El Elefante in the Boardroom: Growth of the Latino Community in Central Texas - My notes for #AARO35 panel.

September 21, 2015
By Juan Tornoe

Depending on migration numbers, from Zero Net Migration to maintaining the same migration numbers as the 2000-2010 decade, by 2050 Latinos will represent anywhere between 43.6% and 50.7% of the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Area. In either case Hispanics are becoming the majority of the population in our region.

Latinos are becoming a market not to be ignored by businesses and organizations if they want to remain relevant, keep their doors open and prosper in the upcoming decades.

Yet, Hispanics are still the Elephant in the Boardroom, having many categorize us under way outdated stereotypes – at best – or completely ignore our existence and/or relevance for the future of our region.

According to Martin Prosperity Institute’s 2015 Segregated City Report, Austin consistently ranks among the top 10 most economically, educationally, and occupationally segregated cities in the United States. This issues need to be addressed.

I believe today there is more than one “Austin”, and that if we want our city to truly prosper and lead during the following decades, there is a need for recognizing this reality, and having all those affected by it actively work to make it one. This is everyone’s responsibility, every single ethnic, economic, political and social group should work towards integration and collaboration with others in order to be ready to move forward into the second part of this century.

It is not only the current majority, Non-Hispanic Whites, who need to do take action, it is also the largest minority, Hispanics, who need to not only stop self-segregating from other ethnic groups, but among themselves, be it by generation, country of origin, education, or income level.

We need to get to know each other, understand other’s culture and individuality in order to break down stereotypes and create a true understanding of those communities around us. All this striving for a better society as well as a positive economic future for our region.

We need to understand that not all Latinos work blue-collar jobs, only speak Spanish, or have a Mexican heritage. We need to search for the things that make us similar, rather that the things that set us apart.

Connecting with your Latino Prospects: A Closer Look at First Generation Hispanics

November, 2010
By Juan Tornoe

Options, options, options…. Americans have become used to being bombarded with a plethora of options. For first generation Hispanics, becoming victims of over-choice is a new, and oftentimes overwhelming experience. Let’s take Tylenol as an example. Generalizing, in Latin America, you’ll easily find Regular Strength, Extra Strength, Children’s and Infant’s. Now in the good ol’ U.S. of A. you don’t only get these, but you also have the following to choose from (a non-exhaustive list): 8 Hour Muscle Aches and Pain, Arthritis Pain, Sinus Congestion & Severe Pain, Sinus Congestion & Pain Daytime, Sinus Severe Congestion Daytime, Allergy Multi-Symptom, Severe Allergy, Cold Multi-Symptom Severe, Cold & Cough Daytime, Cold & Flu Severe, Cold Sore Throat, Cold Head Congestion Severe… you get the picture.  

This is for one single brand of Acetaminophen. Add into the mix the other brands, generics and alternative products such as Motrin (Ibuprofen) and you can see how trying to self-medicate for a minor headache can become an excruciatingly painful headache for a recent immigrant.

And we have only addressed one product category. You can perform a similar exercise with just about any other product: Toothbrushes, soap, trash bags, nail polish, canned vegetables, sodas…

Can you feel it? I hope you can begin to get a small glimpse into the Latino immigrant experience, at least when it comes to buying the basic products and services you need for everyday life.

My point is that you must dig deeper into the reality of your first generation, very likely Spanish-dominant, Latino clients and prospects in order to cater to them in such a way that they are exposed to your products and services in an inconsequential manner. There’s enough stress already in their lives, for you to pile up some more by not being sensitive to their additional need of information and guidance.

This is not the time to cross-sell or up-sell them. This is the time to help them get what they need and feel good about being able to do this one thing without struggling. Believe me, they will remember you.

I am still a faithful client of Wayne, my insurance guy, with whom I started working a few days after coming to the United States. He patiently and clearly walked me through the whole process of getting the basic insurance I needed, nothing more nothing less. He made me feel welcome; he acknowledged and treated my wife and kid in the most gracious and respectful manner. He’s taken good care of me for many, many years now…I’ve done a fair amount of business with him, purchasing a wider range of products as my needs have changed.

Not a single week passes by without getting in the mail some sort of insurance offer from one of his many competitors; I’ve never read a single one of them. I trust Wayne has me covered, pun intended.

Become someone’s Wayne today, tomorrow and the next day. Connect with your Latino prospects, keeping in mind their needs before yours. It will pay off, I guarantee it.

Originally published on Abasto Magazine

La Diferencia entre Decir y Demostrar

Noviembre, 2010
Por Juan Tornoe

Al lanzar una campaña publicitaria o un anuncio por sí solo, muchas veces caemos en la tentación de sencilla y simplemente decir lo que esperamos que los clientes potenciales hagan/piensen/sientan, en vez de tomarnos el tiempo de demostrarlo. Es la diferencia entre informar y persuadir. Aún más, poniéndose usted en los zapatos del consumidor que está siendo expuesto a un mensaje publicitario cualquiera, ¿cuántas veces ha tomado como una verdad absoluta o una realidad inquebrantable una declaración escueta y sin respaldo de parte de un anunciante?

Sea paciente y tenga confianza en su habilidad – o la de aquellos que desarrollan su publicidad – para construir una realidad creíble en la mente del consumidor. De igual manera, tenga confianza en su audiencia; en que ellos encontrarán su estrategia de comunicación tanto intrigante como refrescante y eventualmente reaccionarán tal y como usted lo espera. Esto funciona cuando está dirigiendo su mensaje tanto al intelecto como la emoción del cliente potencial.

Un anuncio intelectual “dice” al hacer afirmaciones sin fundamento, lo que hace que éste no sea creíble. De igual manera, un anuncio emocional “dice” y no demuestra al no construir una realidad creíble en la mente del consumidor.

Por ejemplo, un anuncio intelectual mediocre dice, “En la actualidad, el Ferrari F430 Spider es el carro deportivo más veloz del mercado.”  Pero esto no presenta ningún tipo de sustentación que motive al consumidor a tomar algún tipo de acción. Pero hay más sustancia y especificidad si en vez decimos, “El nuevo Ferrari F430 Spider vuela de 0 a 60 millas por hora en 3.6 segundos, muchísimo más rápido que el Porsche 911 GT3, y su motor V8 produce 490 enviciantes caballos de fuerza a 8,500 revoluciones por minuto.” ¿Cuál de estas dos descripciones le estimulan más para comprar el Ferrari?

