Editor's Note: "The best way to predict the future is to create it," said Luis Miguel Messianu, president and CCO of Alma DDB, as he was recognized as the most influential leader in Hispanic advertising in the last 20 years at The Internationalist's Latin American 100 event. In this talk with the Yahoo Ad Blog, Messianu radiates excitement and optimism about the future of digital marketing to Hispanics and cites mobile and social as two especially promising channels.
Yahoo Ad Blog: Congratulations on being recognized by your peers as "The Most Influential Leader of Hispanic Advertising in the Last 20 Years." What does it mean to you to be an industry icon and what advice do you have for young creatives who want to make an impact?
Luis Miguel Messianu: The most significant aspect of the recognition is that it came from my peers. It's a recognition that was only possible thanks to all the people that have worked around me throughout the years, and especially the clients that have trusted me with their most valuable asset: their brands. It was recognition that only made my commitment to our industry stronger, and that propels me to be a better professional. To the young creatives, I can tell them to work for the ideas and for the clients' bottom line. The recognition and the awards are only a consequence. We should never forget that!
YAB: What is your philosophy for successfully marketing to Hispanics in Spanish and in English? How do you break clients out of the "cookie-cutter" syndrome?
LMM: Our agency philosophy can be summed up as "social creativity." In today's communications world, we need to engage consumers in a conversation, regardless of language. In order to effectively target Hispanics, we need to understand that the most relevant "language" is cultural affinity. Great ideas are never the result of a formula. Each case is different. A cookie-cutter approach can never generate effective results!
YAB: How do you believe Alma has been able to consistently create innovative campaigns for its clients? What sets you apart?
LMM: In an ever-changing world, we can never settle. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels. We are a learning and teaching organization, with a unique spirit of collaboration, both internally and with our clients. We are always curious, and we like to anticipate the trends in order to exercise influence on behalf our client's brands. As I like to say, we compete with our clients' competitors, not with other agencies.
YAB: What are some of your agency's creative strategies to target Hispanics in digital media?
LMM: Our mindset is digital, and we do not see digital as a medium or a discipline. Digital is embedded in our business model and in the way we approach the consumer. If you think about it, Hispanics were already a social network, even before the term was coined. Our overall strategies contain a digital component from the get-go!
YAB: What trends are you seeing with Hispanic consumers' usage of mobile and social platforms?
LMM: Mobile and social platforms are extremely relevant to Hispanics, because it is in their nature to be "on the go." Also, they fulfill two very important needs for our target: the relevance of being connected to their circle of friends and family; and their need for self expression and communication. Social media has turned us into the "paparazzi of our own lives."