SPE CI AL E DI TI O N — WI NTER 2013
wHAt MArketers cAn LeArn From the recent Presidential election
of the electorate
AwAkening of HispAnic voters & their influence on swing states
tHe obAMA coALition
in political campaigns
the role of
& presidential elections
At the Corner of Culture
The Hispanic Vote in 2012 and Beyond The growing minority vote played an unmistakable role in the U.S. presidential election. Minorities’ national share of the vote, exponentially rising eligible voters, and key-state vote differentials all lead to a clear point — ethnic voters will continue to play an integral role in national elections. And Hispanics, in particular, are an ever-important part of the electorate that can’t be ignored. For years, campaign strategists have underscored the importance of engaging Hispanics. This past November, more than 11 million Hispanics voted in the presidential election — 10% of the national electorate. Just as whites’ share of the vote is declining each election, Hispanics’ share is growing. Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the U.S., estimated to grow to 132 million by 2050, making up 30% of the country’s population. There are currently 24 million Hispanics eligible to vote, a 7.6 million-person increase since 2004, with 50,000 Hispanics turning 18 every month. That helps explain why 1.3 million more Hispanics voted in November than in 2008 while national overall turnout declined significantly. Moreover, from 2008 to 2012 the number of Hispanics who voted increased by more than 11%. And Hispanics take civic duties seriously, reliably voting at a high percentage — between 46-49% of eligible Hispanics voted in the last two elections. There’s a lesson here for anyone who looks at this kind of stuff, like I do. Politicians, political parties and even marketers will face problems if they don’t decide to engage the Hispanic community. Gov. Romney lost Hispanics by over 40 points fueling President Obama’s reelection. Given the current trajectory, no one will be able to be elected to national office without the support of Hispanic voters. And marketers who don’t see the parallels will also lose the opportunity to build their brand and grow market share. Brands must increase their understanding of their customers as well as demographic shifts. Increased understanding should be partnered with strong cultural engagement. It’s time for companies to understand the behaviors that drive Hispanics to connect emotionally with their brands. Brands must identify and hone in on those unique and powerful cultural insights and triggers. These ultimately will form the foundation of a compelling campaign that will foster consumer desire, loyalty and set you apart from the competitors. So ask yourself: would you rather be Romney, or Obama?
Armando Azarloza President The Axis Agency
The Face of the Electorate The Obama Coalition
Awakening of Hispanic Voters & Their Influence in Swing States
The Role of Social Media in Political Campaigns
Celebrity Power & Presidential Elections
New Faces for 2016
The Face of the Electorate
Changing Demographics Signal New Found Influence of Minorities
There is a profound demographic shift in the population that is impacting all levels of government, elections, political parties and alliances. The increasing influence of America’s traditional minority groups is by no means recent news. Demographers, politicians and political pundits alike have long known that the American population was rapidly changing, and that this change would have a profound effect on the nation’s political landscape and identity. But just how large has this change in minority populations been? And what impact is it expected to have on the American political
Since the start of the new century, minority groups combined have grown from representing 31% of the population, to 37% in 2012
scene? The answer to both questions is simple: There’s been a profound demographic shift in the population, and this shift is projected to have a massive impact on all levels of government, elections, political parties and alliances for generations to come. Over the past few decades, America has experienced a sizable shift in its populace, with minorities increasingly accounting for a greater percentage of the total U.S. population. Since the start of the new century, minority groups combined have grown from representing 31% of the population, to 37% in 2012. While a 6% increase might not seem like a lot to some, it is a staggering figure when you consider that minorities accounted for over 90% of the aggregate population growth in that short time period. This population change can only be described as nothing short of a cultural and demographic tidal wave.
U.S. Population by Race: 2000 vs. 2012
African American Hispanic Asian Other
12% 13% 4% 2%
12% 17% 5% 3%
0% +31% +25% +50%
U.S. Elections: Vote by Race: 2000 vs. 2012
African American Hispanic Asian Other
13% 5% 2% 1%
13% 10% 3% 2%
0% +100% +50% +100%
A similar shift has also taken place in terms of the electorate. During that same timeframe, minorities dramatically increased their share of the electorate and went from casting 20% of the vote in 2000 to a record 28% of votes in 2012. This explosive growth not only helped make the difference in traditional electoral college-rich states with heavy ethnic populations like California and Florida, but also in key swing states with emerging minority populations like Nevada and Colorado, that ultimately proved to make a difference in the 2012 presidential election. A deeper look at 2012 election results also signaled another shift that is worth following closely: namely the rising influence of women and young voters, as well as minorities’ increasingly overwhelming support for the Democratic Party, and their growing support of political candidates-of-color that are helping to change the racial make-up of Federal, State and Local political offices.