Note como se utilizó información específica, que sin lugar a duda demuestra que en realidad el Ferrari no solamente es el carro deportivo más veloz del mercado, pero a la misma vez se usaron palabras y frases que pintan una atractiva imagen mental en la mente del prospecto, tales como “vuela,” “enviciantes,” y “muchísimo más rápido,” que transmiten la experiencia de manejar este vehículo.

Por supuesto que requiere mucho más tiempo, esfuerzo, investigación y análisis el crear anuncios que “demuestren” en vez de simplemente digan. Es mucho más fácil y económico, a corto plazo,  producir anuncios “en serie,”  pero a largo plazo los resultado que obtenga de sus esfuerzos publicitarios serán directamente proporcionales a la manera en que demuestre, con el especializado uso de las palabras, lo que las personas experimentarán y – aun más importante – sentirán cuando posean su producto o cuando reciban su servicio.

Tenga presente que con la actual fragmentación de medios – la siempre creciente cantidad de opciones de accesar información (léase cable digital, televisión vía satélite, radio digital, Sirius Radio, el Internet, teléfonos celulares inteligentes, etc.), cada vez es más difícil alcanzar al consumidor. Aparte de ser más difícil alcanzarlo, es muchísimo más difícil retener su atención, pues dada la explosión en la cantidad de medios de comunicación, de la misma o mayor forma ha incrementado el número de mensajes publicitarios con los que se bombardea al público, día tras día.

De aquí la importancia  ahora más que nunca de hacer que su mensaje publicitario resalte de los demás; y que mejor forma que tomándose el tiempo de demostrar y no simplemente decir.

Originally Published on Abasto magazine

La diferencia entre Comunicar y Cautivar la atención de su consumidor

Septiembre, 2010
Por Juan Tornoe

Las noticias informan, la literatura entretiene, la publicidad persuade.

El objetivo principal de la publicidad es capturar la imaginación del consumidor por medio de un pensamiento más atractivo que el que actualmente ocupa su mente. A continuación procede a crear una imagen mental de éste haciendo lo que usted quiere que haga. Para finalmente persuadirle a tomar dicha acción una y otra vez.

En esta sociedad inundada con mensajes de todo tipo que bombardean nuestros sentidos las 24 horas del día, debemos primero capturar la atención del consumidor. La pregunta es, ¿Cómo logramos esto?

Algunas de las formas en que comerciantes y publicistas exitosos logran esto es utilizando una o varias de las siguientes estrategias:

Utilizando palabras impredecibles en combinaciones poco usuales; por ejemplo no utilice “verbos flácidos”. Aunque estas dos palabras no son combinadas frecuentemente, dibujan una imagen mental muy clara en la mente del consumidor. De igual manera, esta combinación es un consejo en sí, indicando que no es recomendable utilizar verbos débiles, es decir, verbos que puedan significar muchas cosas distintas a la misma vez.

Mencionando ejemplos/situaciones específicas en vez de más generales: en vez de decir que tiene las mejores ofertas, dé pruebas concretas y actuales del precio de algunos artículos en particular. Lo específico muestra una mayor convicción de su parte en cumplir las promesas hechas por medio de sus esfuerzos publicitarios.

Contando historias donde el personaje principal es el consumidor: Al hacer que en sus anuncios todo revuelva alrededor del consumidor, está haciendo que éste en su mente se vea haciendo lo que usted quiere que haga. Al final de cuentas, esto es lo que usted desea, ¿No es así?

Hablando en tiempo presente, en vez de pasado o futuro: Ayer ya pasó, el futuro es incierto, el tiempo presente – el hoy – es cuándo queremos que el consumidor se vea tomando la acción que deseamos tome.

Dirigiéndose a usted (tú o vos, según sea el caso): es mucho más impactante, en general, cuando le hablan a usted acerca de usted mismo. Si le hablo acerca de mí, de él, o de ellos no es tan relevante – en general – que cuando le hablo acerca de usted, de su situación, actual, de sus gustos, deseos y necesidades, y de cómo cierto producto/servicio contribuirá a satisfacer éstos.

Concentrándose en hacer un punto a la vez: A veces usted tiene tanto que decir acerca de su empresa, productos y servicios que sucumbe a la tentación de incluir demasiada información en un sus mensajes publicitarios. Pese a que esto parece de beneficio para su compañía, en realidad es contraproducente pues la excesiva cantidad de conceptos solamente deja una nube borrosa en la mente del consumidor en vez de dejarle una única idea específica que le conduciría a tomar la acción que usted quiere que tome.

Demostrar, no simplemente decir: sea paciente y confíe en su habilidad – o la de aquellos que desarrollan su publicidad – para formar una realidad creíble en la mente del consumidor. No diga simplemente que tiene los mejores precios o el mejor servicio; demuéstrelo con el hábil uso del lenguaje.

Usted no busca informar o entretener al consumidor; usted anhela – el éxito de su empresa depende de esto – persuadirle a que reconozca su producto o servicio como aquél que considera superior, piensa de primero, y relaciona con sentimientos positivos cuando surge el deseo o necesidad de éste. Por esto, asegúrese que en sus esfuerzos publicitarios se apliquen las estrategias que acaba de aprender. Una vez capture la atención del consumidor, persuádalo a tomar la acción que desea que tome.

Originally published on Abasto Magazine

Piggy-backing your Latino Messaging onto your General Market Ad Budget

July, 2010
By Juan Tornoe

Oftentimes people mistake Hispanic marketing for Spanish marketing.

Even though the United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, there is at least 36% of the Latino market that is English-dominant (14% of the Hispanic market only speak English); more than 1 in 3 Hispanics live in English. There is another 10% of the market that is fully bilingual and there is at lease another 32% who even thought they speak mostly Spanish they do understand some English. All these numbers leave us with only 22% of Hispanics who don’t know any English whatsoever.

On top of that, the main source of growth of the Latino market, since last decade, comes from U.S. born individuals, who will grow up in this country, attend our public schools, and be proficient in English by the time themselves become consumers and/or they influence the buying habits of their parents.

