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Transcreation: How cultural adaptation can help your Hispanic strategy land, Bounce Marketing & Consulting

Transcreation: How cultural adaptation can help your Hispanic strategy land 

The buying power of Hispanic Americans has grown from $210 billion in 1990 to $3.4 trillion today. For many marketers, the 62 million Americans who identify as Hispanic—19% of the total U.S. population—are an audience worth targeting directly.

To effectively reach the hearts and minds of Hispanic Americans, companies need to go beyond simply translating words from English to Spanish. They should focus on transcreation, a growing area of marketing that adapts messages to resonate with different cultures.

Transcreation explained

Transcreation considers intent and starts with a creative brief that outlines strategic goals. The brief provides information to help the transcreation team—usually a designer and a copywriter—develop culturally appropriate messaging. The goal of the transcreation team is to create an emotional response in a new target audience. To do so, they take different cultural factors into account, such as:
  • Traditions and customs related to food, entertainment, and celebrations
  • Values, gestures, and idiomatic expressions
  • Colors, shapes, settings, and objects
  • Body language, humor, and greetings

The importance of transcreation

Poor transcreation can be harmful to your brand, as seen in these examples:

  1. Burger King’s Texican Whopper campaign, launched in Europe in 2009, used stereotypical characters and language that resulted in public condemnation from the Mexican ambassador to Spain and backlash among Mexican-Americans.
  2. 2011’s Pepsi Gets It! campaign featured Hispanic celebrities speaking in Spanish, but it failed to connect due to poor translation and grammar.
  3. Hershey’s 2015 slogan “Tu Completamente Tuya” in Mexico caused an unintentional uproar due to inappropriate sexual connotations, leading to the campaign’s withdrawal and an apology.

Failing to adapt messages culturally can damage brand credibility, cause consumers to mock a brand, or ruin a brand’s reputation within a particular community. It’s important to note that even within the Hispanic market, localization is crucial. A campaign created for a Mexican audience, for example, would likely fall flat if it were deployed to Dominicans who are culturally different and have different customs and dialects.

When transcreation isn't necessary

For factual information, such as instructions, policies, rules, and legal requirements, transcreation is likely not needed; translation alone can usually suffice for these types of communications.

Transcreation best practices

For effective transcreation, marketers must choose a partner whose transcreation professionals are members of the target culture, understand the culture’s buying behaviors and motivations, and have expertise in the relevant market sector, such as healthcare, energy, or financial services.

Call on BOUNCE for culturally relevant marketing

If you’re ready to reach the global audience in your own backyard, BOUNCE can help. Our team of native Spanish speakers from a wide range of Spanish speaking countries all over the world has the linguistic and cultural competence to help you develop effective, unified, marketing content for Hispanic and Latin American audiences in the US. Please call on us today.


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