If these demographic changes have taught us anything, it is that the newfound political influence and sway of minorities will continue to drive the winds of change in the American political scene for generations to come. Coming off the recent election, it is now safe to say that America has collectively woken up, taken notice of these groups, and is bracing itself for a fundamentally different political reality at every level of government and across all four corners of the country.
Sources: CNN, 2012 National Election Results: Vote by Race Pew Research Center tabulations from the Current Population Survey, 1988-2008 US Census, 2000 & 2011/2012
The Obama Coalition
A surge in America’s multicultural population is seen as far back as 1950, according to the Population Reference Bureau. But now, the increasing “browning” of the U.S. is clearer than ever, and is credited as the force that returned the nation’s first black president to the White House. As marketers, we should take note of the rapidly changing face of America and adapt brand messaging to cater to diverse audiences
According to the Pew Research Center, nationally, nonwhite voters comprised 28% of all voters in November, up from 26% in 2008. Though this may be seen as a slight increase, President Barack Obama needed every bit of it. His share of those non-white voters, 80%, was the same as it was four years ago, Pew indicated. Post-election analysis shows that he needed this because his share of white voters dropped to 39% in November, from 43% in 2008. Clearly, the sheer increase in the number of voters of color in the highly contested states — “battleground” states like Ohio and Florida — was critical to the Obama campaign. According to Pew, African-Americans were 15% of the Ohio electorate, up from 11% in 2008. In Florida, Hispanics represented 17% of the vote in November, up from 14% four years ago. The fastest growing segment of the non-white population, Hispanics, was especially important to the president’s victory. He earned nearly 75% of their vote, compared with 67% in 2008. Meanwhile, black voters remained constant in their support at about 94%. The president won support from Asian voters by a 74-to-25% margin, up sharply from the 27-point advantage four years ago, according to Pew. So how did the Obama campaign take advantage of this growing change in the electorate? How could he do so well among these voters despite the fact that joblessness continues to place a disproportionately heavy burden on Hispanic and African American communities? Surely, key policy positions on immigration, health care, education, taxes and more were influential at the ballot box. However, other factors likely fueled the president’s support among non-white voters. And marketers, who are as affected by the rapidly changing face of America as politicians are, ought to take note on these factors: MESSAGES AND TONE The Obama campaign’s “Forward” theme spoke to the possibilities of the future, and multicultural audiences — which skew younger than the general population — readily welcome the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of them rather than perceived problems of the past. They know that the future includes even brighter days for them, based on their rising levels of education and discretionary income. While that message of an inclusive future was important, it was also expressed with a welcoming tone of respect for the unique needs and desires of people of all cultures, faiths, sexual orientation, and ideologies. SOCIAL MEDIA AS A CRUCIAL MOBILIzATION FACTOR As it did in the president’s 2008 campaign, social media proved to be a critical means of sharing news, platform messages and get-out-the-vote information as quickly as possible. Hispanics and African Americans are particularly heavy social media consumers, so friend-to-friend information exchange on laptops, smartphones and tablets was a daily part of their election decisions. According to Census data, people of color now comprise 37% of the country’s more than 311 million people. Last year, for the first time, more than half of the babies born in the U.S. were from racial and ethnic minorities. So, in a highly competitive marketplace filled with choice, brands must always check the messages and channels they use to win the endorsement of the multicultural consumer. By doing so, they can successfully ride the wave of population change year after year — like the Obama campaigns.