Bottom line, if your Hispanic marketing is only in Spanish, you are not reaching all Hispanics. Short example: At home, my family and I, only speak Spanish, yet except for the Soccer World Cup every 4 years, you will not and cannot reach us using any Spanish language media, traditional or new, online or offline, local or national. Every single bit of media we consume is in English.

So, how do you reach all those Latinos who are unreachable by the use of Spanish media, be it like my family of like many others who simply don’t speak Spanish, but still retain the heritage and cultural traditions of Hispanics?

The short answer is by piggy-backing your Latino messaging onto your general market ad budget. For this action, a while back I coined the phrase “Lonely-Boying”, after Los Lonely Boys and their 2003 hit song “Heaven”. The song was a HUGE hit all across America, but it is a little known fact – among the general market – that there are two lines from its chorus that are completely in Spanish. For the average American, Heaven was a great song but for a Latino, it not only was that but it instantly generated a deeper emotional connection with Los Lonely Boys because of the short Spanish language phrase intertwined into the song. Even if the Hispanic didn’t know a word of Spanish, they could recognize that the group was singing in “abuelita’s” language! Those few words generated a deeper connection because they were a brief but powerful acknowledgement of the dual reality – culturally and language wise – that Latinos live in America. Even if unconsciously, the Hispanic listener feels that Los Lonely Boys “gets them”.

We have been talking music up until know, but how to we transfer the concept of Lonely-Boying into marketing and advertising? It is by reaching the Latino market through short, yet powerful, tidbits within your general market outreach efforts that connect in a deeper emotional level with Hispanics and most likely will pass unnoticed by those exposed to it from the general market. Lonely-Boying can be done in any creative execution: radio, TV, newspaper, billboards, direct mail, email marketing, online banners, social media, etc.

Its effect can be accomplished through sounds, written or spoken words, images, melodies, or colors, all of which immediately generate an emotional reaction from Hispanics – no matter their language preference – but are completely irrelevant or simply overlooked by everyone else.

Funny thing, I had been using this technique for several years when last November I ran into an article on The Daily Pennsylvanian where they quoted Americus Reed, PhD, Identity Theorist, and marketing professor from Wharton School of Business, talking on the same subject:

“Consumers who identify with different ethnic groups perceive ads — and life — differently. Marketers who try to speak to ‘both selves’ using cultural symbols can lower the value of an ad; you can’t overtly try to appeal to both cultures. For an ad to appeal to bicultural consumers successfully, a ‘complementary synergy’ has to be created. Instead of having everything shouting at you at once, one of the dimensions has to be more subtle.”

You can either quote the ad guy or the PhD, but to reach out to the growing, diverse and ever-more-complex Latino market you must not limit yourself and your business to only talk to them in Spanish using Spanish language media; you must sprinkle your general market ads with some Hispanic flare.

Originally published on Abasto magazine

Diferencias Culturales entre Hispanos y Americanos

Julio, 2010
Por Juan Tornoe

Aunque existen ciertas características que todos compartimos como miembros de la raza humana, debido a la dispersión del hombre a través de toda faz de la tierra, se fueron formando distintos grupos que ahora comparten una herencia, una historia común entre ellos, de donde surgen ciertas características culturales que los diferencian de los demás. Tal es el caso de los diferentes grupos étnicos que llaman “hogar” a los Estados Unidos de América. De particular importancia es entender la diferencia entre el mercado general y el mercado hispano en este país. Cómo ya hemos mencionado antes, aproximadamente el 17% del total de la población es de origen hispano, número que para el año 2,050 aumentará a por lo menos a un 30%; para entonces prácticamente 1 de cada tres estadounidenses será de origen hispano.

A continuación le presento algunas de las características culturales que diferencian a los hispanos de los americanos (o sea, del mercado general estadounidense); con una aclaración importante: en general, estas características se observan con mayor facilidad mientras más cerca – generacionalmente – esté el individuo que aquél que cruzó la frontera.

Grado de Intimidad: El latino es más amigable y emocionalmente más abierto de mucho más rápidamente que el americano promedio. No es que establezcan amistades profundas y a largo plazo de inmediato, pero pronto tienden a interactuar como si así fuera. En la cultura anglo-sajona toma más tiempo que las personas se abran de ésta manera; ellos deben de conocerle mucho más a fondo antes de “bajar la guardia” en cuanto a su interacción en una determinada relación.

Reconocer la presencia de otros: Aunque es una necesidad de todo ser humano el ser reconocido como tal, este rasgo cultural es mucho más marcado entre los Hispanos. El Latino verdaderamente espera y aprecia que se le dedique tiempo, que se haga contacto visual (cuando sea posible) y que la conversación que se establezca sea genuina y no parte un script memorizado acompañado de una sonrisa fingida.  

Harmonía Social: El latino promedio se siente a gusto manteniendo la harmonía social. A veces es aún más que esto; a menudo se vuelve una necesidad mantener relaciones placenteras y libres de conflicto. A tal punto llega esto que el hispano prefiere no abordar un tema conflictivo con otra persona a fin de evitar la incomodidad de la situación. Es decir, los latinos tienen más dificultad para separar un asunto en particular, de la relación personal que tienen con el individuo con quien la discuten. Para el americano, es mucho más sencillo hacer la distinción entre un asunto particular y su relación con la persona con quien habla al respecto de éste; puede estar en completo desacuerdo sobre algo pero esto no afecta en lo absoluto su relación personal con la persona con quien lo habla.

Espacio Personal: En situaciones sociales, para los hispanos, el contacto personal es de lo más común. Algunos bromean que para los latinos no existe el concepto de “espacio personal”; abrazos, apretones efusivos de manos, besos en la mejilla, unas palmadas en el brazo o el muslo, todos estos son normales y de esperarse durante las interacciones personales, aún sin conocerse por mucho tiempo. Para el anglo sajón, esto no es nada cómodo a menos que se trate de familia o de alguien con quien se haya tenido una relación personal por muchos años.

