From Awareness to Action, How Claudia Romo Edelman Is Helping to Change Hispanic Perceptions

As a seasoned purpose-driven marketer, Claudia Romo Edelman’s We Are All Human Foundation spent months pulling together the ambitious Hispanic Star campaign, celebrating the power of the U.S. Latino community and featuring a 1945 Spanish-language version of the Star-Spangled Banner that would debut on March 26 at Chicago’s White Sox Stadium in Chicago. But Covid-19 called for a change in plans. Hear how Edelman’s life and work experience, and the influential people in her life, prepared her to quickly pivot and address the pandemic’s economic impact in the Hispanic community.

Tell us what you’ve been up to.

Earlier this year, we were getting ready to launch the biggest campaign I’ve ever done—using all the tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout decades of doing campaigns, and with the collective power of great minds from all walks of life. The Hispanic Star campaign was conceived to change the narrative of Hispanics, moving us from invisible to visible, from negative to positive, and from takers to makers.

We were planning a huge event to launch the Hispanic Star at the White Sox Stadium in Chicago at the opening game of the MLB season in partnership with the mayor of Chicago. But three weeks prior to the launch, Covid-19 exploded, and like everything else, the game was canceled. And so too was the launch of the campaign we had planned for more than eight months.

How did you pivot from that?

We decided within three days to repurpose all our assets, platforms and networks and redirect from perception change to helping those most affected by Covid-19. Data showed clearly that the Hispanic community is being disproportionately affected by this health crisis, particularly small businesses, entrepreneurs and independent workers. We knew we needed to act and have the Hispanic Star in Action.

On March 26, the same day we were supposed to launch at the White Sox stadium, we unveiled to the world the Hispanic Response and Recovery Plan as a framework to mitigate the negative economic impact of COVID in the Hispanic community. And instead of a live event, we released a recorded version of the official Spanish language version of the U.S. national anthem, as commissioned by President Roosevelt in 1945, as a tribute to Hispanics in the frontline.

On ‘5 de Mayo,’ as part of the largest livestream concert of Latino artists to support Hispanic farmers called Altisimo, the Hispanic Star will have the opening act with the performance of the national anthem in Spanish. Procter and Gamble, Circulo Creativo, CMC and We Are All Human are launching a national campaign through a beautiful spot created 100% by Hispanics that have joined forces to highlight the contributions of Hispanics to this country today and always.

How did you get to where you are today? 

Five years ago, I moved to America [from Switzerland] and, for the first time in my life, I realized that I was a Hispanic and that this community suffers from what I call a ‘reverse marketing’ problem: hiding the best attributes of the Hispanic community and presenting us as someone we are not. Hispanics are powerful but are portrayed as weak, we are huge but think small. Let us get on the same page. Look at these numbers: Hispanics make up more than 18% of the U.S. population and have an annual consumer purchasing power of $1.7 trillion. … However, we’re underrepresented, misrepresented and undervalued.

For the first time in my life, the packaging, so to speak, is far worse than the product. And not only is the packaging affecting the way of Hispanics are seen in the country but it is also negatively impacting the confidence and growth of Hispanics themselves.

@lgranatstein Lisa Granatstein is the editor, svp, programming at Adweek.