Presidential candidates’ policy positions on immigration, health care, education, taxes and more were influential at the ballot box, but other factors like messaging and tone greatly influenced younger voters and multicultural audiences
Awakening of Hispanic Voters & Their Influence in Swing States
The Latino voter’s support for immigration reform and greater access to healthcare, compounded by the Republican failure to connect with this group was a key factor contributing to Obama’s re-election
President Obama’s lopsided advantage among Latino voters was the widest gap ever recorded among Latinos in a U.S. presidential election
In the 2012 presidential election, the swing states of Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado represented 110 of the 270 electoral votes needed for the presidential victory. Swing states have had the power to determine a candidate’s fate and as such are fiercely contested territory by presidential campaigns. They’re blitzed with intensity unrivaled in other areas of the country and although this last election was no exception, there was, however, a new variable at play nudging the Blue or Red tilt of the swing — the Latino vote. At 55 million strong, the Latino population comprises the largest minority group in the U.S. today and represents more than 10% of the voting public. Most analysts concluded that the Latino voter’s support for immigration reform and greater access to healthcare, compounded by the Republican failure to connect with this group was a key factor contributing to Obama’s re-election. A prescient Time Magazine March cover story titled “Yo Decido” (I Decide) underscored the importance of the Latino vote in the upcoming elections. According to several polls, including the ImpreMedia-Latino Decisions poll, President Obama won 75% of Latino voters nationwide. If it wasn’t for that Latino advantage, Obama would have lost the national popular vote. What proved to be the decisive factor securing the win for President Obama was his ability to court and sway the Latino vote in key swing states, exceeding in most cases the 75% national average. President Obama secured 87% of the Latino vote in Colorado, 80% in Nevada, 82% in Ohio, 66% in Virginia, and 58% in Florida. Even accounting for the fact that in some of these states the Latino electorate is still a small percentage of the whole, the close presidential race just served to emphasize even more the importance of the Latino vote. As the voting U.S. Latino population continues to increase with 900,000 Latinos each year turning 18 years old, the days of Latino influence being concentrated in Florida, California or Texas has given way to a Latino presence that is continuously expanding and becoming substantially more far-reaching and influential. When talking about Latino influence today, in addition to Miami, New York and LA, we now must mention places like Nashville, Charlotte, Detroit, and Boise, among so many others.
the Latino population comprises the largest minority group in the U.S. today and represents more than 10% of the voting public
In a Fox Latino post-election article, Clarissa Martinez, director of civic engagement and immigration at the National council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights group said, “It’s unequivocally clear now that the road to the White House goes through Hispanic neighborhoods.” The road to a brand’s success also goes through Hispanic neighborhoods, and as marketers, we must ensure that brands invest in Hispanic marketing to reach this growing, influential segment of the population.
The Role of Social Media in Political Campaigns
How Social Media Helped the Presidential Candidates at the Polls
In this digital era when people use the internet as their main tool to communicate and stay informed, the presidential election campaigns took to social media to create engagement about a variety of issues. Traditional TV and radio spots were no longer the norm, and the campaigns worked arduously to capture and keep the attention of potential voters. For Republican candidate Mitt Romney, his campaign ramped up efforts in the days leading up to the election, with a social media team that grew from 14 staffers in the primaries, to around 120 people during the presidential campaign, using social media channels such as Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter, as well as smartphone apps to keep the voter’s attention. President Obama’s team also kept social media as one of the top priorities during the presidential campaign. With a significantly larger social media presence than Gov. Romney, Obama’s social media team kept busy by posting information about the candidate’s position on different issues, as well as photos, encouraging messages and voter
information. The Obama campaign was very active on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, among other social media sites.
Quick response and speedy turnaround were key to success
With hashtags and quotes trending almost immediately following any presidential speeches or campaign events, there was a much higher need to post and respond quickly. This prompted each campaign to have rapid response experts in place who not only researched trending topics, but also helped craft witty and poignant responses to any number of different issues and messages. For example, a sharp speech by actor and Romney supporter, Clint Eastwood, during the Republican National Convention to an empty chair (pretending that President Obama was sitting next to Eastwood,) prompted a viral response about the “Invisible Obama” from Romney supporters and groups. The Obama team didn’t take long
to react, however, with an equally witty photo via Twitter, depicting President Obama sitting in a chair marked “the President.” The caption used for this picture was “This seat’s taken.” The social media team’s fast response was widely applauded, and in turn generated an increased following for the campaign.
Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts from supporting groups, such as Latinos for Obama, Women for Obama and Juntos Con Romney gathered millions of followers for each campaign. To prove that their campaign was up-to-date with digital technology, Gov. Romney’s digital campaign director, zac Moffat, spoke widely to prominent media outlets about the candidate’s digital effort citing that they believed it was consistent and up to par with President Obama’s digital campaign in terms of strategy, engagement and advertising. The Romney campaign team earned more than 12 million Facebook fans and over 2 million followers on Twitter.
Both the Republican and the Democrat campaigns hired rapid response experts who managed the flow of information on the social media sites
Clint Eastwood’s sharp speech during the Republican Convention (left) prompted a viral response about “Invisible Obama” from Romney supporters. But the Obama team quickly reacted with an equally witty response via Twitter (top).
