Hispanics Lead in Environmental Business
12 Jul, 2012
Hispanic small businesses can capitalize on Hispanic consumers’ desire for sustainable products and their loyalty to Hispanic businessesWith more than $1 trillion in buying power, Hispanic Americans are a powerful economic force. They are also America’s “greenest” consumers, demanding sustainable products and services.
“More than any other ethnic group, the Hispanic community is leading the charge toward adopting sustainable lifestyles and product purchases,” says Karen Barnes, vice president of Insight for Shelton Group, a public relations firm dedicated to sustainable capitalism. Hispanic business leaders must be prepared to leverage this buying power for small business success.
Embrace Environmental Sustainability
For decades, small Hispanic businesses have already been incorporating sustainable practices into their business model. Consider the small Hispanic business JJH Autobody Shop in Salt Lake City, Utah. Family-run for two decades, the business’s founder stressed water conservation and environmental stewardship. The employees hand-washed cars to keep water usage to only one bucket per car–a move that also kept the company’s water bill low.
Family leaders recently attended the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce program, Green Builds Business. Sixty days after the program, the company had switched to higher-efficiency lighting and started a recycling program to reduce its carbon footprint. Not only did JJH Autobody Shop enjoy a significant reduction in operating expenses, but the company also signed car rental giant Avis to a new customer deal.
How did JJH Autobody successfully reach new Hispanic consumers through a green business model when larger corporations frequently fail? Large corporations have tried– and often failed–to capitalize on Hispanic green business. Despite making major marketing investments, these companies fail to understand what motivates Hispanic consumers. Translating an existing marketing slogan into Spanish is not the same as actively marketing to the Hispanic community. For green businesses to successfully reach the Hispanic market, they must reframe their marketing message to incorporate cultural and community references.
What Drives Purchasing Decisions?
Recent market research by the Green Business Bureau confirms what Hispanic leaders already know: family and community drive Hispanic consumers, with a strong focus on cooperation rather than competition. At the same time, Hispanics traditionally prefer to patronize other Hispanic businesses. Not only do Hispanic consumers seek out Hispanic-run businesses, but satisfied customers also provide free word-of-mouth advertising in the community.
The Green Business Bureau cites five key market research findings that are different from traditional American marketing:
1. The collective “we” is more important than the individual.
2. Brand loyalty passes down from one generation to the next.
3. Decision-making is based on word of mouth.
4. Authentic family values matter.
5. Emotional or humorous appeals resonate with the Hispanic market because these appeals are considered more authentic.
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