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Reaching Bicultural Latinos and the Evolution of Media Outlets

By Andy Checo, Edelman Multicultural

Mexican author, Octavio Paz once wrote “I am not at the crossroad: To choose is to go wrong.”  That is exactly the mindset of bicultural Latinos. We have no need to choose. We are from here and from there. We listen to Lifehouse and to Chino y Nacho. We are fans of football and of fútbol. Bicultural Latinos are a testament to a new Latino culture, shifting from one side to the other, from English to Spanish.

In public relations, reaching a target consumer is only effective if there are media channels available to connect with the consumer. Although social media has change this by enabling brands to build communities with a define target audience, it is still important to relied on traditional media outlets to engage consumers. Media outlets are evolving; no longer is a TV channel just a TV channel or a print publication just print publication. This new evolution of media should give us an opportunity to better engage with bicultural Hispanic. But are media outlets taking advantage of this opportunity?

Broadcast networks are a great example on how bicultural Latinos are starting to become the focus for industry growth.  While the English language networks are losing ground to Univision, those same networks are also the ones making the most effort in attracting bicultural Hispanics. For example, ABC has tapped into Salma Hayek, who executive produced Ugly Betty, an adaptation of the Colombian telenovela Betty La Fea, for another project inspired by Argentinean series Los Roldan. In addition, the networks keep tapping into Hispanic talent like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family, Adam Rodriguez in CSI Miami and Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives to further attract Hispanic viewers.


Latinas and Social Media

By Natalie Boden, Lauren Gongora and Daniela Morgenstern of Boden PR

Welcome to our first thought piece produced by Pink Tank, innovative thinking for Latinas. These small studies will take an inside look into Latinas and how we are influenced, how we consume media and what moves us. First on our list was an in depth look into Latinas and Social Media.

For this study we chose to look at a wide variety of media entities and platforms that group Latinas – from celebrity pages to special causes – whether the conversations took place on a microsite, Facebook page or Twitter account. It was of great interest to find what we thought intuitively would be there among the leading Latina-focused platforms, but even more interesting what we found was not there. Read on.

Below is a summary of some of the conversations we identified, per entity/group, followed by a few key findings:


Are You Shifting Marketing and PR Plans Based on Hispanic Demographic Trends?

Posted originally on May 26th, 2010, by BurrellesLuce Insider

by Colleen Flood*

Hola, como estan todos?  Es un placer de estar aqui. Estan todos disfrutando la conferencia?

This is similiar to how David Henry, founder and president of Telenoticias and co-author of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations: Understanding and Targeting America’s Largest Minority, started the session “A Sleeping Giant” at the PRSA Counselors Academy Conference, which BurrellesLuce sponsored, this past weekend. Henry switched back to communicating in English and asked if we understood what he had just said. Only one or two hands went up in the group. He then related this to what Hispanics understand when they are marketed to in English.

The current marketplace in the U.S. is comprised of a diverse group. There has been boom over the past few years and by 2050, it is estimated that 30 percent of the population will be Hispanic. This is a population with a purchasing power that is progressing 50 percent faster than non-Hispanic groups. (In fact, BurrellesLuce first began writing about these trends in a 2007 newsletter entitled, “Top Five Tips for Reaching the Growing Hispanic Market.”)


The Power Of Family Ties In The Hispanic Market

Most young Americans look to leave their parents’ house as soon as they graduate from college or get their first full-time job.  The traditional logic is that it’s time they set out on their “own path”.

However, in Latin America, it’s both common and perfectly respectable for young adults to live with their family until marriage.  This tradition of living at home has followed Latinos to the States.  It is not uncommon to find Hispanic children living at home until they get married.

The family plays a bigger role among Latinos than it does for many Americans.  In America, a family’s influence is often seen at being odds with one’s individualism, but for Latinos, family ties are often an important part of shaping one’s own identity.  Family is a resource, not a crutch.   Hispanics tend to have stronger family connections, especially to extended family.  These connections influence their consumer behavior, and companies that recognize that can find greater success in the Hispanic market.


Hispanics Closing The Gap In Internet Use

Hispanics have traditionally trailed behind other groups when it comes to Internet use, but according to a recent Pew Hispanic report, they are closing the gap.

From 2006-2008, Internet use among Latino adults rose 10 percent, compared to four percent for whites and only two percent for Afro-Americans.  Much of this growth in use is by Latino adults not traditionally known for Internet use, such as the foreign-born, those without high-school diplomas or with household incomes under $30,000.   Along with the increase in use, broadband access has also risen, and mobile Web browsing remains stronger among Hispanics than for other ethnicities.

Internet use grew from 54 to 64 percent among Hispanics from 2006-2008.  They are now as likely as African-Americans to be online, though both groups still lag behind non-Hispanic whites.


Hispanic 101 (Part 9): Hispanic Young Adults

In addition to being the largest minority group in the U.S., Hispanics are the youngest as well.  The median age for Hispanics in the U.S. is 27, and Hispanic children are one of the fastest-growing demographics  in the country.

A recent study from the Pew Hispanic Center shows that today’s Hispanic youth maintain strong links to their family’s roots and language, yet also place a high priority on success in America.

The Pew Center looked at Hispanic youth ages 16-25 and found a significant change had occurred over the last decade.  In 1995, half of Latino youth were immigrants.  Now, second-generation Americans, U.S.-born children of immigrant parents, are the largest percentage of Latino youth.  They now make up 37 percent, while foreign-born immigrants make up 34 percent.  Third-generation and higher youth, the children of American parents, make up the smaller group, 29 percent.


Ringing In The New Year, Latino Style

Although most of us celebrate New Year’s, for the most part, mainstream American New Year’s celebrations aren’t all that imaginative.  There are traditions, like getting together with friends or family and partying, drinking champagne, and watching the ball drop over a city skyline.  However, these traditions are somewhat bland compared to Hispanics’ New Year’s rituals, like wearing yellow underwear, gobbling grapes, and caroling throughout town.  New Year’s is a holiday rich in symbolism, as an opportunity to shed the past and start anew, and Hispanics richly celebrate that opportunity.

Let’s start with the yellow underwear.  It’s a tradition for many South American women to put on a pair of brand new yellow underwear right before midnight for good luck in the new year.  The yellow symbolizes gold and good fortune.  The underwear tradition is said to go back to Spain in the Middle Ages when wearing bright colors was forbidden.  So yellow underwear became a secret way of wishing for good fortune.  Wearing yellow underwear is only a tradition for women, which is probably a relief to most Hispanic men.


Hispanic Christmas Traditions

There are certain Christmas traditions that almost all Americans share, like putting up a Christmas tree, waiting for Santa Claus, and opening up gifts on December 25.  However, there’s more to the story than that for many of the nation’s Hispanics.  Although they share in these celebrations, other traditions also play a part in Hispanic Christmas holidays.

Given that 68 percent of America’s Hispanics claim a Roman Catholic background , many Hispanic Christmas celebrations have some root in Catholicism.  These include las posadas, a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.  Also, there are the family get-togethers on Christmas Eve and midnight church services, and the celebration of the Three Kings Day on January 6, which for many Hispanics is the official end of the Christmas season.

Las Posadas, or “the inns,” are a big part of Hispanic Catholic culture, especially among those of Mexican heritage.  The tradition is that a group of children and adults re-enact the pilgrimage of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.  Children dress up as Joseph and Mary, shepherds and other biblical characters.  Like trick-or-treaters walking the town, the group walks by candlelight to a local home, where they sing to the owner or the “innkeeper” asking for a place to stay for the night.  Then, the owners open their door to the group and host a big dinner for everyone, along with a piñata party for the children.  (The old game of hitting a piñata while blindfolded actually has religious connotations. )


Hispanic 101 (Part 8): Latino Entrepreneurs

Hispanic business owners are an important part of the Hispanic market. Census research has shown Hispanic-owned businesses are growing at three times the national average.  The latest figures show that one of every ten businesses in America is run by a Latino.  By 2010, it’s predicted that there will be 3.2 million Hispanic-owned firms in the U.S., altogether generating $465 billion annually.

The majority of these are small businesses with annual revenues under $250,000.  They range from local restaurants, to hair salons, construction companies, and mechanics.  Such businesses are key to the growth of the Hispanic middle class.

Then there are some 1,500 larger firms estimated to have 100 employees or more, manufacturers and large-scale construction contractors, chains of Hispanic-related grocery stores, and firms with real estate holdings in the U.S. and possibly Latin America.  Altogether, these businesses generate about $42 billion annually in gross revenue.  Many are started from scratch, with borrowed money or foreign capital.


Factors In Hispanics’ Use Of Mobile Technology

Hispanics are more active than the general population in almost every category of mobile phone activity, whether it’s talking, texting,  downloading, or browsing the Web.  Compared to the general market, Hispanics use more minutes and own more phones despite having generally lower incomes.  It’s been found that 87% of Hispanic households have multiple mobile phones, and use them more than any other form of personal or handheld technologies on the market today.

Age is one important factor in explaining the high use of mobile among Hispanics.  Hispanics are the youngest segment of the American population, with an average age nine years younger than the average for Americans overall (27.2 versus 36.2.).  Currently, 58% of America’s K-12 grade students are non-white minorities, and of that group, the largest minority is Hispanics.

Besides age, another important factor is the strong presence of mobile technology in Latin America.  40% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. is foreign-born, and in most Latin American nations, as in much of the world, mobile phones are becoming more common than landline phones.