Census data top of mind at Hispanicize

LOS ANGELES: More than 400 people attended the Hispanicize 2011 conference on the West Coast this week.

LOS ANGELES: More than 400 people attended the Hispanicize 2011 conference on the West Coast this week.

The three-day event, which concluded today, had many of the Latino bloggers and PR and marketing executives in attendance buzzing about the recently released Census data, as well as digital communications and social media's growing presence in the Hispanic market.

Attendance was nearly double that of last year's inaugural conference according to Manny Ruiz, founder and organizer.

Rosanna Fiske, CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, who delivered the lunch keynote yesterday, said the coinciding of the conference with the release of the Census data was timely. Results showed that 50.5 million Hispanics now live in the US, accounting for more than 16% of the country's overall population.

“It was a great opportunity to talk about the rising power of public relations in the digital age and how that correlates to the rising power of the Hispanic market,” she said. “Given the latest Census results, the Hispanic market is no longer a nice-to-have component of PR and marketing budgets. The one-plus trillion dollar annual spending power is pretty much making Hispanic Americans a new main stream in America and, as such, businesses and clients are really looking for opportunities within that market.”

Fiske said some companies still need to overcome their one-dimensional mentality when it comes to engaging a more diverse America, and “finding the messages that resonate across cultures, as well as dedicating to meeting budgets that address diversity within cultures.”

Raul Cisneros, chief of media relations at the US Census Bureau, who led a session at the conference, said additional Census-related data will be released in the coming months that will be valuable to companies and PR practitioners. Next month, the bureau will release demographic profiles with additional breakouts of population and, beginning in June, data with more details on the “other Hispanic” category, which includes Salvadorian, Dominican, and others.

The participation rate for the 2010 Census was 74%, the same as in 2000. Cisneros said it has become increasingly difficult to get people to participate in surveys, and that the bureau is looking at other ways to engage the population.

“We're already planning for the 2020 Census,” said Cisneros. “We're going to have multiple ways to respond. Obviously, we will have to have an Internet option.”

Hispanicize 2011 also featured 30 themed sessions with more than 70 speakers and panelists from PepsiCo, General Mills, Verizon, McDonald's, Walmart, UnitedHealthcare, and the PRSA. Meanwhile, media coverage at the conference included Hispanic Business, Terra, AOL, Poder Magazine, LA Times, EFE, and Notimex.

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