Who doesn’t love a reason to celebrate? September 15 marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage month in the U.S. Festivities will run through October 15. It’s not too late to make plans to celebrate and engage all shoppers during this month-long celebration which recognizes the independence of five Central American countries. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively.
Why celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month? Because nearly 20% of the U.S. population is Hispanic, and because consumer research indicates Hispanic flavors and foods are the fastest growing food choices among all consumers. It’s a win-win for everyone to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month.
To fully maximize the opportunity this celebration presents, a “buzz” needs to be created amongst shoppers that your store is “the” destination location for all things necessary to celebrate. Once you have drawn them into your store, engage them and incent them to come back for more fun and food before the celebration month is over.
Marketing and activation of National Hispanic Heritage month can be approached in three steps which occur before, during and after the celebration month: Awareness, Trial, Repeat.
Before (Awareness): Use the time leading up to September 15 to communicate to shoppers about National Hispanic Heritage month. Use your social media and website to talk about the history behind the creation of this recognition and how to celebrate. Social media posts should also be building anticipation with shoppers about in-store events such as music, food and beverage sampling, cooking demonstrations and promotions which will be taking place in your store September 15-October 15. Your website should include a full list of events occurring in-store during the month.
During (Trial): When shoppers are in-store during this promotional time period, there should be no doubt what it is your store is celebrating. Decorations should support the theme as well as events, sampling, recipes, cross merchandising meal solutions, employee uniforms. Invite Hispanics on your team and in your community to help plan relevant events for your store; provide music throughout the month; offer cooking demonstrations throughout the store; conduct food and beverage sampling of Hispanic foods. Let your employees get in on the action by adapting their uniforms to fit the theme either through appropriate colors or traditional Hispanic clothing from their country of choice or origin.
After (Repeat): To bring back the shoppers who came to your store for the Hispanic Heritage Month, continue celebration themes throughout the year. There is always a theme which the store can celebrate each month; perhaps it is a country; perhaps it is an event… a quick Google search of celebrations will help you identify possibilities. Each celebration can build your store’s reputation as a destination location which will build sales by creating loyalty with shoppers due to the environment and solutions you provide them.
To be successful long-term with this “celebration strategy”, you must designate a person who is responsible for the continuity of these programs to celebrate the Hispanic culture. Too often stores start with the right intent but fail to build in an operating procedure which supports this strategy. Don’t let your shoppers down. Consistency and commitment to the program is what will bring them back for more fun and food…. and sales and profit for you.