Saturday, December 23, 2006

New Television and US Hispanics

Television networks have for a long time ignored social trends. Slowly they have seen their share eroding as alternative media channels become more relevant in people's lives. It is interesting that Desperate Housewives have claimed a large viewership that includes many US Hispanics. Its obvious sex appeal makes it relevant to many people. But also it is its diversity and the extent to which the audience can see themselves in the screen.

Identification with characters in entertainment has been known, for a long time, to make a difference in attracting audiences. Nevertheless, television networks, perhaps concerned with losing their mainstay audience, did not seem to notice that society and their audience had changed dramatically. Not only have they been ignoring their growing audiences at the expense of their dwindling past fans, but they had not noticed that new even what they call the "mainstream" had changed its taste in favor of what is "cool." And "Latino" has been increasingly "cool." Ugly Betty, a show that started in Spanish language TV in Spanish several years ago now it is shown in English by ABC to the delight of many diverse audiences. The universal value of a woman who appears to be ugly but that is "beautiful," is relevant to many, and interestingly, it has cultural nuances relevant to US Hispanics.

The new Hispanic audience for television is not focusing on the Spanish language exclusively. It is focusing on cultural relevance. "General" audiences enjoy seeing others who are "cool" that also reflect universal values. We shall not wait too long to see more of what the industry calls "cross-over" appeal.

The old shows targeted to Hispanics, largely from Latin America, had ignored the new identify of Hispanics in the US. New and successful entertainment needs to reflect the life of US Hispanics as it is here, not there. This is the new "New World."

Friday, December 1, 2006

Online course on Hispanic Marketing

I am pleased to announce the first course on Hispanic Marketing Communication online.

Beginning in January 2007, an online course in Hispanic Marketing Communication will be offered by the Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication. The center, headed by Dr. Felipe Korzenny, is pioneering education in Hispanic Marketing in the US.Dr. Korzenny states “we are proud to satisfy the demand of many marketers in US industry that have requested an online course in Hispanic Marketing Communication. This is the first online offering of its kind and will make the content of our on-campus courses available to anyone in the world with an interest in the subject.”The course is available to anyone interested and is particularly recommended for professionals currently addressing the Hispanic market, or those who would like to start a Hispanic marketing initiative. The online course is also available to Florida State University students not currently residing in the Tallahassee campus.

The course duration is of fifteen weeks (classes begin January 8 and end April 20) and includes topics such as language use, Hispanic cultural insights for marketing, and case studies relating to Hispanic marketing. The course will also address research and marketing strategies.
A certificate of completion will be issued to all who satisfactorily complete the course, and eligible students can receive three hours of undergraduate/continuing education credit.


For application information contact Ashley Smith at or by phone at 850-644-8004.
To see the course description visit our webpage

About the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication
The U.S. Hispanic marketing industry has experienced dynamic growth and a consequent need for trained professionals. Most advertising, public relations agencies, and marketing organizations encounter difficulties filling their Hispanic marketing positions. It is for these reasons that Dr. Felipe Korzenny founded the Center for the Study of Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University in 2004. Currently, the Center is the first of its kind in the U.S. Recognizing the immediate need for professionals trained in Hispanic Marketing Communication, the Center has developed the following main goals, which are to:
Train students to serve the Hispanic marketing industry,
Train professionals who currently serve the Hispanic public in the U.S.,
Conduct relevant research to further the understanding of the Hispanic market, and
Serve as a source of knowledge about the Hispanic Market for industry professionals.

Hewlett Packard trying harder to reach Hispanics

Great to know that Hewlett Packard is placing a stronger effort in reaching out to US Hispanics. They have a new Spanish language website, bilingual sales representatives, Spanish language sales materials, and is even placing Spanish speaking employees at certain retailers to explain products. Those are steps in the right direction, particularly because those less likely to have computers and Internet access are more likely to be Spanish dominant.

One approach that I have been a proponent of is to reach out to the Spanish speaking community instead of waiting for them to come to you. That is something HP is not yet doing, or anyone else that I am aware of. Those less likely to purchase computers are also less likely to go shopping for them because they do not understand the usefulness of these machines.

My proposal is to have "Tupperware" like parties but with computers instead of plastic containers in the homes of consumers. In this context, those consumers that are still reluctant to enter the computer and Internet era, can examine in a stress free environment the usefulness of the machines. They can connect to websites in their countries of origin, chat with relatives, and in general come to the realization that computers and the Internet are useful for them. I bet that many Spanish dominant Hispanics would purchase computers in this type of sales environment. To reach out to those who are hard to reach, one goes to them as opposed to waiting for them to come to us.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Immigration and Hispanic Consumer Behavior

Every 8 to 10 years the issues of undocumented immigration to the US resurfaces. Being it that most of the undocumented immigrants come from Latin America, and particularly Mexico, then the attention has been focused on them. There is no question that immigration policy is important and that it also important that businesses have the workforce they need. Also, it is important that those who want to work in the US can do it without risking their lives in a legal and orderly way. But this is not the core of this posting.

The focus is on the implications for consumer behavior that is affected by the immigration discourse and political ping-pong. Attention becomes focused on Latin American immigrants and even those who have all their documents in order or are US citizens many times become discriminated against because of suspicion and resentment. Those who have dark skin and who have accents become suspect. Common reactions to this marginalization is to stay home and to avoid much public attention. If this is the case, then online activities among Hispanic should be further enhanced by the privacy that online world offers.

Further, brands and marketers that elevate the self-esteem of Hispanics in the US are now in a perfect position to establish lasting relationships with them. Recognizing Hispanics for their important contributions to the economy, and also to the history of the US, are aspects that marketers can use to further their presence in Hispanic communities.

Marketing is about forging long lasting relationships. This is an important time for marketers to be proactive in elevating the self-esteem of Hispanic consumers and at the same time elevating the esteem of their brands.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Multicultural Marketing Equation

The Multicultural Marketing Equation -- -- a newly released study, documents how our diverse society is likely to evolve in terms of media and technology usage. The study substantiates the surprising fact that emerging minorities are leading the technology adoption curve. And not only are they the pacers of new technology adoption and use, but they are quite different in their values and attitudes.

This is a moment in History that appears to be defining a culturally diverse and different future. Marketers wishing to be at the forefront need to learn about how these emerging minorities are shaping the future of consumer thinking.