The largest purveyor of Latin American-influenced food products in the United States, Goya Foods has come a long way from the “Goya, oh boy-a!” tagline it popularized in the 1980s.
After reaching $1.3 billion in revenue last year, according to Forbes, the New Jersey-based, family-owned and -operated food company will continue to tap its core base of consumers: Latin Americans — a demographic whose buying power according to Nielsen is on par to break $1.5 trillion by 2015. And that figure will only accelerate.
Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the US population, increasing at an estimated rate of 167% between 2010 and 2050.
For Goya Foods, social and live-event marketing are a key part of its messaging process to reach its growing customer base.
“We want to remain relevant as society changes, [but our message remains the same] – we want to present the best possible meal to your family and help you maintain traditions,” Goya SVP Joseph Perez told AdExchanger. “We try to do a nice blending of authenticity, quality and retaining the message that has always been given by Goya pretty much since the founding of the company [in 1936].”
Although much of Goya’s customer interaction happens either in-store or at a benefit, promotion or community event, the brand is extending its brand messaging around tradition and family online.
“We want to make sure we have authenticity and quality in voice through all of the social channels,” said Michelle Kelarakos, a social strategist for Flightpath, Goya’s social and digital agency. “We want to make sure we’re targeting not only the Hispanic community, but the general market as well.”
The Latin American market constitutes close to two-thirds of Goya's business. Although Perez would not detail the brand's "proprietary" strategy for demographic targeting, he said the goal is to be the destination for Latin American food and culture by reinforcing recipes and traditions for even non-Hispanic constituents.
Goya, for instance, prompts consumers to add “sabor” — Spanish for "flavor" — to their Thanksgiving table, seeking to inspire Latin American influences in cross-cultural instances. “We’re building on that message that Goya has high-quality products and we want to be a part of the traditions you create at home,” Kelarakos said.
While Flightpath has been working with Goya for more than a decade, its work on social branding really heated up a little more than a year ago because of the rapid uptick of social traction the brand was noticing. Flightpath is unifying all of Goya’s social touch points and channel-messaging, which is being done in conjunction with Omnicom’s Dieste, Goya’s agency of record. As of this writing, Pinterest is the greatest driver to the Goya Foods website, accounting for more than 800,000 impressions last year.
But Goya and Flightpath’s vision goes beyond isolated social media channels. Kelarakos said the brand’s and agency’s teams are both investigating the extent to which Goya’s paid TV campaigns can connect with the 8 million Goya-related Twitter interactions the brand recorded between August and September of this year.
“When people are cooking, one of the [top] things [they] share is pictures of food,” Kelarakos said. “As far as a TV campaign, we’re looking into how we can utilize that to further spread the word about Goya Foods.”
Other digital enhancements include optimizing its site for mobile, promoting electronic coupon offers, and improving the ability to share recipes online. E-newsletter signups have increased 377% as a result of adding features like free digital recipe boxes and printable coupons for download, as well as increasing its overall social savvy.
Goya’s strategy is “to give [consumers] the tools [they need] and the ability to follow traditions by innovating recipes, innovating ingredients and reminding people that there is a wealth of information at Goya to maintain every US Hispanic tradition,” Perez said. “We thought it would be a great combination to get further into consumers’ top of mind. … We’ve increased our social media [investment.] Our website traffic has increased almost 200% and consumers seem to react positively. They want to see more Goya in social media.”