Latino Engagement: It’s Not About Language…It’s About Cultural Relevance

It’s great that many of our favorite corporate brands (the smart ones, anyway) and more recently the Democratic and Republican parties are reaching out to the burgeoning Latino market. However, I’m here to remind the minds behind these initiatives that if your strategy consists of translating your fancy brochures or your shiny new websites into Spanish, and that includes dubbing of videos — congratulations! you now have a good chance at reaching my mom, my tia, and their “networks.”

Be warned, that approach neglects more than half of our community. You know, the one that went to school in this country and whose kids now attend those same schools – the bicultural Latino. Here’s the snapshot:

  • 18% of Hispanics identify themselves as “completely American,” 43% as completely Latino, and almost four in ten (39%) feel they are a mix of both.
  • Latinos in bilingual homes are more likely to be bicultural.
  • Four in ten Hispanics in English-oriented homes (where mostly/only English is spoken) consider themselves both Latino and American.
  • 16% of those heads of household define themselves as “completely Latino.”

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There is a large and growing opportunity for language-agnostic content and messaging that speaks to the experience of being both American and Latino that resonates loudly with this bicultural segment. Put a different way; make content meaningful and relevant, keeping in mind that our needs and aspirations are different from that of our parents, but that we are highly attuned to how you speak with, and about, all sectors of our community.

Data source: Hispanic Market Info January 17, 2012, via Los Kitos.

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