Last week (April 16-19, 2009), I was invited to be part of a Diversity Panel during the Direct Selling Women Alliance Conference, a joyous four days of fabulous entertainment, inspirational yet practical business workshops and wonderful people who traveled from near and far to be a part of this annual celebration of the Direct Selling life.
The main theme of the Conference was “Imagine”, but its focus was more than just on faith or wishful thinking. It was about opening your mind to become the driven, successful person that lives inside each one of us. Below, I have compiled and expanded on some of the insights I shared during my presentation about Today’s Latina.
SOME ASTOUNDING NUMBERS
There are more than 44.6 million Hispanics in the United States – that is more than the entire population of Canada. We make up the largest slice of the demographic pie in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Houston. Of this, the 20+ million Latinas in the US market, a segment that is growing 4 times faster than any other, are becoming a very attractive segment that brands are racing to win over. Today’s Latina owns 39% of all minority-owned companies in the US and influences fashion, trends and culture, forever changing the consumer playing field on a positive level.
LATINA: A COMPLEX CONSUMER
There are many factors that may affect how effectively your message reaches a Latina: acculturation level, language preference, age, education level, country of origin, economic background, etc.
Today’s Latina living in the Unites States is on a literal and metaphorical journey where she both explores and re-defines her womanhood, her cultural values and her own identity, a theme I’ll expand on in a separate post (come back later!)
Many marketing blunders derive from the assumption that Hispanics in general, Latinas in particular, are all alike. This ‘blanket’ generalizes an extremely diverse group, reducing them to stereotypical non-entities. In the media, for example, the only roles for an actress is usually that of the saucy, gossipy, bitchy, English-mangling Latina with a curvy body, olive skin and dark hair. Nothing can be farther from reality. First of all, a Puerto Rican is not a Colombian is not a Mexican is not a Argentinian. Second, we come in every shade of the rainbow. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Although the cultural similarities are far more numerous than the differences, each nationality brings with it their own regional sets of beliefs, local lore, customs, etc. and likewise, enters, interacts and assimilates into the American lifestyle at their own rate, in their own terms.
Nationalism and shrill marketing labels aside, though, Hispanics are slowly starting to discover the power of numbers in this country, identifying more and more with the “Hispanic/Latino” name and embracing their cultural common ground. Unlike American culture, ours tends to emphasize group dynamics –interdependence vs. independence – power is a collective gain.
I will be sharing more insights in subsequent posts. Keep on reading!
© 2009 Elianne Ramos. All Rights Reserved.