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How can a global brand with a strong presence overseas be successful in the United States? 

This was the question of our client, an international food and beverage manufacturer. They had a brand with a strong presence overseas that they hoped to expand into the U.S. The brand was popular with Unacculturated Hispanics who had moved to the United States from countries where this brand already had a strong presence; the manufacturer hoped to begin to grow the brand by attracting Acculturated Hispanics in the U.S.. To do this, they first needed a deeper understanding of the Hispanic consumer, including the commonalities and differences across acculturation levels.

The manufacturer approached C+R’s CultureBeat team to conduct foundational research on Hispanic consumers across the acculturation spectrum. In response, we developed a multi-phase research study utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods to dig deeper into Hispanic consumers’ food culture, including unmet needs and triggers. With these insights, our client developed communication strategies to bring forward their brand’s story and reach more consumers. 

Problem

Our client, a well-known multinational food and beverage manufacturer, was looking to bring more of its global brands to US-based audiences. One of its brands resonated strongly with Unacculturated Hispanic consumers who had moved to the United States from countries where this brand has a strong presence. The client hoped to better understand and leverage this loyalty to develop strategies for extending the reach of the brand to Acculturated Hispanics and, thus, to increases sales of the brand’s products in the United States.  

To this end, our client first needed to understand the Hispanic consumer, including the commonalities and differences across acculturation levels. They approached C+R for help in conducting foundational research examining Hispanics’ cooking habits, traditions, needs, shopping behaviors, and drivers across various acculturation segments. 

Result

As a result of the research program, our client gained a greater understanding of the needs, similarities, and differences among Acculturated, Unacculturated, and Bicultural Hispanic consumers when it comes to cooking and eating traditional Hispanic meals and their preferred products. The client learned more about Hispanic consumers’ food journeys, as well as product perceptions of their brand and competitors’. They also gained actionable insights to help them tailor their marketing and communication messages to various consumers to expand their brand in the United States.

Solution

To help our client gain foundational learnings regarding Hispanic consumers’ cooking habits, traditions, and needs, C+R’s multicultural division, CultureBeat, conducted a three-phase mixed method research study consisting of two qualitative phases and one quantitative phase.

After a kickoff grounding session to align on specific goals for the project, we began with a qualitative digital ethnography to explore needs, habits, occasions, behaviors, and cooking experiences. Hispanic consumers (representing all acculturation levels) from across the United States engaged in a multi-day online community to discuss their views and perceptions of the Hispanic food culture, flavors, and seasonings products important to the Hispanic culture. The discussion also covered their cooking journey and the perceptions and role of brands. 

 Participants also completed a mobile mission where they prepared a meal at home and shared their cooking methods and the products they depend upon when cooking (including our client's product).

Phase 2 consisted of in-depth webcam interviews. A subset of participants from the Digital Ethnography participated in webcam interviews which allowed us to dig deeper into the category, our client's product's role in the kitchen, and helped us to uncover the best ways to position the authenticity and value of the client's brand across Hispanic segments.

During Phase 3, we conducted a quantitative foundational survey to confirm and dimensionalize the behaviors observed in the qualitative phases. We profiled a robust sample of Hispanic consumers spanning various acculturation levels and asked them about their food, shopping, and category habits. This allowed us to understand how key behaviors, preferences, and priorities shift as consumers acculturate.

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