Trend Hunter recently spoke with Anabella Herrera, a Strategy and Insights Manager at Univision Communications Inc. -- a top multimedia company that focuses on Hispanic America. She touched on how this demographic views global and regional trends, the importance of fostering an open culture in the workplace, and the future of television.
Can you tell us a little about your role and what led you to it?
I worked at J&J in Venezuela and moved to New York to pursue a master's degree in Integrated Marketing. After graduating from NYU, I joined Univision as Strategy and Insights Manager for CPG. Our team focuses on helping clients and advertisers develop their strategy to reach Hispanic consumers by identifying opportunities and providing competitive benchmarking. We rely heavily on research and consumer insights.
How does your team generate great ideas? Do you have certain rituals to make creativity happen?
We don’t have specific rituals, but we’re great with communication. Because our CPG team is structured into different categories, we’re all able to focus more closely on specific elements. At the end of each week, we share status reports so that everyone knows what the whole team is working on. Although everyone has their own category, having the opportunity to pick each others’ brains helps us find different trains of thought and fosters creative thinking.
What are some barriers to innovation? How do you get around them?
I think that the biggest barrier to innovation is a lack of willingness to change, because it can be really hard to get out of your comfort zone. To get around this, I find it’s helpful to test things first and then share the results. I’m a very results-driven person, so I find that this is the best way to prove and support an idea.
People like to have something tangible to base an opinion on, rather than just concepts that can end up getting lost in someone’s imagination. When you’re able to show positive results and give answers first, people will be much more willing to try something new.
How do you identify trends? What resources does your team use to spot trends and insights?
Univision provides us with many different resources that help us in our research tremendously when it comes to understanding consumer behavior. When it comes to spotting new trends, we look across different resources that complement one another.
We use Trend Hunter to see what people are excited about. Then, we’ll try to explore other resources that focus more on measuring attitudinal insights. This helps us to monitor consumer behavior so that we get a better understanding of why people are attracted to certain ideas.
Lastly, we’ll look into how everything translates into sales and trend back a few years to see when a particular innovation began to gain traction. Normally, when things are really new, it’s hard to see how it will translate into sales, but looking back allows us to get a better idea of this.
Has there ever been an instance where another industry has influenced an innovation at your company?
Definitely. A recent example is Amazon Go. Amazon Go has created a disruptive path-to-purchase process for grocery shopping. Consumers' ever-changing needs are forcing many industries to evolve, and at Univision we are always thinking of ways to apply this type of innovation to our own industry.
What are some examples of things you can do to create a culture of innovation?
I think encouraging communication is the best way to generate new ideas. It’s important to create a culture where people aren’t afraid to speak up and where they don’t feel judged for having different ideas. Promoting open communication also helps to develop constructive criticism. An important thing to keep in mind here is to not take criticisms personally, otherwise this might discourage you and interrupt the innovation process. Embrace criticism but also stay true to yourself and your ideas.
What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years?
It is hard to say. Technology is changing media in a big way, and those within the industry have to learn to adapt to these changes in innovative ways. We have numerous digital platforms that complement our TV channels to address new media consumption patterns. Despite the evolution of these, I believe that TV will continue to be a key player in this industry, especially for Hispanics, whose lives revolve around content.
Do you see a connection between regional trends and global trends at Univision?
We focus on serving Hispanic America and what we've learned is that this demographic likes to stay true to their culture. They want to preserve their language, traditions, and their focus on family life, while also experimenting with American culture. There’s global trends that might influence them, but they also try to balance that with regional trends that they might be exposed to as well.