Diversity key to Hispanic outreach

Between 2000 and 2004, the Hispanic population in Colorado grew 19.5% to more than 800,000, according to the US Census Bureau. National statistics paint the same picture: huge Latino population growth that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

Between 2000 and 2004, the Hispanic population in Colorado grew 19.5% to more than 800,000, according to the US Census Bureau. National statistics paint the same picture: huge Latino population growth that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

While Hispanic buying power is currently estimated at about $700 billion nationally, that figure is expected to explode to $1 trillion by 2010.

In developing long-term, profitable, and meaningful relationships with the Hispanic community, the point is diversity. US Hispanics can be of practically any nationality or race.

Not only are American cities unique in government, demographics, and flavor, their Latino populations possess significant differences that must be taken into account when designing programs for Hispanic outreach.

Language is a key factor. At the very least, outreach efforts should look at two factors: First, recently arrived, first-generation, and even some second-generation Latinos generally should be addressed in Spanish. Second, the larger segment of longtime residents and descendants of old families should be communicated with in English.

But mainstream English-language marketing geared toward the general population won't speak to bilingual or English-speaking Latinos. Companies must work to understand this community and take into account historical, social, and cultural factors.

Creating programs to reach all Latinos is the challenge. But it's not as daunting as it seems if companies put in the time and effort to understand the fastest-growing segment of the population and enter it knowing that one size doesn't fit all.

Angela Cortez,
senior counselor
JohnstonWells Public Relations
Denver

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