Respeto a la Autoridad y Poder: Los hispanos tienden a tener respeto y admiración por aquellos a quienes perciben tener más poder y autoridad. El juez, el doctor, el gobernador, el abogado, el presentador de noticias, el presidente de una gran empresa; todos estos son ejemplos de personas que el latino promedio respeta por la posición en que esta. Por ejemplo, un hispano no va a visitar a su médico para decirle que acaba de ver un anuncio en la televisión que recomienda una medicina para el mal que padece y que quiere que se la recete en vez de la que está tomando actualmente. El americano promedio no tendría ningún problema en hacer esto y el doctor tampoco se sentiría ofendido al respecto, pero para el latino, es una completa falta de respeto: ¿Cómo va cuestionar la decisión de aquél que ha pasado muchísimo años estudiando y entrenándose para ser médico?

Espero que esta pequeña muestra de diferencias culturales le ayude a comprender de una mejor manera las diferencias entre el mercado general y los hispanos, y que utilice esta información para servir mejor a ambos.

Originally published on Abasto Magazine

Practical Advice for Effectively Reaching Out to Latino Church Goers

August 6, 2015
By Juan Tornoe

At the end of a recent presentation during a Christ Together Greater Austin board retreat, one of the board members asked for specific/practical advice on how to better connect with Latinos attending his church. If I recall correctly, he used the term, “best practices” …

An extremely insightful question, that just kept spinning inside my brain. Since then, I’ve gathered some of my thoughts on this subject and wanted to share them with you.

  1. Don’t call it Hispanic (or Latino) Ministry: If you choose to reach out to Spanish-dominant Hispanics, call it “Spanish Ministry” or “Spanish Service”. It should be intended for everyone who wishes to worship and be taught in Spanish, independently of their ethnicity. Your current “general audience” English service should be sprinkled with bits and pieces of Latino culture every now and then, in order to recognize those sitting on the pews who are culturally Hispanic, but for whatever reason prefer attending church in English.
  2. Cultural Sensitivity Training: Make sure that everyone, from the lead pastor, to all church staff, elders, and volunteer laypersons who interact with churchgoers understand the church’s goal or reaching out to all ethnicities/people groups in Austin and is willing and ready to interact with them in a way that makes them feel at home at your church.
  3. Don’t assume that if someone “looks” Latino they will prefer to be addressed in Spanish. In a mature, multi-generational market like Austin, we should first talk to people in English, and then adapt depending on how the conversation progresses. If they don’t understand what you are saying or speak English with a thick accent or with some difficulty, switch into Spanish or make sure to introduce them to somebody who can help them in that language.
  4. If you have (or hire) a pastor to lead your Spanish language services, don’t measure his success by service attendance, but by spiritual growth of their service attendees as well as by their integration into your church’s entire community.
  5. Provide timely information about all of your church’s ministries, events, classes in both English and Spanish. Everyone should know what is going on in your church: Activities from Nursery all the way up to College ministry and beyond.
  6. Don’t treat your Spanish ministry/service as if it is a different church that happens to gather at your premises. Have a “Our Church 101” in Spanish to give to new visitors to the Spanish service, with information on EVERYTHING that goes on at your church, not only at the Spanish service.
  7. Cross-pollinate sermons on a regular basis: make sure to bring in your Spanish pastor to preach at your general service (with an interpreter if needed), and have several of your English-speaking pastors preach at the Spanish service (again, with an interpreter). This also applies to worship, mix it up a bit: It is easier with worship songs that are popular in both English and Spanish, and having members of each worship team singing some verses in their language.
  8. Add an easy to access Spanish page to your website (at the very least), with all the basic information about your church, services, etc., and make sure to provide contact information of someone who can follow up with them in their language of choice.
  9. Pay attention to translations: When you are making the effort to speak to Spanish-dominant Latinos in their language, you can butcher it all day long; we appreciate you making the effort of speaking to us in our mother tongue. Now, when it comes to written materials, make sure that it is properly translated and intended for no more than a 6th grade reading level.
  10. As much as possible, keep the the same teachings at the pulpit, Sunday school, and small groups. This will create conversation opportunities between attendees of both services.
  11. Everyone should be invited to any and every church activity, independently if it is organized by the English or the Spanish service.
  12. There should not be any mentions of the “American church” (or any similar way to talk about the English service) or the “Spanish church”. Both should be of the same heart and mind, identify as one church, and only refer to the other as the “English service” or “Spanish service”. This will help build a stronger bridge between all church members, rather than the auto-segregation that it produces.

This is just a stream of consciousness addressing some of the things that could be implemented at any given church, and I believe could generate positive results for church growth and community integration.

Hope it helps.

God bless you!

Hispanics and Latin Americans are Not the Same

June 2010
By Juan Tornoe

For practical reasons, let’s begin defining the term Latino or Hispanic, which at the end of the day identify the same group of people. Latinos/Hispanics are those individuals living in the U.S. that somewhere in their past have roots South of the Rio Grande or the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. All the latter can be described as Latin American.

Immediately you can begin to notice the distinction. The primary difference between Hispanics and Latin Americans is where they live.

At first sight, this does not seem to make such a drastic difference among the two groups. But by digging a bit deeper you will come to the realization of how important it is to differentiate among them. By living in the United States and going through a process of acculturation (the preservation of one’s birth culture and the addition of another culture) and/or assimilation (the replacement of one’s birth culture by another) a Latin American individual morphs into a Latino.

Let me explain. The experience of living in America and everything that one is exposed to in this country creates a new reality for the individual. Although he or she still retains many of the similar cultural traits and life experiences as others living in Latin America, there are many ongoing occurrences that are simply unique for those living here.

Yes, you can be a Latino of Mexican (Guatemalan, Venezuelan, Peruvian, or Ecuadorian) descent but your life experiences, the more time you live in the U.S. begin to redefine your sense of self and distance it from those persons who currently live in your country of origin. This is not good or bad; it simply is different.

Let’s look at some of these differences…

1. Thanksgiving Day: Back in Latin America, there is no experience that comes close to what Thanksgiving stands for. There were no pilgrims, but rather conquistadors turning up until then free natives into slaves; not much of a reason to be thankful. Still, when a Latino comes to America, Thanksgiving is something that they want to adopt right away; it is an event that symbolizes, in more ways than one, the fact that now they live in this country.

