Monday, August 31, 2009

Fiestas Patrias is a big darn deal!

If you represent a company that's looking to grow, and you haven't heard of Fiestas Patrias, then listen up!

Fiestas Patrias is, in a nutshell, U.S. Hispanics' way of celebrating independence of their homelands here in their new home. It's embraced by Latinos from all countries and has become something of a "low-hanging fruit" for marketers eager to earn their share of this market segment.

So why isn't your company involved? According to Bustos Media, the radio giant in town, Liberty Tax Service signed up 60 new students to attend its tax school at a previous Fiestas Patrias event down at Puyallup Fair. This year's event is Sunday, September 20, and true to its tradition they're bringing name bands that attract big crowds. That's why Comcast decided to invest in a major sponsorship!

This is the mother of them all: 40,000 Latinos at last year's event--all in one place, all day long. This is what you call target marketing.

The Seattle Center and its Festal organization are also hosting Fiestas Patrias events both Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20. Events all day long, including a first-ever boxing tournament brought to us by ESPN Deportes Seattle! This is a great opportunity to enjoy your favorite Latin American foods and entertainment. Community Health Plan of Washington is among the sponsors at the Seattle Center Fiestas Patrias celebration.

This is the last week to sign up and sponsor one of these traditional events - for as little as $500! Please let me know if you'd like more information. I've seen the energy at these events first-hand and can tell you that if you've got a great product to share, Fiestas Patrias may be the ideal place to share it!

Call me at 206-621-2185 if you'd like to discuss. In any case, plan to attend either event so that you'll know better than to miss another year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Global and Regional Marketing

Global companies have the extra responsibility of appealing to consumers in various regions and countries, which may require research, localization, and other tactics to pull it off effectively.

Are there particular colors we shouldn't be using in an ad that will appear in China? What about the handshake--what might that signify in the Middle East? It seems there's no such thing as too many questions.

We need to be very aware of the cultural cues and norms of the area we're targeting. You may even require a partner that has this experience and can guide you to successful marketing strategies in your targeted regions.

Of course, all companies are trying to cinch their belts, especially right now. What that means is that they are likely to create one global campaign. This campaign is then simply tweaked to create independent market versions that are culturally and linguistically appropriate--but that rely on the overarching branding and tone. They may substitute imagery, colors, and other graphic elements.

But every effort in this regard is not graceful. Not even those of premier global brands--companies that should know better and have the resources to do the job right.

Check out this Microsoft example and tell me what you think. Better yet, how does it make you feel?

Giving Back, Authentically

Frankie De Soto, a blogger I like to follow, posted a story about a Puerto Rican bank that's demonstrating its commitment to the arts, the environment, and women's health. It's cool to see a financial institution doing so much--especially in our current environment.

I already commented on the post itself, but I'll add here that it's important that companies look at ways to create an ongoing commitment (versus a flash-in-the-pan) and also to find ways to continually engage both employees and consumers in order to create optimal synergy and results.

Here's the post - enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Great Party Trick

Each year, the U.S. Census celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by pulling together some great trivia on our dynamic Hispanic population in the US of A.

This is an amazing compilation of facts--some even a surprise to Hispanic marketers!

Among my favorites:
  • The U.S. has the second-largest Hispanic population in the world, second only to Mexico.
  • By 2050, Hispanics will constitute 30% of the nation's population.
    There are 48 U.S. counties that are majority-Hispanic.
  • We have 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses.
See for yourself how significant our country's Latino population has become.

Juanes en Cuba: Are you for it—or against it?

This is a post written by Intern Melissa Duque.

Grammy-winning Colombian rocker Juanes is set to perform on September 20th in Cuba for his Paz Sin Fronteras (Peace without Borders) concert.

The event has fueled both outrage and support from the Latino community.

Juanes has received death threats posted to his Twitter account, and yet his tweets are all about promoting peace and support for the event.

All this controversy about whether Juanes should perform in Cuba has me confused. I have read editorials for and against the concert and I have read articles about those who support and who are against it. I have listened to all the Cuban artists and as well as Latin artists who are for and against the performance.

I am still undecided.

Whether the event will bring about positive opportunities or not remains to be seen. All I know is that Juanes is a fantastic musician and I know whenever I listen to his lyrics I am always moved.
Read an article in Spanish from the Miami Herald about those who support the concert. The article talks about the positive message the concert will bring about and talks about the controversy the Pope had when he visited Cuba and how in the end it was a beneficial trip.

For an article in English from NBC Miami about the critics of the concert click here. In the article, critics are quoted as saying that the concert is a “pandering gesture to the Cuban government.”

Some quick disclaimers:
  • I am not Cuban.
  • I do not live in Miami
  • I do not support Castro.
  • I do love the music Juanes makes.
  • I was listening to Para Tu Amor by Juanes while writing this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The story of a migrant worker ...

I loved today's story which appeared in The Seattle Times--not a local story, but inspirational indeed.

A Mexican resident, Jose Hernández grew up with the California harvests. Seven days a week, when school was out. Hard work, relentless--and every evening at the end of the family's tough workday, his eyes would meet his dad's in the rearview mirror:

"Remember this feeling because if you guys don't do well in school, this is your future."

