Hispanic PR Conference: Mike Fernandez keynote

Mike Fernandez, VP of public affairs for State Farm, touched on the importance of the Hispanic community in the changing face of America in his keynote speech this morning.

Mike Fernandez, VP of public affairs for State Farm, is the fan favorite of the Hispanic PR and social media marketing conference so far. Always surrounded by professionals and communicators wanting to learn more or just meet him, Fernandez touched on the importance of the Hispanic community in the changing face of America in his keynote speech this morning.

He spoke about the character, and non-monolithic nature, of the US Hispanic consumer, gave examples of how companies that are doing a good job of reaching out to this demographic, and touched upon the key insights that marketers need to do their job in this space.

"We come in all shapes, colors, and sizes," Fernandez said, showing off his six-foot-five-inch frame. In his presentation, he noted that 26% of US Hispanics are recent arrivals, mostly unacculturated, while 11% are English-dominant and mostly acculturated. But the middle 63% is an interesting place for consumers who speak both languages, and are tied to their Hispanic culture, but working to influence the American culture with their music, food, traditions, and more.

"Each of these profiles are uniquely American and uniquely Hispanic at the same time," he said. "[America is] more of a patch quilt or salad bowl than a melting pot,"

He also highlighted the ways State Farm is reaching out to the Hispanic community through social media, such as Web novelas featuring State Farm agents, and longer-term community projects such as "State Farm Es Para Mi." He also mentioned other campaigns, such as Pepsi's "Yo Sumo," Unilever and Degree for Men's partnership with the Mexican national soccer team, or Ford's "Tu Voz En Tu Vida."

"It is not enough to be there or just communicate, it has to lead to something: a change in perception, behavior, or the realization of a business result," he said, as he wrapped up the keynote. "As Latino professionals in this discipline, I would invoke that we also have special responsibility to educate and develop those who are coming up behind us."

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