opportunity to reach a consumer group that is loyal to brands that demonstrate social responsibility as a core value. With the Credit Union's mission of “People Helping People”, it’s a natural fit to pursue engagement with these vibrant and diverse Hispanic and Latino communities.

“This shouldn’t be a scary topic. A lot of organizations are struggling with this because they’re afraid to do it the wrong way… so they’re not doing it at all.” 

- Austi Baudro, Client Services and Strategy Manager, Edge

If you would like to talk more about your organization's next steps to successful multicultural marketing, please get in touch. We’d love to partner with you to help share your story and engage with the Hispanic and Latino communities.

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