The CMO Perspective on Trust, Quality, and Brand Safety in Advertising

Q. Given all the changes we have seen in 2018, what were your biggest marketing challenges and how did your brand overcome them?I think two of the biggest challenges for us in this ever-changing media landscape are: how do you cut through the clutter and how do you reach audiences in an authentic and culturally relevant way? In addition to this, since we are the leading Hispanic media company in the U.S., we’ve seen the proliferation of increased competition of Spanish-language linear and digital providers over the past 10 to 15 years. Everybody wants to reach this economically powerful and influential demographic. So, what we’ve done is taken a step back to evaluate what we are good at and what our brand really stands for. Univision has a clear mission: to empower, entertain, inform, and advocate for Hispanics in this country. We are here to meet the needs of the 60 million Hispanics in this country.

Q. Trust is a major theme today. How does trust — building and maintaining it — factor into your approaches as marketers? How does digital help (and/or hinder) in achieving that?

For us, trust is everything. Univision began 60 years ago based on this idea that there was an underserved and underrepresented community, the Hispanic community, and serving them really is our north star guiding our decisions.

We pull a few levers when it comes to trust. First, we look at it at the employee level. There is a lot of research that says if employees feel vested in the company’s mission and trust the organization they’re in, this in turn reaps many benefits.

The second way we look at trust is through the eyes of our consumers. We’ve done many brand equity studies, so we know that Hispanics regard Univision as one of the most important brands for Hispanics and the most important media brand regardless of language. In this existing crisis of trust, our audience recognizes and trusts Univision.

The third trust lever we pull is with advertisers, communicating our brand safety and having them recognize that Univision is a brand championing Latinos. We also want brands to know that our sales force and strategy and insights teams understand Latinos like no one else and are experts in the Hispanic opportunity.

The last trust lever we pull is through our community partnerships. We talk about the importance of digital and social media but it’s really exciting to be able to touch the brand every day on the ground — whether it be through a phone bank, at a cultural pride parade, tied to getting informed about elections or immigration, or how to open a small business. These are the things Hispanics come to us for and we’re able to deliver and inform them from a grassroots approach.

Q. To a significant extent, authenticity and trust drive specific and emotive connections with people. One key way to do that is to take a stand on major social and/or political issues. As a major brand, how do you think about this today?

I think we can agree, we all spend time with our corporate communications team, our legal team, and our CEO, going through many examples of, “if this were to happen, what would we say?” But big moments happen unexpectedly, and it is in these moments that we must remember to be true to who we are. I think what’s beautiful about the way we lean into this at Univision is how we all live the brand. We all love the brand and we all rally around our mission, so that reaction is almost instantaneous.

In the past year, there have been so many issues to take a stand on. Whether it’s DACA or the children at the border or separated families, our reaction happens in an instant. What’s wonderful is when you have that type of cohesiveness to lean into and say, “This is what I’m going to do for the community,” and it comes from a place of authenticity and cultural relevance. And the community can sniff out if you’re just doing this to be a “purpose-driven” brand or if it’s really a part of every fiber of your being.

Q. After you decide on what your message or response is, how do you get that out there across all these different touchpoints?

The first touchpoint is on a corporate strategy level, where the message is whatever the CEO and all the lieutenants of the company are saying about a certain topic.

The second touchpoint is the marketing strategy, which for us is how we are deploying all our assets to communicate where we stand. For example, we’ve been working very hard where it relates to DACA, as well as on [other] immigration issues. This is where digital plays an amazing role for us because we’re able to connect with someone immediately and let them know “these are some tools for you, this is where you can go for help.”

The third touchpoint is the community grassroots activities. We’re very fortunate to have 120 local stations, both television and radio, which really lets us home in on that message. So, we’re really taking advantage of all these three touchpoints, the corporate strategy, the marketing strategy to consumers, as well as the grassroots approach to deliver our message.

By A.Z. Porter

  Univision is a contributing partner in the ANA Thought Leadership Program.

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