Logo

Guest Commentary: Engaging the Hispanic Market: 3 Commandments

Jan 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

It’s a flourishing community with hefty political clout, rich traditions and a lot of money to spend, an ideal target audience for American firms eagerly searching for new streams of revenue. But leaders of the dynamic, illustrious and diverse Hispanic populace have a message for Anglo corporations: When you come calling with your hand out, be prepared to offer more than just “Hola!”
The sad fact of the matter is much gets lost in translation when American firms try to reach out to Latinos. Merely converting their English-language media solicitations to Spanish is often ineffective.
When corporate America fails in its attempt to reach out, it is usually the result of one glaring mistake: assuming all Hispanics are alike, when in truth their origins trace back to a wide range of nationalities—Mexican, Cuban, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Colombian, Ecuadorian and many more—with distinctly different customs, catchphrases and cultural sensitivities.
For this reason, cultural generalizations simply won’t work and don’t serve anyone: not the Hispanic community that welcomes inclusion, and not businesses with legitimate products and services who through unfortunate misunderstandings fail to expand their brands.
That’s why I founded Cilantro Animation Studios. Our 10 staff members represent a wide range of educational backgrounds and Latino-American cultures. Together we help create commercials, movies and television programs that are specifically targeted to the diverse Hispanic audience. We embrace the breathtaking possibilities of 21st-century technology without abandoning our ancestral roots.
There is not enough space here to define each Hispanic culture and describe methods for reaching them. But I will share the Three Commandments that continue to guide me. Obey them and you may benefit from the Hispanic buying power that, according to the Washington Post, will grow to nearly $1.2 trillion by 2011.
Know thy target. Despite the many cultural differences, common ground does exist. In fact, some Hispanics may very well respond to the same media campaigns designed for the general Anglo population. Confused? Don’t be. Instead, recognize the key factor that absolutely must be measured while planning a marketing blitz: acculturation.
Hispanic is much more than a language, it’s a culture. You can be very Hispanic in your culture and not know any Spanish. That’s the problem. Corporations can speak to these people in English and still miss the market, because they’re not hitting the mark culturally.
There is no set timetable for adopting the cultural traits and social patterns of another group. The young may adapt faster than the elderly. The number of years a Latino has lived in this country is also a factor, as well as the number of generations that have assimilated. Is your target audience first-, second- or third-generation Hispanic? Knowing the answer to this question will save time, money and the unpleasant blunder that reveals a corporation’s cultural ignorance—a costly setback that may be difficult to overcome.
Know thyself. Some American corporations are simply too hasty when developing outreach programs and media campaigns. They translate existing commercials into Spanish without consideration of their target’s age, gender, other demographic variables and the grade of acculturation. Does this sound like your firm?
The mess created by such a practice was lampooned several years ago by a U.S. beer importer. Heineken USA made significant inroads with a clever radio campaign called “Traducciones” (Translations) that won a “Best of Show” Hispanic Creative Advertising Award. In each spot, a Heineken beer drinker at a party tells a simple story using the accent and slang of a different national dialect: Argentine, Mexican, Dominican, Puerto Rican. The humor came when a second voice blandly translated each colorful, colloquial sentence into standard Spanish. The advertisements entertained while educating about cultural differentiation.
Why rush the process of learning a new market? In a report called “The Multicultural Economy, 1990-2009,” the Selig Center for Economic Growth said the Hispanic population is growing faster than other groups. By 2009, it says, one person out of every six living in the United States will be of Hispanic origin, up from one in eight in 2000. And by 2009, Hispanics will account for 9% of this nation’s buying power, up from 5.2% in 1990. In 2006, the Washington Post reported that by 2011 Hispanic buying power will have grown by a daunting 48% to nearly $1.2 trillion. If you want a piece of that pie, doesn’t it make good economic sense to do your homework?
Many corporations lack staff members of Hispanic origin who can help guide the process and avoid the pitfalls. The next time you call a staff meeting, look at the people around you. Can you reasonably expect them to guide you into new territories? If not, start building a team that is able to understand Hispanic cultures and can create something relevant to that target.
Corporate America may have a lot of work to do before it can expect to fully capture the hearts, minds and souls of the diverse Hispanic community. But bridging the gap may prove to be an eventful, challenging and glorious journey. After all, we may have our differences, but we’re all in this together.
Salvatore Cavalieri is president and chief operating officer of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Cilantro Animation Studios.

47 Comments

  1. Hello there, superb post, I thouroughly enjoyed reading this. This post gave me the push to attempt my own blog, please see my article by clicking my name at the top of this article, Many thanks

  2. Good post, thanks

  3. Excellent job.

  4. Wonderful to read!

  5. Have you dudes read about a basket ball crew named as Barcelona? Well… They outshine the LA Lakers…they’re European champions.

  6. Looking for a luxury fountain pen? Check our new silver and gold pens. http://www.replicapenshop.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=51

  7. Fine Watches on Sale for Ladies and Men at Discount Prices. If you are interested in buying Genuine watches, take a look at our Store, Shop. http://www.replicaseller.com/versace-watches

  8. Fine Watches on Sale for Ladies and Men at Discount Prices. If you are interested in buying Genuine watches, take a look at our Store, Shop. http://www.replicaseller.com/Franck-muller-fm-59-ggx-automatic-black-leather-Watch

  9. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  10. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  11. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  12. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  13. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  14. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  15. I was looking out for information about this on Yahoo and stumbled on your article. I found it to be really useful. Thanks

  16. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  17. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  18. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  19. Hello webmaster can I use some of the information from this post if I provide a link back to your site?

  20. Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

  21. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  22. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  23. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  24. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  25. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  26. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  27. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  28. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  29. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  30. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  31. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  32. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  33. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  34. This will be a terrific web page, might you be interested in doing an interview regarding just how you created it? If so e-mail me!Yes, really. It was and with me. We can communicate on this theme.Quite right! Idea excellent, it agree with you.

  35. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  36. I really imagined i’d write-up and let you realize your blogging is important for exposed the beneficial formula.I definitely enjoy your blog.

  37. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care and see you soon

  38. Great posting, really recognize the time you may have taken to produce it.

  39. Can I just speak what a relief en route for find a big name who in fact is familiar with what theyre discussion concerning on top of the world wide web. You absolutely tell how to carry an topic to glow plus construct it important. Extra community need to read this plus recognize this side of the story. I cant consider youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  40. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.

  41. Adore the breakdowns, and quickly it will likely be a new 12 months for new manufacturers.

  42. facepalm

  43. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  44. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)