Even with such large teams of experts, social media also presented challenges when posts included typos, or inaccurate phrases that could be taken out of context. For example, a Romney campaign mobile app embarrassingly misspelled the word “America,” showing instead the following phrase: “For a Better Amercia.” This generated a great deal of conversation from both sides, with Democrats making fun of the typo, and Republicans playing it down. On the other hand, when President Obama commented in a speech and used the phrase “You didn’t build that,” Republicans seized on the moment to criticize the president for not supporting private business. In cases like these, it is important to have experts in communications and social media on your side to ensure mistakes are handled in the fastest and most efficient manner. APPEALING TO YOUNGER AND DIVERSE AUDIENCES President Obama’s followers skewed younger than Gov. Romney’s, with a majority of fans falling between the ages of 18-34 while a majority of older fans between ages 35-54 flocked to Gov. Romney. Besides the official Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for both candidates, their wives and their vice presidential running mates; additional
However, the Obama campaign overwhelmed its opponent with its 25 million followers on Twitter, over 30 million Facebook fans and with many supporting groups across diverse digital and social media channels that gathered millions of other followers. The increasing power of social media is something that marketers can’t ignore. Having a social media rapid response team in place for marketing campaigns is key to managing the overwhelming flow of information that social media sites can generate. Only with a carefully planned communications’ strategy for each specific brand, can we provide our clients with the most successful way to address social media and engage with our audiences.
Celebrity Power & Presidential Elections
The power of celebrities goes beyond the screen or the stage. Fans follow their favorite celebrities’ whereabouts and doings, and these celebrities have become powerful influencers because of it. Multicultural marketers have taken this into consideration when ideating campaigns and finding a suitable celebrity to endorse their brands. Yet celebrities’ influence and power have also played an important role in the recent presidential elections
“When a celebrity endorses a person running for office, it is, in a sense, a form of branding… The brand name is the celeb’s name attached to the ticket.”
Lawrence Pitilli, Associate Professor of Speech at St. John’s University
From hosting lavish fundraising events in their homes, to appearing in public videos and performing at presidential rallies, celebrities have increasingly invested time and money to influence their followers, and ultimately, the voters. However, publicly supporting a specific candidate can be a double-edged sword. Fans could feel betrayed and ultimately stop following or even boycott their favorite star for showing open support to a candidate who goes against their own political views. In the last presidential election, a number of key Hispanic and African American celebrities played important and prominent roles in the campaigns. EVA LONGORIA The Desperate Housewives’ star was named one of President Obama’s national co-chairs in 2012. Longoria starred in a viral video directed to Latino voters, where she cited President Obama’s efforts to support small businesses in the Hispanic community and promote immigration reform. However, Longoria’s open support for Obama didn’t go well with her conservative fans, especially after she retweeted a message calling Gov. Romney “a racist” and questioning why any woman or minority would vote for him. Latino conservative groups like the Café con Leche Republicans and The Latino Coalition demanded an apology from Longoria. She later apologized and tweeted that she had “never personally called any conservative women stupid. I think you are all beautiful and strong and smart!” Additional Latino and African American celebrities who voiced their support for Obama during the presidential elections included actress Rosie Perez, who appeared on a YouTube video mocking Gov. Romney; singers Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z, who hosted fundraising events and actively campaigned for President Obama; as well as other major African American and Hispanic celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Selena Gomez, Tyler Perry and George Lopez. PAUL RODRIGUEz Comedian Paul Rodriguez was one of the Latino celebrities who openly supported Gov. Romney. He appeared on a Latino-targeted ad for Gov. Romney, expressing his disappointment over President Obama and citing that he believed that Romney would be better than Obama at handling the economy, which, he said, would benefit Latinos. After being a lifelong Democrat and voting for Obama in 2008, Rodriguez, who was born in Mexico to farmer parents, expressed his distaste for the Obama administration, when they ignored his pleas and the San Joaquin Valley farmers´ requests to reopen the much needed water supply for their crops. The San Joaquin water supply was cut after minnows were classified an endangered species. Additional Hispanic and African American celebrities who endorsed Gov. Romney included African American actress Stacey Dash, best known for her memorable role as Alicia Silverstone’s sidekick during the 1995 teen film “Clueless.” She received angry fan tweets when she openly expressed her support for Gov. Romney, but answered back asking them to respect her political views and choices. Other Romney supporters included actors Andy Garcia and Erik Estrada; Mexican American actor and soap star Eduardo Verastegui and urban Latin music artist, Daddy Yankee. The power of celebrities can help sway their devoted fan’s political views. The same goes with brands and marketers. Finding the right celebrity for your campaign is critical in an era where a successful celebrity partnership can increase product sales, and where an unforeseen or not well researched celebrity scandal can completely destroy the cleverest marketing campaign. As marketers, we should learn from the recent presidential campaign celebrity endorsements and apply these learnings to the way we pair celebrities with different brands, to appeal to multicultural audiences.
New Faces for 2016
As we embrace the results of the recent presidential elections, we should keep in mind the influence of U.S. Hispanics in national politics, and the role they will play in the 2016 elections
Could our next president be Hispanic?
