Are Brands Investing in Their Strongest Advocates?

Yocasta Shames is a senior vice president, Edelman New York.

In the current social and political climate, it’s critical for brands to understand where their relationship stands with their consumers. This is especially important for Latino consumers who are no longer a “nice to have,” but a “need to have” segment of any brands’ customer base. And as Latinos become an increasingly vocal and influential force in all aspects of society, it is imperative that brands master how to connect effectively and build meaningful relationships with them.

That’s why Edelman’s first-ever Earned Brand U.S. Multicultural study focuses on examining how African-American and Latino consumers relate to their favorite brands, and what makes them become loyal customers and advocates for a brand. This report also offers insights into what really matters to these individuals and identifies the drivers that will strengthen the consumer-brand relationship across seven dimensions:

  1. Embody a unique character
  2. Build trust
  3. Make a mark
  4. Tell a memorable story
  5. Listen openly, respond selectively
  6. Inspire sharing and invite partnership
  7. Act with purpose

The Edelman Brand Relationship Index (EBRI) measures brands’ performance against each of these seven dimensions and offers an overall score that represents the average relationship quality that brands have attained within the multicultural segment.

The report found that Latinos have a more evolved relationship with the brands they care about, getting closer to the goal of full commitment with their brands. With an EBRI score of 45 (compared to 38 for Non-Hispanic Whites), Latinos are “Invested” with their favorite brands, meaning that not only are they actively choosing them over their competitors and like what they stand for, but they also have a deeper connection to the brands’ present and future – they are in it together.

As brands and agencies begin the planning process for next year’s campaign and initiatives, it’s critical to remember that one size does not fit all for Latinos. Brands and their agency partners must take a culturally-informed communications marketing approach toward engagement, rooting all efforts in cultural intelligence to connect with and engage diverse consumers.


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