Harmony Labs



Understanding the stories and characters that capture Latino attention

Organizations traditionally measure success by how well they reach and move groups defined by demography or behavior. But true audiences define themselves by choosing the same cultural spaces, stories, and characters. Building an effective audience strategy requires understanding not just audiences’ demographics, but their cultures: the TV, games, music, film, and more that people regularly engage with.

Equis is working to create a better understanding of Latinos and innovate new approaches to reach and engage them. In this research, Harmony Labs collaborated with Equis to inform the strategy of storytellers, organizers, and creatives by identifying the key characters in media who embody and connect with the many identities of Latinos.

Harmony Labs used a combination of media consumption data and survey responses to construct 5 audiences that are key to building narrative power for Latinos in the United States. You can read the full report here and find some key takeaways summarized below.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizations frequently use demography and behavior to define and measure success but true audiences define themselves by choosing the same cultural spaces, stories, and characters.
  • Audiences choose stories that reflect and make meaning of the worlds they occupy. Understanding these stories gives us a deeper view into who they are, the characters they identify with, and how to best reach and engage them.
  • Audiences identify with characters, not avatars. Their heroes are not made of demographic traits, but are revealed by how they think and what they do.
  • In this research, we explore five audiences key to building narrative power for Latinos in the United States; we do a deep-dive into each audience's size, key features for targeting, the stories they engage with, and, critically, the characters that attract them.
  • In building a storytelling strategy, the goal isn’t to find the “one” audience that suits us. The goal is to build our team, using the special superpowers each audience has to offer.


Sample slides from the new Main Character Energy research report. Read the full report here.

What’s Next?

Engaging Latinos well begins with understanding the rich tapestry of identities that define audiences and the stories and characters that resonate. From this ensemble, storytellers and organizers can unlock each audience’s superpowers and create content that connects with the many identities of Latinos. We encourage you to explore this new research and if it sparks any additional ideas or questions for you, get in touch at hello@harmonylabs.org or info@equislabs.us.


About Equis Institute

At Equis Institute, we are a hub for leaders in the Latino community who want to foster a better connection between Latinx communities and the democratic process. We convene partners around innovative research and ideas and provide capacity building & training opportunities for national, state, and local leaders. Learn more here.

About Harmony Labs

Harmony Labs is a media research lab, using science, data, and creativity to research and reshape our relationship with media. For more than a decade, their work has helped storytellers and strategists, decision makers and dreamers, harness the immense power of media to shape a positive, pluralistic future.

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