Case in point: We are not all the same, nor will we ever be. No savvy brand manager or agency person in the U.S. would ever consider Texans the same as New Yorkers.
But with over 20 countries represented and over 60 million Latinx in the U.S., why is it that many people are still surprised to find out Latinx/Hispanics are not all the same?
As marketers, we must necessarily look for commonalities, of which there are some. But while that may get you through the door, it does not secure you a connection with this diverse population. So let’s talk about the similarities and the differences, and why it's important to understand them.
First things first: While most of us have adapted to being called Latinos or Hispanics or in some cases now Latinx, and there is a lot of pride that comes with that cultural heritage, most of us don’t define ourselves with those terms. We are Mexican-American, Guatemalan-American, Peruvian-American, etc., before we are Latinx. Why? Because the cultural pride comes from our home country and the specific cultural gifts that country gave to us and our families.
Most of us, except Brazilians, either speak Spanish or hold Spanish as an important part of our culture, but we all speak it differently. These various words, phrases and accents are distinct and also valuable. As brands attempt to connect with the diverse groups known as Hispanics, they would be wise to ensure different nationalities are represented at their agencies. For instance, you’d never say “y’all” to a New Yorker.
Passion for food, music and sports is many times a defining characteristic of our diverse population, but even those tastes vary. Many of us love soccer (futbol), but the level of engagement and the teams we follow varies widely, and some of us also love baseball and other more traditionally “American” sports.
When it comes to music, many of today’s greatest hits and musical trends are brought to us by Latinx artists. That said, within our own community, we gravitate toward different genres. Assuming everyone likes mariachis or salsa is at best, a surefire way to make it clear you haven’t done your homework -- or, at the worst, sound culturally patronizing.
Today’s food world bears similarities to music, with Latin American cuisines dominating some of today’s best restaurants, from the high-end foodie scene to food trucks. While yes, almost everyone in this country probably likes tacos of some sort, tacos are not the way to every Latinx heart. There are Venezuelan arepas, Argentinian asado and Salvadoran pupusas, as well as Peruvian ceviche joints and Puerto Rican food trucks. The list goes on and on.
It’s this same diversity within our food, our music and our culture that makes us, as a collective, so special. So it’s crucial that advertisers understand and celebrate that, and at the same time recognize our pain points. Take a look and see how you can do the same for your brand.