How Hola! USA leveraged its legacy to grow exponentially in its first year
And, in 2016, they launched Hola! USA, a brand specifically focused on and developed for the US Latino market. Over the last year, Hola! USA has seen rapid growth and engagement in that market, with a reach of six million grown organically across platforms.
First issue of Hola! USA
¡Hola! is an iconic legacy brand founded in 1944, according to Sylvia Banderas Coffinet, publisher and VP of integrated sales at Hola! USA. It has a long history of publishing the best in celebrity, royalty and entertainment news, and a legacy of high-quality and accurate editorial. “Hola! helped define what we know today as the celebrity entertainment genre worldwide. It’s a brand that has its roots in Spain and has become a global phenomenon, with its brands extensions like branches all over the world,” she said.
Hello! and ¡Hola! are household names in Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain. The brand publishes editions in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Chile to name a few.
Their vision for an US edition from the get-go, was to create a Latino brand for the 21st century, Coffinet explained. “What does that mean? It’s a brand that doesn’t lead with language, but understands that language is a deeply personal choice that doesn’t define your level of interest in your Latino culture. So, this is very important and very different about us, we offer content in both languages and focus on creating an inclusive but in-culture experience.”
“In the case of the US version, the greatest challenge for us, to create a Hola! for the US Latino, that is authentic to the core of the brand values and an authentic US Latino experience for this consumer,” Coffinet said. “Which is a very tall order because – it’s one of the most complicated markets in the world.”
Sylvia Banderas Coffinet, publisher and VP of integrated sales at Hola! USA
The US Hispanic market
“It’s a market that has a lot of nuance and has to be done right or could come across as not authentic or respectful,” Coffinet said. “We have to be very careful with how we approach it and to really do it in a way that is authentic and real and breaks stereotypes instead of propagating them.”
There are over 54 million US Latinos, which represents almost 20 per cent of the overall population, Coffinet explained. “The US Latino market represents the 13th largest global economy in the world,” she said. “That alone is a really big statistic in terms of opportunity and why this market matters.”
Latinos are the fastest growing market segment in the US, without a doubt, and they represent the largest opportunity for brands. “The US Latino market is also incredibly under-served and under-represented and more importantly, even though they represent the greatest opportunity in the US today, the’re still isn’t a whole lot out there – given the ratio of media to what is directly speaking to them, or for them – it is very unbalanced.”
That presented an opportunity for Hola! to come into that space.
Hola! USA’s core audience – affluent Hispanic women – is one of the most sought-after because of their buying power, Coffinet explained. “The affluent Hispanic woman has tremendous spending muscle, and because of their demographic, they live in this parallel world of duality, two cultures, two languages.”
“We knew that they were representing a huge opportunity because we’ve been studying this market for a very long time,” Coffinet said. “But, what is great about it, is that they’re so complex and they’re really growing fast and they represent such a huge opportunity, but from the business standpoint, they are underserved. So, it creates a huge opportunity for brands and media brands like Hola, that recognise them and want to speak to directly to them.”
The October 2017 issue of Hola! USA featuring Jennifer Lopez on the cover had 777 million total media impressions.
Hola! fills an underserved niche in the US market, but in doing so, turns the idea of total market approach on its head, by providing content that leads with culture. “We are the first brand that is truly leading with culture but takes a total market approach, which, for Latinos, means we’re making something that is super-inclusive and can appeal to any American. So, organically, we attract a more diverse consumer because we recognise that Latinos are Americans first.”
As a brand, Hola! is unique in its value propositions. The magazine media’s tone is always optimistic and positive, Coffinet said. The print product has high production quality. Their editorial voice is familiar and trustworthy. Over 85 per cent of their content is specific to the US Latino market.
And, the brand offers its audiences a sophisticated point of view, and ultimate access to celebrities and to global A-List talent. “In the United States, we really have flexed our muscle in terms of showing access to huge celebrities in very important moments,” Coffinet said. “That has really helped us because it has resulted in billions of press impressions.”
Hola’s massive exclusives have made it a go-to for the US Hispanic market. “For example, we launched with Eva Longoria’s wedding. That was an exclusive that was a big, big deal.”
The magazine also ran an exclusive in 2016, introducing Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, and the feature garnered 72.89 million media impressions in 48 hours.
The Hola! USA issue featuring Alec & Hilaria Baldwin garnered 72.89 million media impressions in 48 hours.
The publisher said the magazine staff have been great about having their finger on the pulse, getting news and scoops and being the source that breaks it to the world.
“We’ve been able to reap the benefits of these huge global exclusives that resulted in wonderful branding because people were more than happy to share or quote us, or, say ‘hey, check out this story,’ Coffinet said. “That, I think, has been a huge reason why we’ve been so successful so fast.”
Hola’s secret to success
And, the key to their success is three-fold: Hola! USA delivers culturally-relevant and diverse content to their audience that they can’t find anywhere else, filling an important niche, across multiple touch points and in two languages, but also by leveraging its brand legacy.
Coffinet explained that they know the Hola! USA audience very well. “The Hola woman is refined, confident, and has a global mindset, and she expects her content to reflect her taste level and her interests, and those very much go beyond your telenovelas, for instance,” she explained.
“Our audiences come to Hola because they know, with us, diversity is going to be a lot deeper than shades on a page, it’s going to be real,” Coffinet said. “The people behind the stories – our 20 journalists and contributors who are writing for us – are Latino.”
Hola! USA has been able to establish its brand firmly in the minds and lifestyles of the US Latino target market, because the brand has been focused on breaking stereotypes, “just by telling the types of stories that we tell and highlighting the content we highlight,” Coffinet explained. “We really elevate this conversation and we do it across our multiple touch points, so we’re everywhere she wants us to be.”
Hola! gives its audience authentic content that they can’t find anywhere else, “making it happen across any touch point she wants to connect with, on her terms, and in her preferred language.”
Hola! has been able to achieve such growth over its first year by leveraging its global brand legacy and heritage with the Latino market in the United States, the publisher explained. “We’re able to leverage our brand equity and 75-years of rich history,” Coffinet said. “We’re not completely new to this consumer, as there’s already a brand awareness and that makes us very lucky because we’re not starting from scratch.”
The March 2017 issue of Hola! USA featured Sofia Vergara & Joe Manganiello on the cover. It garnered 442,000,103 total media impressions in less than 24 hours.
Future plans and takeaways
Into 2018, Coffinet said Hola USA plans to keep doing what has worked for the brand so far. She said the brand will continue to produce high-quality, global exclusives, first-rate entertainment stories, with very high production quality.
“We had a really tremendous first year, and there is so much to be proud of, but we’re absolutely and unequivocally dedicated to this US Latino market,” she said. “We want to lead the way as the first brand who truly does a total market that leads with culture and diversity. We all know that diversity is the new mainstream, so we’re trying to be pioneers and creating content that targets and speaks to the duality of culture of Americans today.”
The key lesson other publishers could learn from Hola USA’s success is about understanding a brand’s core consumer and focusing on their needs and being authentic, she said.
“When we talk about diversity or when we say we lead with diversity, it’s important to go beyond the shades on a page. There are lot of general market titles that are going to show beautiful images of women of different shades, but are those voices being reflected in the people writing the content? At the end of the day, that’s what makes content authentic and creates this special connection that we’ve found,” she said.
“That’s been a huge lesson for me, that you really do have to strive to put your consumer first, and at the centre of what you’re doing, and give them an authentic experience that they can’t have anywhere else. That’s why they’re going to continue to come to you.”
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