Hispanic Heritage Month may have come and gone, but the impact of what it means is far from over for some companies.
The celebration, which takes place Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year, began as a weeklong event that President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted into law in 1968. By 1988, a proposal to extend the celebration was approved and later signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, giving the Hispanic community the opportunity to recognize and commemorate its achievements in the U.S.
Several companies, including Verizon, T-Mobile and Deutsch, celebrated the month not only by hosting employee discussions about what it means to be part of the Hispanic community, but also centered marketing campaigns around it. And while the formal festivities are over, each of these brands is pushing onward for more diversity and inclusion for Latinx people.
When it comes to finding a way to discuss diversity during Hispanic Heritage Month, Nielsen played to its strength: using data.
The measurement company released a report that explores a Hispanic consumer’s purchasing habits and how their buying power is expected to rise to $1.7 trillion by 2023.
The report looked at Hispanic consumers in general, but also how they combine their digital and physical shopping experiences. Nielsen noted that 57% of Hispanic consumers enjoy walking through a store to look for new products. That’s 10% higher than the general population.
At a time when the U.S. Census predicts the Hispanic population will double to 109 million people by 2058, a spokesperson for Nielsen said, it’s important companies get an idea of how much of an impact such a large community can have as consumers.
“Understanding the community allows businesses to align their brands with evolving Latinx consumer values to achieve that authentic connection,” the spokesperson said. “Doing so can have a far-reaching impact on growth.”
When 72andSunny’s strategy director, Sidney Henne, and creative director, Geno Burmester, sat down to discuss plans for Hispanic Heritage Month, they couldn’t ignore the ongoing news about families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The team decided the best way to address that was to make a public statement. But instead of simply issuing a press release, they decided to make their words bigger. Literally.
Throughout the month, the window of 72andSunny’s Brooklyn office said, “Let Creatividad In,” on mylar blankets and the message was clear: Immigrants bring creativity into the U.S.
“Our installation is a reminder to our city and the country that the border isn’t just keeping out people—it is stifling this nation’s creative potential,” Henne said.
Burmester said it was important to draw attention to the family separation issue and what it means for immigrant families in the U.S. because “immigrants make this country more creative.”
“If we want to honor and celebrate all the culture this community has brought to our country, we should look at the refugees and migrants at the border through the same lens,” he said.
As 72andSunny looks toward the future of inclusion at the company, Henne said, Latinx members of the agency have offered to share their personal stories, and that has inspired talks of opening the floor to employees with diverse backgrounds and giving them a chance to share their experiences as well.
Between donating $10,000 to a Seattle-based museum celebrating Chicano and Latinx culture and hosting a panel featuring actress Dascha Polanco about immigration and the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation, T-Mobile had a busy Hispanic Heritage Month.
Javier Barrientos, the company’s director of diversity and inclusion engagement, was part of the panel with Polanco and the experience made him realize how T-Mobile—a company that claims to have 63% of its employees identify as a minority—needs to continue to uplift groups like the Latinx community.
“One key takeaway from this was a clear sense of how much responsibility we have as a major brand to host these types of conversations and build meaningful experiences for our communities to engage around issues and challenges that impact us all,” he said.
Verizon was also busy this Hispanic Heritage Month with a range of events that included hosting a webcast discussing the influence the Hispanic community has had on the company and using social media to launch a campaign that shared personal stories and experiences.
The company’s Employee Resource Groups, which hosts networking events across the country to help empower the Latinx community, took things a step further from the monthly celebration to launch a partnership with Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievements, a nonprofit, to give Latinx students a chance to learn from Verizon employees and executives.
“These partnerships and programs is about volunteers sharing their stories and inspiring young Latinos to excel in school and pursue higher education to achieve their dreams,” a spokesperson for Verizon said.