2. Girls Playing Soccer: Soccer, or “Fútbol”, in Latin American is predominantly a men sport. When immigrants come to this country they notice that not only girls are play soccer, but they are awesome at it. This takes them completely by surprise. Little by little they begin to get used to the idea up to the point when they allow, and eventually encourage, their little girls to join soccer leagues. Hispanic women are suddenly free to “bend it like Beckham”.  

3. “Greek Latinos”: Unfortunately, only a small percentage of Latin Americans get the opportunity to attend college. Most of the lucky ones live in the cities where the colleges or universities are located. Therefore, there is no need to move away from home to attend college, so there is no need for dorms, let alone fraternities and sororities. In the U.S. Hispanics are heading to college in ever increasing numbers and not only are they going Greek, but they are joining Latino fraternities and sororities, which can be found in basically every campus in the nation.

4. The Manly Art of Grilling: There is no natural and instinctive grunting (ala Home Improvement’s Tim “the tool man” Taylor) coming from Latin American men when in front of a Weber Summit S-670 grill. Generalizing, with a few exceptions Latin American men don’t cook unless pushed to extreme desperation. When we come to America we are quite perplexed by all the guys’ fascination with grilling and really don’t get it at first. Then, little by little, through repeated exposure, we begin to get the hand of it. Research shows that grillin’ is a consistently growing practice amongst Latino men.

We could go on and on, but you get the picture by now. Living in the United States provides a completely different experience to Latin American immigrants that differentiates them from their fellow countrymen who stayed behind. Now, think of U.S. born Hispanics who were never exposed to life in Latin America…

Originally published in Abasto magazine

Cuidado con las Jergas de los Distintos Segmentos del Mercado Hispano

Junio, 2010
Por Juan Tornoe

De la forma en que hoy en día el mercado segmenta a la comunidad hispana, pareciera que todos somos un uniforme y gigantesco bloque de 17 millones de individuos que aumenta en número cada día. En muchos casos, como lo he mencionado anteriormente, hasta se considera que mercadear a hispanos es mercadear en español. De ser este el caso, que no lo es (hay un gran número de latinos que no hablan español en lo absoluto), sería contraproducente asumir que el español es una lengua estática la cual se puede utilizar de exactamente la misma manera en cualquier parte del planeta en el que se hable. Debo recalcar que estamos hablando de conectar emocionalmente con personas para persuadirles a hacer lo que queremos que hagan, o sea, mercadearles nuestros productos o servicios.

Buena suerte tratando de mercadear sus productos en Colombia utilizando jerga, modismos y regionalismos de Argentina o México. De la misma manera, la comunidad hispana en los Estados Unidos es tan diversa y está tan dispersa a nivel nacional que se debe tomar en consideración su composición en el mercado que usted desea alcanzar antes de comenzar a crear una campaña publicitaria o cualquier otro tipo de comunicación.

Al hablar de composición del mercado me refiero a los porcentajes de los subgrupos de la comunidad hispana que habitan en el territorio que usted sirve (ya sea desde un vecindario hasta la nación completa). ¿La mayoría son mexicanos, cubanos, portorriqueños, dominicanos, salvadoreños, colombianos, o nicaragüenses? Aunque el mayor porcentaje de los Latinos son de origen mexicano, es un error asumir de primas a primeras que el utilizar modismos mexicanos es la mejor forma de hablarle a su público. Por ejemplo, aproximadamente el 45% de dominicanos viviendo en Estados Unidos radican en la ciudad de Nueva York; de igual manera, 50% de los cubanos viviendo en este país residen en el condado de Miami-Dade en la Florida. Otro dato interesante es el hecho que a nivel nacional, los salvadoreños en el 2008 por primera vez en la historia sobrepasaron en número a aquellas personas de origen dominicano, convirtiéndose en el cuarto grupo hispano en cuánto a cantidad de población, atrás de los mexicanos, portorriqueños y cubanos, en ese orden.

¿Cómo le afecta esto a usted y a su negocio? Déjeme darle algunos ejemplos. Algunos artículos/productos tienen nombres completamente distintos dependiendo del origen de las personas a quien se dirija. Lo que para un mexicano son “frijoles”, para un chileno son “porotos” y para un dominicano son “habichuelas”. En otras situaciones la mismísima palabra tiene otro significado y hasta puede tener un significado completamente opuesto. “Ahorita” para un guatemalteco significa “inmediatamente”, mientras que para un costarricense la misma palabra quiere decir “eventualmente”.  Estos son ejemplos “para todo público”; existen otras palabras que son de uso común y corriente para un grupo pero que son vulgares para otro; se debe tener muchísimo cuidado.

Así puede usted comprender porqué es importante conocer a fondo a su público, conocer su jerga, sus modismos y hasta los acentos con los que hablan. Haciéndolo logrará comunicarse con ellos de una manera más poderosa, más efectiva, ganando tanto sus mentes como sus corazones, todo gracias a que usted hizo un esfuerzo adicional en conocerles mejor y utilizar este conocimiento para comunicarse con ellos de tal manera que se establezca un vínculo emocional más fuerte con su empresa que con la competencia. En esta época en que todo consumidor es bombardeado constantemente por miles de mensajes publicitarios, esto hará la diferencia entre que su mensaje publicitario se diluya con todos los demás o que sobresalga y acapare la atención de su clientela.  

Originally published on Abasto Magazine

Diferencias Generacionales entre Hispanos

Mayo, 2010
Por Juan Tornoe

Cuando el empresario promedio dice, “Quiero alcanzar a los hispanos”, generalmente está tratando de alcanzar a un universo de personas mucho mayor de lo que su presupuesto, gama de productos, o su huella geográfica le permitiría.

Hay muchas formas de desglosar al mercado latino, pero una que es bastante práctica y permite tiempos de reacción/adaptación cortos es el separar a los hispanos por generaciones.

Primero definamos, de manera general, a que nos referimos con esto de generaciones:

1ª Generación: Aquellos miembros de la comunidad hispana que nacieron y crecieron (una buena parte de sus vidas) en Latino América; son aquellos que migraron hacia los Estados Unidos. Lo que nuestros amigos Americanos llaman, “foreign-born;” nacidos en el extranjero.

2ª  Generación: Nacidos en los Estados Unidos de padres – por lo menos uno – inmigrantes; aquí incluyo a aquellas personas que a una temprana edad migraron con sus padres desde Latino América y han vivido y crecido la mayor parte de sus vidas en los Estados Unidos.

