Retailers Find Cultural Authenticity Helps Them Connect with the Latino Consumer

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Retailers Find Cultural Authenticity Helps Them Connect with the Latino Consumer

"If you take one thing home from this conference, remember that cultural credibility creates commercial viability," Armando Martin, a prominent multicultural marketing expert told a group of approximately 380 retailer, supplier and other marketing executives who gathered here for the 4th Annual Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, July 28-30.

Martin served as master of ceremonies for the retail industry's biggest informational event focused on understanding and serving the needs of the fast-growing Hispanic consumer segment in the United States. Sharing research, insights, best-practices and case studies was an All-Star line-up of the nation's most advanced multicultural marketing and merchandising experts, including:

Greg Cunningham, Director of Multicultural Marketing, Target Stores;
Lyne Castonguay, Vice President, Multicultural Merchandising and Marketing, The Home Depot;
Jose Espinosa, Director, Multicultural Commercialization and Customer Programming, Strategic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America;
Daniel Herrera, Marketing Manager, Food Lion and Terry Soto, President, About Marketing Solutions, Inc.;
Isabel Valdes, noted author and Hispanic marketing pioneer;
Gary and Valarie Berman, partners, Si Change Consulting and Market Segment Research;
Manuel Delgado, CEO, Agua Marketing;
Cristina Benitez, author, founder and President, Lazos Latinos;
Jon Bratta, Proprietary Brands Director, BP, and Nick Medina, Speedpass Manager, Proprietary Brand, ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing Co.;
Ruben Gonzalez, President, OLE Advertising, and Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, founder, Hispanic Food Communications;
Alan Edelstein, Shopper Insights Manager, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Group, and Carlos Santiago, CEO and President, Santiago Solutions Group;
Jeff Weness, Director, Hispanic Initiatives, Best Buy, and Alicia Morga, CEO, Consorte Media;
Gregory Smith, President, and Ines Cortes, Director, Hispanic Merchandising, GS Retail Services;
Cesar M. Melgoza, co-founder and Managing Partner, Latin Force Group LLC;
Michelle Zweig, Vice President, Nielsen Homescan and Spectra Product Leadership, The Nielsen Co., and Doug Anderson, Executive Vice President, Research and Development, Nielsen Consumer Panel Services.

Attendees include representatives from all channels of retailing, including such major retailers as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Family Dollar, SuperValu, Navarro Discount Pharmacies, CVS, Advance Auto Parts, Hy-Vee Supermarkets, Mervyn's, and Kroger.

Hispanic Retail 360 is produced by Progressive Grocer and Convenience Store News, two leading media brands owned by Nielsen Business Media. The "presenting sponsors" were The Coca-Cola Co. and Anheuser-Busch Inc. Other sponsors included The Hershey Company, Latin Force, Televisa, AARP, McLane Co. and Latin Force.

Association and media partners included, Hispanic, Hispanic Market Weekly, Hispanic Trending, Hispanic MPR, Latin Vision Media, Mercado de Dinero USA, NACS, the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, Neighborhood Market Association, POPON, and Supermercados USA.

In addition, a new research study conducted by the Retail Group of Nielsen Business Media and Market Segment Research was unveiled exclusively at the conference by Gary and Valerie Berman.
The Hispanic Retail 360 Summit also included a guided store tour to view best practices by Miami-area retailers - Winn-Dixie and Publix Sabor -- who serve the Hispanic community.

One of the highlights of the Summit was the presentation of the expanded Hispanic Retail Excellence Awards. Six retailers in five categories received 2008 Hispanic Retail Excellence Awards. The award winners and categories:
Mass Retail: Target Stores
Grocery: Jewel/Osco and Hy-Vee (tie)
Convenience Stores: 7-Eleven
Drug Stores: Longs Drugs
Specialty Retail: Best Buy

The awards, based on a poll of more than 1,000 Hispanic-focused retailer and supplier executives, including members of conference's 22-company Retailer Advisory Board, is designed to recognize leadership among retailers targeting the growing Latino population.  Recipients were asked to write in the name of the retailer in each of six classifications (Drug Stores, Convenience Stores, Grocery, Mass Retail, Specialty Stores and Department Stores) that "has done the most in the past year to win the hearts, minds and spending dollars of Hispanic consumers."