Posts Tagged ‘Latino’

img_2513.jpgI‘m not going to lie; I’m still a social media neophyte. Until recently, I had never heard of a social media news release, and had in fact been afraid to be that guy in class who brings up blogging as a PR tactic because the idea of social media seemed daunting.

That’s all changing. And not just for me.

Not only are social media revolutionizing communications technologies, they are also incorporating multicultural marketing in new ways and with different objectives than traditional media. According to an article in the March 24 issue of PR Week, MultiVu is creating a social media news release, the Interactivo Multimedia News Release (IMNR), that targets the U.S. Latino population.

According to its Web site, MultiVu, a PR Newswire company, “uses the latest technologies and the vast distribution resources of PR Newswire” to “provide unsurpassed broadcast and multimedia production and global distribution services to organizations that want to reach the media, financial community, general public and other key audiences with their visual and audio messages.”

The article states that, “IMNR offers distribution of broadcast content, photos, and text to Hispanic social networks and news sites. […] And IMNR content will appear in Spanish on the Reuters billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square.”

It will be interesting to see how effective these tactics will be in reaching the American Latino population; however, I think social media are being proved effective tools of modern communication. Only time can really tell.

img_2186.jpgRecently, Elena del Valle of the Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations Web site conducted a podcast interview with Laura Hernandez, executive director of AT&T Multicultural Marketing. The interview covered AT&T’s efforts to reach American Latinos.

According to Hernandez, AT&T breaks up its messaging by concentrating in areas with large Hispanic populations as well as direct mailing areas where there is a smaller Hispanic presence. According to Hernandez, the method used depends on the type of media tactics employed.

Although she says that segmenting based on language is not always the right choice, Hernandez states that AT&T works to target different segments of the Latino population, i.e., those who are Spanish-dominant and those who are English-dominant. Language and cultural representations may change, but the messages are the same across all tactics.

Hernandez says there are also different representations of the technology, e.g., organizational capabilities and speed are emphasized more in messages targeted to Latinos. She adds that Latinos do not use broadband and other technologies as much as other populations; however, when they access the new technology, they use it at a greater rate.

Hernandez also said that AT&T has offered Spanish-language customer care for more than 25 years.

I think this is a great example of a company that has done its research and knows the audience it is targeting. Many organizations try to reach out to Latinos by translating everything into Spanish; this in turn affects the relevance of the cultural message.

Marketing and public relations practitioners are finally taking note of effective tactics for communicating with the multitude populations that exist in this country, and it’s benefiting the industry as a whole.

We can learn a lot from the AT&T method. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

img_2577.jpgThe Nielsen Company – the one that brings us television ratings – has released a new report on consumers’ preparedness to switch to digital when it becomes the only television format next year.

On Feb. 18, 2009, what is being hailed as the most significant development in television history will take place when the medium will become all-digital. And according to Nielsen’s report, 13 million households are unprepared for the change. Cable and satellite owners are safe; so are people who own digital consoles; however, anyone with an analog-only set will need to purchase a converter if they wish to watch their stories.

What’s significant about these findings is that they show a higher lack of preparedness in Hispanic and Black households. The data show that 17.3 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population is completely unprepared, and 26.2 percent have at least one television set that will be affected.

What does this mean for public relations practitioners and advertisers who want to reach the Hispanic market? They may have to reinvent the wheel (again).

According to Advertising Age’s 2007 Hispanic Fact Pack, in 2006, approximately $2.42 billion (or 64.3 percent of total ad spending in Latino markets) was spent on television marketing. The next largest medium in terms of ad spending in Latino markets was radio, which accounted for $726 million (or 19.3 percent) in 2006.

If the majority of ad spending directed at the Latino community is spent on television, and Latino consumers across the country are unprepared for the change to an all-digital format, it will be difficult for marketers to reach their target audience.

Strategies and tactics will have to be rethought, and this may be the opportunity for public relations practitioners to utilize social media to make a legitimate impact on Latino consumers.

Perhaps things will change before Feb. 18, 2009, but how? It would benefit the people who want to reach the Latino community with their messages to address this situation proactively.

img_2388.jpgAccording to an article featured in Adweek’s Marketing y Medios, a recent study entitled “U.S. Population Projections: 2005 – 2050,” conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, states that the U.S. Latino population will triple to approximately 128 million, or roughly 29 percent of the total population, by the year 2050.

During the same period, the Latino population is expected to account for 60 percent of the nation’s total population growth. In the year 2025, the immigrant population is expected to exceed that of the last great wave of the early 20th century at roughly 19 percent.

This has huge implications for the direction of communications in this country. In another Adweek article, author Mike Valdes-Fauli uses this information to discuss its relevance for crisis communications and the inclusion of Latino audiences. He says that Latinos make up the largest ethnic minority in the U.S., with a younger median age of 27.4 years (compared to 36.4 in the general population).

In response to current efforts to communicate with Latinos being made by CEOs and crisis communications specialists, he writes: “Companies as varied as toy manufacturers and airlines have had recent communications challenges, and most of them successfully executed the bare minimum in communicating with Hispanic consumers: translating releases and statements to reach Latino media outlets. However, so much more could have — and should have — been done.”

