This is the second installment in a series of posts in which I share insights about Latinas in the US, part of my presentation during the Direct Selling Women Alliance Conference presentation (April 16-19, 2009). Enjoy!
SOME PSYCHOGRAPHIC FACTS ABOUT LATINAS
· Entrepreneurship is part of the Latin American tradition. Although the harsh political and socioeconomic situation in Latin America seems to be everlasting, becoming an entrepreneur is not seen as risky. A 2008 Georgetown University study that included 8 Latin American countries (Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela), concluded that a 17.29 out of every 100 adults in the participating countries is in the process of starting or have recently started their own company. Once here, Hispanics bring that same entrepreneurial spirit, their belief in the ‘American Dream’ – and are willing to take matters into their own hands to make that dream possible. This is the #1 reason for them to come to this country to begin with.
· Hard working ethic. Latinas are very aspirational, they have a blind determination to move ahead. They know that in order to succeed they will have to work hard, and this is a belief that is passed from generation to generation. While a Caucasian woman may start her own company as a side hobby to make extra income, a Hispanic woman will be looking at the potential of what her own business can do for her family— especially her children. Coming to America means not only an escape from the socio-economic reality of their countries, but also a chance to ‘make good’ for their families back in their countries and the one they raise here. It means pursuing and achieving their dreams, which means seeing their children graduate from college, owning their own business and their own home.
· Women play the central role in the Latino family structure and make most of the decisions in the household. The education of the children, even the dream of owning a home are factors that will make the potential of earning supplemental income through part time work a exceptionally motivating proposition for most Hispanic women—especially if she is a “stay at home” mom, as women in this culture often are. Latino culture stresses family life, and working from home satisfies that need.
· Sense of family. Family is at the center of daily life. It is this cultural attribute that practically guarantees success for those Latinos who become enthused with the potential of owning their own business. Traditionally, Hispanics include many people in their extended families, not only parents and siblings, but grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and compadres, close friends, and godparents (padrinos) of the family’s children. Strong feelings of loyalty, reciprocity and solidarity are common among members of the same family. Hispanics have a sense of obligation to provide material and emotional support to members of nuclear and extended family. They start their businesses with a built-in network formed by relatives and close family friends willing to help their family member succeed.
· Natural networkers. Latinas are active participants in word-of mouth: this is how they share knowledge, the wisdom of their grandmothers. This is how they find out about that excellent product that is going to deliver the results they seek. They’re open to communicate with others, even with strangers, in a warm, spontaneous way.
· Brand loyal. Consumer behavioral research clearly indicates that Hispanic brand loyalty is considerably greater that that of other demographic groups, especially when it comes to brands already well known in Latin America or brands they discover early in their acculturation process. We are consummate consumers, spending more than we save, and we are the first in line on opening night at the movies. We watch more TV, and buy more beauty products. In our pantry, you’ll find both Latin and mainstream products, as we prepare our own “Latin-fusion” cuisine, a mix of the foods we grew up with new ones to which we give our own twist. Most importantly, once we find a brand that delivers, we stick with it.
· Increasingly technologically savvy, especially within US-born segment.
In a 2009 research made jointly by Meredith Hispanic Ventures and NBC Universal’s Spanish-language network Telemundo Group has found that Latinas are slightly more likely than the non-Hispanic respondents to take pictures with a digital camera (45% compared to 42%) and download music to an iPod (28% compared to 22%). You can find more details here: http://www.nbcunicareers.com/news/27720.shtml.
In my next post, I’ll share some of the ways in which companies (and direct selling small business owners) can tap into the blossoming Latina market.
As always, I would love your comments!
© 2009 Elianne Ramos. All Rights Reserved.