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Let’s talk about roots. Truth is, we all have them whether we care to think of them or not. For some, our identity is rooted in those roots, and for others, it’s something far less important—akin to a piece of trivia about themselves, a miscellaneous biographical detail. And for others still, it’s something in between.
Cultural backgrounds matter … a lot
Pew released a report in May 2021 attempting to better understand the emphasis we, as Americans, place on our cultural backgrounds. They found that for the most part, we’re aware of our cultural identities, with 6-out-of-10 Americans saying they’re “very familiar” with their origins. Roughly a third (36%) went as far as to say that their origins were central to their identity.
But when you go deeper into the data and look at Americans of Hispanic origins, things get more interesting. Three-fourths (77%) of surveyed Hispanic adults in the U.S. stated strong familiarity with their origins and 71% stated that they felt a “strong connection” to their roots—nearly double that of white adults surveyed.
The data comes as no shock to those of us who are either part of, or at the very least familiar with the Latinx communities here in the U.S., because where we come from matters to us—our grandparents, our parents and the countries they or we originally hailed from. Our roots cross every element of our lives, from our tastes in food and music, to the sports we love, the hobbies we enjoy and the holidays we celebrate with loved ones. It’s a core part of our identity, a sentiment I’ve long known but Pew has given us the data to back it up.
Which is to say now we’ve got proof—culture really matters to Hispanic and Latinx Americans, myself included in that group. Great intel, of course. But what to do with it? How can marketers put this fresh knowledge into practice, especially when it comes to creating savvy, forward-thinking holiday campaigns targeting the Hispanic community?
More than $1.5T on the line
First off, acknowledge this demographic as the powerhouse it is. According to the results of the latest 2020 U.S. Census, the U.S. Hispanic population clocked in at 62.1 million, a 23% growth from 2010. This demographic which has long been referred to as a minority, will someday soonish become a majority. In fact, the Selig Center for Economic Growth calculated that the U.S. Hispanic purchasing power sat at $1.5T in 2019 and it’s only grown since. Any effort to create marketing that is reflective of this growth should be welcomed and supported—even championed.
Secondly, with more people getting vaccinated daily, many households will be celebrating the holidays “semi-normally” this year—which is important to note, given that this is a time of year when roots and cultural pride simply matter more. Recall that Latinx are deeply attached to familiar rituals and will do anything Covid-safe to continue their traditions with their loved ones, meaning they will place greater importance upon their customs and celebrations this holiday season, celebrating both big and small things.
The key holiday campaign ingredients for Hispanics
Either using Spanish or being bilingual in your holiday marketing will be key, as it relates to cultural pride. Latinx usually use Spanish words when describing their customs, celebrations and traditions during the holidays, even if they don’t speak Spanish—something a savvy marketer will make sure they mirror back.
Furthermore, Latinx have never been more digitally active than they are now, having greatly relied on social media to stay connected with loved ones during the pandemic. Considering how active the Latinx community is on social media, cultural pride during the holidays can have measurable benefits for advertisers—presenting an opportunity to amplify that cultural love and pride, by celebrating traditions that are both old and new, and drive social media engagement and reach at the same time.
Lastly, show that you’re actually aware of just how important culture is to this demographic, by intentionally weaving cultural elements into your marketing strategies, not as afterthoughts. Biculturalism is key to self-identity; recognize that we often define ourselves first in terms of our country of origin, which means marketers must be aware of the cultural nuances which exist within this community if they really want to connect with us.
Include people from different countries of origin and backgrounds in decision-making rooms to ensure you’re grasping these nuances in full and creating culturally relevant marketing which (it deserves mentioning) can actually generate sales. In 2019, the ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing surveyed 10,000 people and found that consumers who feel that an ad is “culturally relevant” are 2.6 times more likely to find the brand relevant to them.
As a Latina and a marketer who has specialized in the U.S. Latinx market for the past 20 years, I’m happy to see that the Latinx community hasn’t sacrificed their ancestral culture in pursuit of mainstream identity. I’m proud that we collectively understand the value of being connected to our roots not only because it gives us a better idea of who we are, but more importantly, it gives us an opportunity to be thankful for all that we have today.