Apparently Jose took his dad's advice to heart, because he's blasting off with NASA this Tuesday. He earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in electrical engineering and since has been working toward this goal. In fact, all kids in this family finished not only high school--but college.

Salvador and Julia Hernández, both having completed just third-grade level, taught their children well. I think we'd all agree that education is part of what the American dream is all about, and every parent wants his/her kids to have all the opportunities in the world.

In high school, Jose witnessed the first Hispanic go into orbit and thought, "If he can do it, why not me?" And now he's helping young students achieve their potential in math, science, engineering and technology with the Reaching for the Stars foundation.

And, out of the seven astronauts taking flight this Tuesday, there will be another Mexican American, Danny Oliva, joining Jose on this dream. The first launch with two Hispanics, and the first launch with a bilingual Twittering astronaut! Follow him at

Take a read.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Opportunity during the recession

This is a post written by Intern Tim Hemphill, who is majoring in economics and Spanish at the UW with just one quarter left to go.

According to Tamara Barber in her July 20th article published by Forrester Research, Inc., “Hispanic Consumers Offer Opportunities in a Recession,” now is not the time for companies to cut or discontinue funding for marketing targeted to the Hispanic community.

One of the more interesting points supporting this conclusion found that Hispanics are more loyal to brand names than non-Hispanics, although the number is declining in recent years, perhaps due to a younger-skewing demographic.

Also, Hispanics are less annoyed with advertisements and more dependent on them for making purchases, something that once again has declined since last year.

All of this suggests that further cuts in marketing to the Hispanic community could lead to an unfavorable trend for companies that previously had success reaching this segment of the population.

Note that this segment comprises almost 10% of the spending power in the U.S. The Hispanic population is large enough and important enough to make them a priority in marketing strategy, and without prompt changes, companies could lose opportunities in the long run despite their efforts to save money now.

For a subscription to Forrester see its website.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Language as a variable in Hispanic marketing

The Spanish language is one way that marketers can differentiate their Hispanic marketing from that targeted to the general market. Sometimes it's the only way, but I think that's a miss.

In any case the language piece of Hispanic marketing has a lot of folks puzzled. I just read an Ad Age post that really sums it all up. Call it Language for Marketing to Hispanics 101. It's actually entitled E for Español and it's an excerpt from Hispanic agency Dieste's online Diestepedia.

Take a read and let me know your thoughts!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Is it Over the Top?

A post from Conexión Marketing Intern Melissa Duque --

I recently read an article from the Miami Herald titled, “Despite recession, companies target Latino market,” that got me thinking not just about the recession and economics but about the campaigns that are used. Some of the attempts seem a little too bold for my taste; while others have me excited to see their efforts.

I happen to be a big fan of Sabado Gigante (the show defined my Saturday nights as a child), and it wasn’t until I read about State Farm as its sponsor that I started to realize how pervasive marketing on the show is. Having the audience sing a song about the sponsor seems a little too far out there, but if it works.

Variety shows were really popular in mainstream American television in the 1970-1980s but have lost a lot of their following. I only see them occasionally as specials, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t popular in other cultures. From the shows that I have seen from that time they also relied heavily on marketing attempts during the entire program.

When you watch the popular morning shows on the English-speaking networks you can see during the program the sponsor’s name. If it’s a concert series the name of the sponsor will be in the title as well as on the stage where the band or artist is playing, but that’s it.

On the Spanish-speaking morning show, Despierta América, there was a cooking segment sponsored by Maseca. Not only was Maseca in the title of the segment, but all the people on camera had an apron with “Maseca” on it, the set had a huge sign with “Maseca” on it, they were cooking with Maseca (contest for a traditional Latin recipe using Maseca, this episode featured empanadas colombianas) and then they spun a wheel featuring the colors of the brand and the name all over it.

After reading the article and seeing some of the examples of campaigns, let me know what you think and if you agree that some of them seem a bit brazen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Mark your calendars!

WHAT: CASA Latina's 15th Gala Dinner & Auction
WHEN: October 17, 5pm
WHERE: The Westin Hotel Seattle, Grand Ballroom

CASA Latina puts on a world-class fundraising event each year, and you'll want to be part of the FUN! This organization is absolutely dedicated to Latino immigrants who have recently arrived in Seattle, empowering them through opportunities to learn and work.

See one participant's testimonial, from the organization's website:
"CASA Latina is where you learn to speak up for yourself. It is the
opportunity to build a future for our families with our own hands, through
education and work."

>>This is your chance to get discounted early-bird tickets, now until August 21. Register here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Race are Hispanics?

Some people think they know what Hispanics look like. But the more I meet Hispanics or Latinos, the more I realize there is such a great range there, mostly based on where their families are originally from.

An in-law's family left Croatia to settle in Chile. She was born in Chile, raised there, and her first language is Spanish--so she's a Latina, or Hispanic. But she doesn't look necessarily like what one might think a Hispanic or Latina woman would look like. And the stories are many and diverse about how people ended up in a Hispanic culture.

To put it simply: "Hispanic" is not a race, it's a culture. Hispanics can be of any race at all.

Please read Juan Tornoe's latest post on this topic, which is absolutely spot-on in my opinion. Feel free to post your comments in either place.