Unicomm Helps Upstate Businesses Market to Hispanics

In 2009, brothers Ramon and Gustavo Nieves, were looking for a way to help Greenville's burgeoning Hispanic community.

"We had two ideas in mind," according to Ramon Nieves. "We wanted to improve the lives of Hispanics living in Greenville. We also saw that a lot of Greenville businesses were trying to reach the Hispanic community and needed help doing that. So we realized there was an opportunity."

Unicomm Media Group, Greenville's only full-service Hispanic advertising agency, was born out of these conversations. They serve a variety of clients who need strategic and creative help reaching the Hispanic demographic, which according to the U.S. Census, made up 8.7 percent of the population of Greenville County in 2013.

"Most of our clients are non-Hispanic companies, such as Greenville Health System and Greenlink, who are trying to reach Hispanics. We also help Hispanic businesses with their branding," said Ramon Nieves.

Marketing to Hispanics comes with unique challenges. While many Americans see Hispanics as a single group, the reality is that Hispanics are very diverse in terms of language, culture and level of assimilation into American culture.

"There are cultural differences between someone who is from Mexico and someone who is from El Salvador," explained Ramon Nieves. "What's more,  you'll have some Hispanics who have been here only a short time, while others have been here for years and have a much more sophisticated understanding of the way America does things." Hispanics can be further subdivided by language. Not only are there significantly different regional dialects, but there are important differences between Hispanics who primarily speak English and those who primarily speak Spanish. And some people who identify themselves as Hispanic-American don't speak Spanish at all.

"One of the key factors in marketing to Hispanics who have only been here a short time is trust," said Ramon Nieves. "When people migrate from other countries, they tend to get together with others who come from the same area. That creates a sense of loyalty and trust among that community. One of the hurdles that companies face is getting inside that circle of trust. That's why it's so important to communicate with them in such a way that connects with their experience."

Unicomm also helps companies who are trying to reach Spanish-speaking clients who live outside of the U.S. "We're very happy to be helping Scansource with the Latin American market. We are in charge of all their strategic and creative efforts in Latin America on the B2B side," said Ramon Nieves.

While Unicomm has been successful in the business arena over the past six years, the Nieves brothers have never forgotten that an important part of the company's mission has always been to help the Hispanic community. "That's part of our DNA. We try to do great work for our clients. But we also make sure we're involved with local non-profits. This is especially important because there is a lack of Hispanic leaders who can create awareness of and be a voice for the Hispanic community."

  By Josephine McMullen