Posts Tagged ‘public relations’

img_2375.jpgI decided to write this blog because I am interested in working for an agency that specializes in full-service public relations and marketing to Latinos. Although I initially thought this would be very limiting, it is in fact quite the opposite.

Latinos are everywhere and the population is only getting bigger – and that means the demand for culturally appropriate communications is increasing as well.

Cities with historically large and vibrant Latino communities, e.g., Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, etc., are no longer the only markets to consider. And, although large public relations agencies are slow to move into some of these markets – Phoenix comes to mind as a great example – that doesn’t mean that things won’t change.

During the last three months, I have agonized over the direction I want my life to take after college. I have an offer to move to New York City (albeit without a job), but I feel an inescapable connection to my roots in the West Coast.

I know that I can do what I want no matter where I go, but I need to want to be there to be successful.

Then again, maybe I just want to live in a city with a Spanish name.

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img_2183.jpg“Spanglish” is no longer just an Adam Sandler movie or increasingly legitimate language in the United States. Spanish-language television giant Telemundo is creating a lot of buzz in the entertainment industry because it recently introduced a talk show that blends Spanish and English in a way that is familiar to audiences.

“Más Vale Tarde” (Better Late) is the name of the show, and it’s going where no program has gone before.

Although it has been the butt of many a joke by those who don’t understand its significance, “Spanglish” is a reflection of the bicultural nature of many parts of the country. Nobody knows this better than the Latino media, and now they are presenting material that crosses the language border and makes content a little more accessible where programming is usually Spanish- or English-only.

It seems that the experiment is paying off, as viewership has reached nearly 200,ooo in the 18 – 49-year-old demographic. It airs at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, but the network is looking to change that before the end of the year.

What public relations practitioners can learn from the success of this program is pretty significant: Spanish and English can work together to craft relevant messages. Creating a PSA featuring a spokesperson who uses “Spanglish” could be a great tactic with a broader range than traditional single-language materials. However, knowing when and how to use “Spanglish” is a skill that should not be ignored. If the tactic isn’t used properly, how can it be effective?

I have seen the show and really enjoyed it. I speak English and Spanish and, although I didn’t grow up in a bilingual household, I have a lot of friends who did, and I know the relevance of “Spanglish” within Hispanic families and communities.

This information is based on a recent New York Times article. If you’re interested in checking out “Más Vale Tarde” for yourself, reruns are available here.

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.

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