3ª Generación o más: Nacidos en Estados Unidos de padres nacidos en los Estados Unidos. Aunque pueden identificar una conexión con Latino América en su árbol genealógico, todo lo que ellos (y sus padres) han experimentado la gran mayoría de sus vidas, por no decir toda su existencia, es la vida en los Estados Unidos.

Podríamos entrar en mucho más detalle al respecto, pero desde ya estoy seguro que usted ha comenzado a ver las claras diferencias en cuanto a puntos de vista y experiencias entre estos tres grupos.

El Hispano de primera generación va a estar intelectual y emocionalmente mucho más conectado con su país de origen. Por ende, mercadearle productos de “nostalgia” – aquellos que le son familiares y le recuerdan de alguna forma a su país, representa una gran oportunidad. Otro aspecto igual de importante es el idioma en el que puede mercadearle a este grupo. Especialmente a nivel de su local o tienda, el ofrecer la posibilidad de escuchar y leer información en español acerca de sus productos o servicios harán una gran diferencia. Aunque esta persona sea bilingüe, el darle la oportunidad de interactuar en su idioma natal representa una gran ventaja competitiva.

El Latino de segunda generación se identifica de cierta forma con la canción interpretada estupendamente por Facundo Cabral titulada “No soy de aquí, no soy de allá”.  Ellos viven una doble realidad; en sus hogares, con sus padres inmigrantes, viven vidas “en español”, siendo educados, interactuando, comiendo, y entreteniéndose de manera muy similar a la que sus padres lo experimentaron en sus tierras natales. Al cruzar el marco de la puerta de entrada de sus hogares entran en el mundo estadounidense en el que han crecido y se han desenvuelto desde que comenzaron a ir a la escuela o guardería. En su mayoría entienden muy bien ambas culturas y consumen indistintamente productos/servicios de ambas. Aunque hablan – y hasta quizá lean – español, con distintos grados de competencia, el ofrecerles información e interacción es inglés hará que se sientan más a gusto al interactuar con su negocio.

Aquellos que forman parte de la tercera generación o más (4ª, 5ª, etc.) aunque retienen ciertas costumbres y tradiciones de sus antepasados, están mucho más asimilados que los otros grupos, es decir, con cada generación de cierta manera se va “olvidando” la hispanicidad  y se va adoptando más la tradicional cultura estadounidense. Esta última afirmación parece ser algo contradictoria, pues dado que los Latinos son la minoría más joven y de mayor número en el país, están influenciando y redefiniendo de manera pronta y poderosa a lo que se conoce como “mercado general”. Independientemente, existen diferencias con las generaciones anteriores. En cuanto al idioma, es probable que aunque entiendan español, no tengan vocabulario suficiente o se sientan lo suficientemente cómodos para hablarlo. Ya que tanto ellos como sus padres han vivido en los Estados Unidos toda su vida, están sumamente familiarizados con todos los productos y servicios que se ofrecen en el país y dependen/utilizan mucho menos productos que tradicionalmente son categorizados como Latinos.

Los porcentajes de estos grupos generacionales varían según los distintos mercados, pero una cosa es cierta: Aunque el número de hispanos de primera generación continuará en crecimiento conforme pasa el tiempo, estos representarán un porcentaje menor de la totalidad del mercado latino. Es decir que cada día los hispanos  de segunda, tercera y siguientes generaciones representarán un mercado más y más grande. Si desea expandir el alcance de su empresa entre todos los hispanos y hacer crecer su negocio, debe entender las diferencias generacionales y utilizar este nuevo entendimiento para poder mercadear efectivamente a todos.

Originally published on Abasto Magazine

Culture, the Glue that Holds Latinos Together

May 2010
By Juan Tornoe

Remember back in 1992, while in the midst of the presidential race James Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton’s campaign headquarters that read, “It’s the Economy, Stupid”? As succinct a phrase as it was, I believe it dramatically changed history delivering the first term in office for the then Governor of Arkansas, who was facing a tough uphill battle against an apparently unbeatable George H. Bush.

James Carville’s political genius is shown by his understanding of that which mattered the most, that which troubled their hearts and minds, to an electorate base that had just experienced a recession. Yes, there were many other important issues to address, but that was without a doubt, the one that would sway the masses one way or the other.

Extrapolating Mr. Carville’s strategy into your boardroom and applying it to answer the question, “How can we better connect with the growing Hispanic market?” The answer is as simple as this:

IT’S THE CULTURE, SEÑOR! I hope you did not think for even a moment I was about to call you stupid…

Language, as important as it is, it is merely a vehicle to deliver your message. If you are not taking into consideration culture, the best translated outreach campaign won’t connect emotionally with the intended audience. The same goes for country of origin/heritage, generation, socio-economic level, income level, place of residence, etc.

So you need to do your homework (or get some marketing / research guy to do if for you) to better understand those cultural characteristics which are common to all Latinos. The question is, which are those common cultural traits that remain constant, even if at variable intensities, among all 47 million (give or take a couple hundred thousands) Hispanic individuals.

Following please find a small sample, a definitely non-exhaustive list, of some of the cultural traits you need to be aware of if you are consciously making an effort to increase your Latino customer base. Please do keep in mind that the following traits are more obvious the closer you are to the generation which crossed the border, but they will remain among their descendants, even if not as evident.

Degree of Intimacy
Hispanics tend to establish friendlier relationships faster than the average American. Please note it is not friendships that we are talking about, but to the way we casually interact with new acquaintances. It is not only about quickly engaging in conversation; it is more about having a conversation with an old friend from high school: they are laid back, relaxed and might be much quicker to begin joking with you and/or sharing personal stuff with you than what you would normally expect.  

Personal Space
There’s basically none! Expect Latinos to be more prone to invade your personal space. Hugging, touching your back or shoulder, kissing (mostly members of the opposite sex), is quite alright and socially accepted if not expected! Therefore be prepared and do not get all awkward and jumpy when experiencing this reality first hand; just go with the flow!