REPUBLICANS Senator Marco Rubio (R) Florida’s Cuban American Senator Marco Rubio was elected in 2011. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate, Rubio was the first Hispanic to become Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.
Governor Susana Martinez (R) Being elected as the Governor of New Mexico made her the first female Governor of that state, as well as the first Latina Governor in U.S. history. Martinez, who is Mexican American, was named Hispanic Business Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” for her extraordinary work as Governor.
Governor Brian Sandoval (R) Brian Sandoval is the Governor of Nevada. One of his many accomplishments was to become the state’s first Hispanic federal judge, as well as the first Hispanic candidate ever elected to statewide office in Nevada. His family is originally from Mexico.
George P. Bush (R) The eldest son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush, George P. Bush is an attorney and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves. The son of a Mexican American mother, he recently declared himself a candidate for office in Texas. Many expect him to go into national politics following the path of his uncle and grandfather.
DEMOCRATS Senator Bob Menendez (D) A member of the Democrat leadership in the U.S. Senate, Bob Menendez is a U.S. Senator from the state of New Jersey. Born to Cuban immigrants, Senator Menendez has made a name for himself in helping reform the country’s intelligence, security and public health systems.
Mayor Antonio Villarraigosa (D) The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villarraigosa is the third Mexican American to run the City of Los Angeles in over 130 years. A national political figure, he served as a chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and previously was national co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Mayor Julián Castro (D) Serving as the Mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro was the first Hispanic keynote speaker ever at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Castro is also the fifth Latino mayor in the history of San Antonio.
Congressman Xavier Becerra (D) Xavier Becerra serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s 31st congressional district. As a member of the Democrat leadership in the House, Becerra, a Mexican American, is a leading voice on Hispanic issues such as immigration, healthcare and education.
Cold Monday morning, 10 am to be precise. We’re at the client’s headquarters. Big conference room, expensive oak table, 10 suits fumbling with their pens, their moleskin notepads right in front of them. The boss clears his throat, looks fiercely at us and says, “Thank you for joining us. As you may or may not know, we’re seeking an agency of record and are in the process of screening select shops for a productive and long lasting partnership. This particular stage is what some folks call the chemistry check. But, let me make a very important point here. I’m not looking for affable or polite. I’m not looking for ‘Yes, Sir.’ And I‘m most definitely not looking for reactive mouse pushers. I want guts, because I want glory. Our first dive into the multicultural marketplace can’t and won’t be a coy one. We won’t ask consumers to dance with us in a cowardly manner. We won’t be hesitant, and we won’t flip flop. With that said, I would like to open the conversation and hear your thoughts on how you see our products fitting in with Hispanics and African Americans.” Long pause. My turn to speak. “Thank you for that bold and honest introduction, Jim. We’re pleased to be here. Now, let me tell you how we see it. We believe that there’s a lot to learn from the past election. The American demographic has changed considerably. Point being, minorities were key in deciding who would lead us. That’s because someone was talking to them and telling them something they cared about. Although the narrative was inclusive of all Americans,
the messaging was tailored to each group and formed a dialogue — not a monologue. You want to be Romney or do you want to be Obama, I asked?” I continnued, “Our philosophy is shaped by engagement. We don’t just do advertising, social, digital or PR. We look for cultural movements that are shaping the way we live and align brands with that bigger picture, inspiring audiences.” “We create cultural engagements that go beyond campaigns, promotions or announcements. We work our butts off on a daily basis, and if we don’t agree with what you want, we will tell you what you need.” Jim rubs his hands vigorously. There’s a long silence. I don’t know if he’s warming his hands or if he’s getting ready to make some earth shattering point. He says, “You certainly grabbed my interest when you said cultural engagements. Keep talking, please.” I smile politely. “You see, the work we do has no special formulas, and it’s mostly based on common sense. We go beyond impressions, and we focus on creating relationships. We go beyond branded storytelling and explore digital story sharing. But we don’t just engage. We mobilize. And we are 100% certain that we can partner with your brand and pursue this big opportunity. The opportunity to drive inspiration, ensure trust, earn advocacy and deliver scalability.” Jim taps the oak table. He stands up — a wave of energy exudes from his body. “Thanks, folks, for meeting with us. We will evaluate your capabilities and let you know the outcome of our search. In the meantime, if you’re not opposed to this idea, I’d like to take you to lunch. There’s a great restaurant across the street.” When he heads to the front door, Jim taps my shoulder and whispers “You had me at cultural engagements.”
CONTACT Armando Azarloza President The Axis Agency 8687 Melrose Ave., 9th Fl. Los Angeles, CA 90069 firstname.lastname@example.org
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