By Lindsey Wahlstrom
Daisy Expósito-Ulla is a trailblazer with 30-plus years of experience creating innovative methods to address the needs of the growing Hispanic market, which now includes more than 50 million people. “I don’t just work in the Hispanic market, I live the market,” she said recently.
A Cuban-born American who immigrated to New York City in 1964, Expósito-Ulla began her career by telling the stories of Hispanics in the United States for the PBS series “Realidades.” She then joined Conill Advertising (now Conill, Saatchi & Saatchi) and later moved to Young & Rubicam. There she grew The Bravo Group from six employees to what became the largest agency targeting Hispanics in America for 10 consecutive years.
Expósito-Ulla attributes her knack for marketing to Hispanics in this country to viewing things through a “universal lens” gained from her experiences living through the Cuban revolution, exile and as an immigrant in New York. These experiences complement her natural people skills and curiosity, which push her to “observe more, to try to understand consumers.”
In 2006 she founded d expósito & Partners, where she currently serves as chairman and CEO. The marketing agency maintains an impressive roster of clients and campaigns, including ConAgra Foods, Mazda North America and McDonald’s. The agency’s success could be attributed to its founder’s firm belief in the importance of “getting a share of heart” by understanding consumers on a personal level as well as conducting thorough research?and leading campaigns with “ethnic insights” that help brands speak to “a rising sense of pride” in multiculturalism.
“At the same time that people are looking to express themselves more uniquely and individually, they also have a fear of labels and being boxed in,” Expósito-Ulla said. She added that communicators have the responsibility of knowing when to leverage pride in multiculturalism and when to speak “with common human insights and knowledge that resonate on a greater scale.” These insights proved useful this past year, when d expósito & Partners helped develop and implement the 2010 Census strategy. This work built on Expósito-Ulla’s experience at Young & Rubicam, where she helped to guide the first-ever national multicultural strategy on Census 2000.
AdWeek presented the agency and its partners with the “Best Multicultural Campaign” award for their work on the 2010 Census. Expósito-Ulla herself has also won a NYWICI Matrix Award and The New York International Center’s Award for Excellence, among other accolades.
For decades Expósito-Ulla has demonstrated the power of understanding emerging markets. Perhaps now, more than ever, this expertise is needed in mainstream communications as marketers struggle to relate to an increasingly diverse market.
“Pride is an area that many marketers have yet to leverage,” she said. “By giving these people a voice, amplified by a brand, we can gain extreme passion and loyalty.”
This article was first published in the Summer 2011 issue of NYWICI’s print newsletter CONNECT.