Respect to Authority and Power
I strongly believe this is one of the main reasons Latin American countries find themselves in their current situation. Hispanics are very, and I mean very, respectful to persons in positions of authority and power. It was not ingrained in our upbringing to second guess, contradict, or express our difference of opinion with people who have earned their way or have been assigned to these positions. Be it medical doctors, college professors, lawyers, or Government officials, it is not in our nature to openly disagree with or contradict them. For a non-Hispanic white it is perfectly OK to go into their doctor’s office and tell them they want that “purple pill” they saw on TV; a Latino would feel very uncomfortable with the whole scenario, most likely questioning their qualifications for making that request vs. the years and years of studies and experience that Mr. MD has.

As I mentioned before, this is just a small sampler of Hispanic cultural traits, but I am sure it gives you enough of an idea of how important being aware of them is for the way you conduct business, service and advertise to Latinos. We’ll continue this conversation in months to come.

Originally published on Abasto Magazine

How Big is the Latino Market, Really?

March 2010
By Juan Tornoe

Short answer: It Depends.

Let me elaborate. By 2050 one third (33%) of all persons living in the United States of America will be of Hispanic descent. It is a fact that the Latino community is the fastest growing in the Nation, both in head count as well as in buying power. Currently, depending on who’s measuring, it represents anywhere between 16 and 17% of the entire population of the U.S.

These numbers are quite impressive but they can easily be misused to fool and deceive you into believing a reality that might not fully apply to your specific set of circumstances. Without the detailed definition of who within the Latino market you are trying to reach you run the risk of squandering away your ad budget by investing it into a futile endeavor. You might be enthused by the opportunities of riding the Hispanic Wave only to hit a wall head first and realize that it was not as easy as it seemed to be.

You need to be fully aware of several things in order to truly define how big the Latino market for your product or service is.

First you need to indentify how big your market is: the nation, a region, a state, a city, a ZIP code? Then get a general idea of the number/percentage of Hispanics living there. It is not the same concentration of Latinos living in California, El Paso, TX or Bangor, ME!

Then you need to take a deeper dive into this community: In which language should you reach out to them? What are their levels of acculturation / assimilation? Which country of origin or heritage are they predominantly from? What is their buying power and how is it distributed within the community? Which are their preferred media outlets and how good will these work for you to obtain the best reach and frequency for your advertising message in order to stir them into action?

A very important part of the analysis revolves around the following; do all these specific market demographics match those who are most likely to want or need you product/service and who will be willing and able to purchase it?

Most certainly, there are many more questions needed to be asked and get answered before committing serious time, money, and effort to reach out to Hispanics, but by addressing at the very least what has been mentioned above, you will have a much better understanding of the actual size of the Latino market specifically for what you sell.

Many, who simply wish to make a quick buck, will be eager to tell that it is a no-brainer to “invest” lots of dollars into reaching out to Hispanics, especially if that investment is going directly into their bank accounts. I advice you not to jump in too fast; first do your due diligence and then move forward, with a clear understanding of what you are getting into.

It is most likely than not that indeed there will be an opportunity for your products/services within the Latino community in the area you service. What is important is that you get a good grasp of the potential size and profitability of this opportunity. The last thing I want for you is to go about it the wrong way and believe that it was a mistake to reach out to Latinos.

So yes, Hispanics represent as many as 17% of the population nationwide, as little as 1% in Altoona, PA as much as 95% in Laredo, TX. How much do they represent for your market? Are you ready to cater to them?

Originally published on Abasto Magazine

Aculturación Inversa - Nuevos Mercados para sus Productos

Marzo 2010
Por Juan Tornoe

Todos estamos conscientes del tremendo crecimiento de la población hispana a través de los Estados Unidos. En cualquiera de los cuatro puntos cardinales que usted se dirija – unos más que otros – encontrará señales del la expansión de ésta. Sabemos que por costumbre y/o nostalgia el latino, especialmente aquel de primera generación, busca ciertos productos alimenticios, de limpieza personal y del hogar, vestimenta, decoración y hasta información que le mantienen cerca de “sus raíces.” Todos estos y otros más han generado toda una industria que seguramente usted ha visto crecer y se ha beneficiado directamente de la misma, sirviendo principalmente, si no únicamente a individuos de descendencia latinoamericana.

Por aparte también hemos visto, y muchos hemos vivido en carne propia, el proceso de aculturación de nuestra comunidad a la cultura predominante en este país; cómo con el pasar de los meses, años y décadas vamos adoptando múltiples costumbres y aspectos socioculturales de la cultura anglo-sajona. Es un proceso que a través del tiempo se vuelve inevitable al vivir en este país, por mucho que lo queramos negar o tratemos de evitar.

Ahora la oportunidad de oro para su negocio es comenzar a diversificarse en cuanto a la clientela a quien sirve.

El mercado hispano ha llegado a tal tamaño – casi el 17% de la población del país – que ahora se esta dando el fenómeno de aculturación inversa o “Hispanización” del mercado general. Lo que esto implica es que el mercado general, influenciado en su mayoría hasta ahora por la cultura anglo-sajona, está siendo introducido cada día más y más, y está adoptando como suyos una variedad de productos, costumbres, tradiciones, etc. de la minoría más grande del país.

Algunos ejemplos bastante obvios son la celebración del “5 de Mayo” que se está volviendo casi tan importante como el Día de San Patricio (St. Patrick’s Day), el auge de los restaurantes de comida mexicana (y pseudo-mexicana), el consumo del agua mineral Topo Chico y el consumo de cervezas mexicanas como Corona, Dos Equis y Tecate. También vemos otros signos menos obvios como el hecho que desde ya hace más de cinco años se vende más salsa que catsup y que desde el 2009 se venden más tortillas que pan blanco en los EEUU.

Cadenas de supermercados en ambas costas, Mi Pueblo en California y Sedano’s en la Florida, han identificado esta tendencia y están capitalizando en ella. Siendo supermercados tradicionalmente conocidos como “étnicos”, atendiendo principalmente al mercado hispano, ahora se han aventurado a expandir su alcance dándose a conocer  al resto de la población por medio de promociones, publicidad y nuevas ubicaciones. El hecho de que el mercado general está siendo tan influenciado por la cultura latina presenta una excelente oportunidad para ofrecer a toda la población la amplia variedad de productos que hasta el momento sólo se han comercializado a ésta.