To address the particular concerns of cross-cultural communication, Valdes-Fauli outlines the following guidelines:

1) Remember emotion resonates: Present a more heartfelt tone.

2) Adapt, don’t translate: Many nuances get lost or lack clarity in direct translations.

3) Think new consumer, old school tactics: Many Hispanic media have been slow to adopt new technologies.

4) Find the Hispanic angle: Why is the issue relevant to Hispanic audiences?

5) Respect cultural differences: Not everyone who speaks Spanish is from Mexico.

He ends with these words of wisdom: “Even though crisis is spelled the same in English as in Spanish, the word has different implications and attributes in each culture.”

Communications are changing a lot on this country, and it’s important for public relations practitioners and advertisers to educate themselves as to how they can most effectively reach their consumers. Whether it’s a crisis or general day-to-day communications, knowing the best ways to communicate with Latino consumers and having the ability to put that knowledge to use are great skills that every company should have.

img_2235.jpgIn case you’ve been living on a deserted island and had no access to media of any kind, 2008 is an election year. In fact, it’s shaping up to be one of the most important elections in national history, with a Black man and a woman coming out as the early favorites for the Democratic party.

But what would an election year be without the darlings of pundits across the country: wedge issues. An issue is by definition controversial, and a wedge issue takes it to the next level. They are so polemic that they are able to mobilize thousands (even millions) of voters who otherwise might be disengaged from the political process. However, wedge issues tend to be an example of trendy politics that often lose momentum after a campaign season.

This year, one of the huge issues being addressed by all of the candidates is immigration. According to a piece on the New York Times blog, roughly 30 percent of Democrats in California who participated in the Super Tuesday primary there identified themselves as Latino. Although Latinos are not the only voters who care about immigration, their votes could sway the election in many states where they represent a large voting bloc, such as Texas, California and Florida.

The article goes on to state, however, that in many of yesterday’s primaries, when exit polls about important issues were conducted, Democrats were not given immigration as an option. Republicans were. Is this an issue that only Republicans care about, even though a larger percentage of Latino voters identify as Democrats?

Reaching out to Latino voters is becoming more important because of the implied connection to immigration – thus solidifying its status as a wedge issue.

What’s important for the candidates to realize is that true commitment to the Latino constituency goes beyond the immigration debate and requires an understanding of the community. Research is the first step in any successful campaign, and this is a time when comprehensive primary methods should be used for the benefit of all involved.

img_2300.jpg According to a recent article in Brandweek, Pepsi is throwing some huge private parties for young Latinos, scheduled to coincide with major media events like the Latin Grammys. The event is seen as a way to interact with young Latino consumers in a relevant way. But will this campaign be effective?

Called the “Blue Carpet Bash,” it will target 18 to 34 year olds, the most sought after market segment for many companies. In 2006, Pepsi spent $950 million on advertising to Latinos. With figures like these, it’s no wonder that Pepsi is ranked among the top ten advertisers to the Hispanic market each year by Advertising Age.

Microsoft is also rumored to be in talks regarding advertising at the event.

I think this event, if executed successfully, could be a huge opportunity for Pepsi, as well as a model for other companies who heavily market to the Latino community. By targeting young consumers, Pepsi is creating brand awareness among people who will be increasing their spending power and having kids in the coming years.

This event will really serve as the model for future efforts to market to Latino youth. The potential to create change in the industry as a result of this campaign is great, and I think it’s coming at the perfect time culturally. We in the U.S. are at a point where our national identity is shifting in noticeable ways and, by making efforts to change, corporate America is leading the way in tackling some tough issues.

It will be interesting to see where this goes, and if the Blue Carpet will replace the red carpet in the minds of young Latinos in the U.S.

Freedom As my first official blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to draw from the source of this page’s name: Late last year there was a New York Times Magazine article called “How Do You Say ‘Got Milk’ en Español?” in which the rise of agencies specifically marketing to the growing U.S. Latino community was examined.

According to the article, the Latino consumer can be put into one of three categories: learner, straddler and navigator. These classifications refer to the preferred language of the consumer (Spanish or English), age and level of education, among other characteristics. These classifications say a lot about the consumers, but also comment on the changing nature of communications in the U.S. and how a bilingual approach can be more effective than traditional English language-only campaigns.

The following may come as a shock, but in the U.S. there is no official language. And although English has become the dominant language for the majority of the country, there is a demonstrated need for Spanish-language services in many areas. In Los Angeles, for example, in 2000 46.5 percent of the population was Hispanic, compared to 29.75 percent Caucasian (ERsys).

But what does this have to do with public relations?

Although the article primarily focuses on the use of understanding the stratification of the Latino population as it relates to advertising, there are significant implications for public relations as well, especially if it is part of a comprehensive marketing plan. The important thing to take away is that there is no one Latino consumer; however, there is a clear need to address these consumers in language they can understand, which is often not English.

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng