Growing up Hispanic can mean a lot of different things. While Merriam Webster might define being Hispanic as “of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain,” this one definition can take on many different meanings. Just because someone is Hispanic born, doesn’t mean we all have the same experience with being Hispanic. For instance, for me, I am a first-generation Mexican-American on my dad’s side, but my Hispanic heritage was never engrained in my day to day growing up. It was actually something I shied away from as I was never spoken to or truly taught to be fluent in the Spanish language. It took me up until present day to really begin embracing that portion of myself.
Despite my continued inability to string a drawn out sentence together in Spanish without my dad poking fun of my pronunciation (but hey, no shame in trying), I’ve found my own sense of appreciation. And as I continue to learn more about myself, culture and heritage, I continue to be amazed at the many different stories and experiences that vary from person to person.
That got me thinking about the global impact of the marketing industry and the way culture and heritage can truly shift our perspectives, but also have an ability to bring us together. For example, just in the Hispanic culture alone, it can be very diverse in traditions, appearance, language, etc. and honestly, that can sometimes make things tricky to navigate. But with patience and understanding, we have the ability to break down barriers.
Finding a commonality as much as embracing the differences.
But only 6% of overall advertising industry investment is spent toward the Hispanic community.
However, 54% of surveyed Hispanics felt that they can better influence social issues through the brands they buy than with who they vote for.
So, what is it that holds local or global brands back from targeting such a widespread, powerful group? It may quite possibly be a lack of understanding. But as marketers, we hold a responsibility of awareness that allows us to touch people across the board and bring them together on a centralized belief or acceptance.
At Alloy, I’m happy to be surrounded by a team that celebrates what each individual looks like, the languages they speak and the culture they hold in their heart. It’s a celebration of heritage as much as it is how we are presented. What it means to be Hispanic is very broad and there are a lot of first-generation people that share common experiences with me as well as many differences.