El estar consciente de la creciente receptividad del mercado general a los productos que usted ha estado ofreciendo por mucho tiempo y proactivamente y eficazmente  mercadearlos asegurará que usted alcance nuevos mercados – anteriormente impenetrados – en su región de operaciones.

Marcas como FUD, La Villita, Jarritos, Sidral Mundet, D'Gari, Cholula y Chocolate Ibarra sin lugar a duda llegarán a ser conocidas y utilizadas por todo el mercado de Estados Unidos. La pregunta es si usted forma parte del grupo de visionarios que están abriendo brecha para ellos o simplemente se ha quedado como un observador estático. ¿Cuál de estos escogerá ser?

Originally published on Abasto magazine

Regionalized vs. "Walter Cronkite" Spanish

February 2010
By Juan Tornoe

So you have come to the conclusion that you must reach out to Spanish dominant Latinos utilizing ads in their language. Now the question is what kind of Spanish should you use? Well, Spanish Spanish right?

Well, it is not always as simple as that.

When reaching out to Spanish speakers you first need to define the specific segment of the market you will be talking to. It can go from reaching all Spanish-dominant Latinos in the U.S. to those in a specific city or even part of a city, and everything in between. For example, around 45% of the Nation’s Dominicans live in New York City, and about 50% of Cuban-Americans live, no wonder, in Miami-Dade County. If you are marketing your products and services in Los Angeles, you need to take into consideration that there resides the biggest concentrations of Central Americans in the United States; Salvadorans being the second-largest immigrant community in the city.

Even though more than 65% of all Hispanics are from Mexican descent, you cannot immediately assume that reaching out to all Latinos using Mexican dialect will be an immediate home run.

You must take into consideration that different words in regionalized Spanish have the same English meaning, and that a specific Spanish word may have different meanings in Spanish – and English - depending on the community you are talking to.

Some examples:
A car is a car all across America; in México a car is called a “coche”, in Guatemala a “carro”. The interesting thing is that in Guatemala, a “coche” is a pig, not a car!
Depending on the country of origin of Hispanics beans can be referred in Spanish as “frijoles”, “habichuelas”, “porotos”, or “frejoles”.
The Spanish term “guagua”, for Cubans is a bus while for Chileans is a small child.
“Ahorita” means “right now” for Guatemalans, while for Costa Ricans has the exact opposite meaning, “later”.

Indeed, even though the majority of Hispanics in America are from Mexican descent, the percentage distribution varies a lot depending on the location you are aiming to reach them at. IF you are one of the companies that cater to the entire nation and have budget allocated to do Spanish advertising it is quite safe to say that utilizing Journalist Spanish, that is Spanish without any regional wording, accent or undertone: Walter Cronkite Spanish, would work just fine for you. Now, if you really have deep pockets and want to connect in a much deeper emotional way with all your audiences, create message variations for your campaign adapting to the demographic/ethnic makeup of the different regions you will target; this is what separates the men from the boys when marketing nationally.

For the rest of us who market day in and day out to clients in a specific city or region, my strong suggestion is that you do your home work and figure out the composition of your Spanish speaking clients and prospects as far as country of origin/heritage comes, and adapt your message accordingly, using as much as possible regional words, accents and even slang to get your message across in the most powerful and relevant way.

Spanish dialects vary, just as American English has differences with British, Australian and even Canadian English, eh? Please do keep this in mind for your next Spanish language advertising campaign.

Originally published on Abasto magazine.

Product Labeling for the Hispanic Market

January 2010
By Juan Tornoe

Not all Latinos speak Spanish. This is a market truth many fail to recognize. On top of that even if a Hispanic is bilingual, you should not immediately assume you will be able to reach him or her in Spanish. Many of us either because we are more comfortable with it or want/need to practice it, will go to the English language copy.

That said, I strongly, emphatically, and urgently encourage you to always aim to provide bilingual labeling for your products. There are two strong reasons for doing so. First, there are enough Spanish dominant Latinos out there that want your product – anyone’s product for that matter – to justify stamping product description, any required product fact, an your promotional calls to action “en Español.” Simply picture yourself walking into a store in Seoul, South Korea – assuming you are not fluent in Korean –desperately craving for a whatchamacallit. You stroll down the aisles until you finally find them… There are 8 different brands, with bold letters and bright colors hollering for your attention. One problem though, you can’t read Korean, so all these attention grabbing efforts are Chinese to you! Finally, you notice that one brand just happens to include English – although in a smaller font and clearly including less information than that in Korean - on its label. Ah! You grab it and dash to the cash register, wons (Korean mulah!) in hand. Did you care if this was the number brand in town or if their advertising campaign was the most creative and/or the one with the vastest reach, if the packaging material was the most slick or if its design was far superior to the rest?   Did it matter if the ingredients (or contents) satisfy your every need and requirement? Of course NOT! What mattered was that you were able to find what you were looking for and made sure, through reading the label in your language, that it was good enough and it satisfied your immediate want. This happens every day across the entire good ‘ol U.S. of A. to Spanish dominant Latinos going down millions of aisles looking for the products they need. Are you connecting to them?  

The second reason for adding Spanish to your product’s labels has to do with the psyche of bilingual and English dominant Hispanics. Going back to the Seoul example from above, let’s say that you are fully bilingual in English and Korean; under exactly the same set of circumstances mentioned, you would be able to select a given brand you previously knew about and now have right there in front of you, or if you were not familiar with any of the brands available for that product line, you would be able to review the package and labeling to make a decision on which specific one you would end up buying.  How do you suppose you’d feel while scanning through all the different whatchamacallit options when suddenly you realize that one of those is making the effort to reach out to YOU in your mother tongue? I assure you, if you’ve never experienced something similar, that you get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. There is a somewhat subconscious emotional connection between you and the brand that’s talking to you in the language that you are most familiar with, that cares enough to go the extra mile, to invest a little more to make their product available to you and those who find themselves in a similar position. That emotion most often leads into action and right there and then, if your product has what it takes, you have a golden opportunity to convert these individuals into loyal customers. Isn’t that’s what’s all about.

One final word of advice: Do invest in having a professional translate your labeling information; an expert that not only understand the language, but understand both marketing and cultural issues in order to assure that the correct messaging is being delivered.

Originally published on Abasto Magazine