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HITM Thesis - "Brand Loyalty: Generational Shifts in Hispanic Consumer Product Relationships in Florida"

My Project - Why & How?

My Predictions & Hypothesis

     Below, is Creative Research Thesis I created for the Honors in the Major Program at Florida State University. Upon selecting a subject for my thesis, I knew I somehow wanted to include some aspects of my culture into my work. Through various meetings, I bounced ideas off of Dr. Kelly Kelly, my thesis director for the project, trying to figure out a niche topic that not only was interesting and different, but also represented my Hispanic culture in a new and exciting way. After going through various subjects, I had an idea one day after making GOYA Black Beans, a product that I’ve recently found through this project has been in my family for generations. After making dinner, I thought to myself, "Why is it that I buy this brand, and not any other brand of black beans?" Before moving to college, I had never even cooked black beans, so why is it that I subconsciously choose this brand again and again?


 
      As a Hispanic American who is familiar with various Hispanic brands, I definitely had some predictions as to what the consumer behavior of each generation would look like during this project. I was completely certain that culture and tradition would play a huge role in where each group member shopped, what they bought, and why they started buying it: because an older relative probably did the same before they did. In my own family, there are products that I know for a fact are bought to this day by myself and my mother because my grandmother and great-grandmother used these products, which you’ll see in my research. Remember how I had that idea when I made black beans? Well, you’ll see now why it is that while roaming the isles at Publix, I subconsciously chose the brand I did, and continue to use it today.

Hypothesis: I believe that if an ancestor ( great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, etc.) has purchased and used a brand throughout the lifetime of their child, grandchild, or great-grandchild than that member of the family will continue purchasing the exact same product to be able to relive the memories they associate with said product.

The Steps

Step 1 - 

                   Figure out who the target audience is for the group I want to select as my “research group.” It’s important to keep in mind that each member MUST be of Hispanic descent, must be old enough to purchase items on their own, and must at least have one generation older than themselves to participate.

Step 2 - 

                    Create a series of interview questions to ask the members of my research group. It’s important to keep in mind that these questions must be posed in order to extract those fond memories that each member had tied to a specific product, while not making the questions too long or too short.

Step 3 - 

                    Interview each member. During this process, questions must be asked in Spanish or in English, depending on the interviewee’s preference. It’s important that each interviewee be comfortable when answering questions as that helps both parties share and receive the information most efficiently and ethically.

Step 4 - 

                    Crunch the numbers. Go over the data from the questions answered and figure out if my hypothesis was right? Do Hispanic-Americans have certain relationships with products solely based off memories with family, or are there other aspects that go into this relationship?

Choosing My Research Group

    This process of the project took a bit of time to ensure I selected the best research group for the best results. When searching for members to take part in my research, I wanted to find people who were old enough to buy their own products, thus having their own relationships with these products, as well as be old enough to have childhood memories with said products. In addition to this, I was looking for individuals of Hispanic descent from various Hispanic countries. I felt it would be best to represent different Hispanic countries, as Hispanic culture is one big umbrella, but each country has its own specific culture, food, and traditions, which is extremely important to recognize.

     In the end, I chose three groups of generations, representing the countries of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Argentina. While two of the groups had three generations, and one had two, I felt it was important to note whether such loyal brand relations came from second or third generations. Each group member was asked their age, where they were born, where they currently live, their occupation, how many children or grandchildren they had (if applicable), what products they couldn't live without and why, and whether they'd recommend these products to others or not. 
 

The Project & The Results

      Below, we meet the different generations of families who took part in my HITM Creative Research Thesis. Grouped by families, you can learn more about each research subject and read their interview answers by clicking on their photos. I am beyond thankful to each person who volunteered to take part in my research, as without them, this project would not have been possible.

Click on any of the photos below to learn more about each research subject!

 
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Francisca Somarriba

Generation 1

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Christopher Gomez

Generation 2

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Ana Mendez

Generation 1

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Juliana Arraras

Generation 2

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Justina Santucho

Generation 3

     In the end, my hypothesis was                     , but I also learned more information… I realized that the amount of generations previous to the last generation has the greatest effect on each group's relationships with various brands. In the group of generations from Nicaragua, Chris and Francisca, we see that although Chris, the youngest generation, was influenced to buy certain PRODUCTS by his family, he didn’t name any specific brands, but did mention that his mother raised him to prioritize self-care! In the other two groups, each generation mentioned products that not only were repeated from grandmother down to granddaughter but stories were attached to very specific brands, creating the previously mentioned “Brand Love.”

Correct!

Group #2 - Somarriba/Gomez (Nicaraguan/American)

Group #3 - Mendez/Arraras/Santucho (Argentinian/American)

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Gisela Herrera

Generation 1

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Gisela Timiraos

Generation 2

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Isabella Timiraos

Generation 3

Group #1 - Herrera/Timiraos (Cuban/American)

The Deck & My Published Thesis

     Below, I've linked the deck I used to defend my HITM Creative Research Thesis in addition to my published Thesis Paper, published by the Library at Florida State University. Click the button below to view each!
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Presentation Deck:

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Thesis Paper:

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