They say that the bulk of the president’s job is dealing with the unexpected. Candidates campaign on platforms and promises which in many cases are not fulfilled nor accomplished. So what candidates say to get elected is one thing, and what they do when they are in office is another. The election of Donald Trump was, to many, unexpected. Politics aside, a question has been lingering in my mind about whether this will be good or bad for business (and by business I mean the Hispanic marketing communications business). There are a couple of areas where I think a Trump presidency will have implications:
Ignoring the sleeping giant: Minus
Many news articles reported that minorities would be the deciding factor in electing our new president. They weren’t. It was almost the opposite: white rural and rust-belt America. The question now is whether brands and clients will shift their mindset from believing that the multicultural consumer is as important as they used to believe it was. Think about it. There have been watershed moments that have had a positive impact in this space: the 2000 census, the 2008 presidential election and the rise of Hispanic super celebrities like Ricky Martin, J.Lo and Sophia Vergara. Will the Trump presidency encourage clients to ignore the sleeping giant, given their underwhelming presence in the election?
The Economy: Plus
After the initial “shock” of Trump’s election, the market rallied. Construction, infrastructure and defense segments rallied, all labor-intensive segments that have large Latino participation. The Trump administration’s focus on encouraging companies to keep jobs in America will augment the positive impact on the blue-collar Latino worker. This may actually mean that Latinos will have more disposable income. Given that they spend versus save, when compared to the general population, this may encourage Hispanic consumptions of goods and services. If the economy stays strong, Latino economic outlook will be positive (more homes and cars).
Immigration: The elephant in the room
There has been a lot of talk about how President Trump’s immigration policies and actions will impact the Hispanic community. Time will tell what actions will be taken, but I can guarantee that Latinos will be tuned into their media outlets more than ever. Should a wall be built, the question is whether a wall will really stop undocumented immigration. Economic forces are stronger than political or legal forces, and a stronger U.S. economy coupled with a weaker Mexican economy will continue to drive immigration. We all have seen the Pew Hispanic charts showing how the rate of undocumented immigration plateaued after the great recession. My bet is that a stronger construction- and labor-based economy will drive a growth in undocumented immigration. After all, we live in a capitalist economy.
There are probably quite a few more themes to think through but the debate is more important: Will a Trump Presidency be better or worse for Hispanic marketing communications?