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Lopez Negrete: Strength at the Core

  • October 14 2011

Leading Hispanic agency makes strategic planning the center of its success.  Major brands are shifting their approach to the Hispanic marketplace. It’s no longer a matter of repurposing existing campaigns into Spanish-language creative. Instead, it’s about understanding the specific needs of multicultural consumers and building strategies specific to those profitable segments.

For Lopez Negrete Communications, one of the top Hispanic agencies in the U.S., this has meant creating a centralized strategic planning unit to serve as the hub of all the agency’s efforts.

“What’s changing is the tone coming from clients and marketers,” says the company’s president, CEO and chief creative officer, Alex López Negrete.

He explains that the 2010 Census results that documented the rise of the Hispanic segment of the population did not surprise his team. But it was striking to some clients. “The economy in their world changed very drastically [in recent years]. Now they’re saying, ‘Oh! I get what you’ve been telling me for the last 15 years—that a serious Hispanic marketing agency would, at some point, become a business imperative as opposed to a nice-to-do. I either do this, or I die!’” says López Negrete.

This shift necessitated the agency’s reorganization. “There’s a center of excellence that all the account teams feed off of,” López Negrete says. “In our new structure, research is a peer to planning. They are interdependent, not co-dependent. That keeps things honest and clean.”

What’s more, almost every business unit has expanded its staff in recent years, and the quality of the team is also on the rise. “We’ve got a new dimension creatively that gives us the bandwidth and diversity and the talent that we’ve never had before,” López Negrete says.

Recent work for Verizon Telecom’s Hispanic website is a prime example of how the reinvented Lopez Negrete Communications operates.  Launched in May, the EnciendeteFiOS.com user experience and information architecture were designed upon defining the Hispanic consumer target’s technographic profile, which was developed jointly by the agency and Forrester Research. This allowed the agency to uncover critical drivers that stood in the way of consumers actually making the decision to purchase Verizon services.

The bilingual Verizon site uses interactive dialogues, video testimonials and editorial content to drive purchase intent. For instance, a custom-built “Advisor” module allows customers to determine the service package that best suits their lifestyle. Phase two, introduced this fall, focuses on incorporating social media through a dedicated Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Marisol Cruz, executive director of strategic planning, says that one of the insights uncovered by the Verizon research was that technology plays an emotional role for many Hispanics because it levels the playing field between them and the mainstream population. “Technology is basically an equal opportunity for all,” Cruz says.

The agency’s efforts paid off big time for Verizon. Its effectiveness rating, which looks at clickthroughs and traffic, increased 74 percent on Verizon’s Spanish-language pages and 95 percent on English-language pages. Cost-per-action, meanwhile, decreased between three and four times what it was before the digital campaign began, according to Leonardo Basterra, executive director of digital strategy at Lopez Negrete Communications.

The work also earned the agency a WebAward from the Web Marketing Association in the category of Best Internet Service Provider Website—judged against everyone, not just Latino contenders.
With the best data at hand, and a stronger team and structure in place, the agency is taking “clients in the digital world deeply, fiercely, profitably and effectively,” says López Negrete.


Below: Lopez Negrete used technographic research to help Verizon Telecom uncover what was important to Hispanic consumers considering its high-speed internet services.