5 Ways to Connect with the Hispanic and Latino Community Year-Round

As the largest eth­nic group in the Unit­ed States, His­pan­ics and Lati­nos con­tribute sig­nif­i­cant­ly to the coun­try’s cul­ture, pol­i­tics, and econ­o­my. While this may not be news to some, brands still strug­gle find­ing ways to con­nect with our His­pan­ic and Lati­no com­mu­ni­ty. Our vibrant and diverse com­mu­ni­ty is a grow­ing con­sumer seg­ment with a pur­chas­ing pow­er of over $2.8 tril­lion and is dri­ving growth in many indus­tries, includ­ing enter­tain­ment, food and bev­er­age, and fashion.

While His­pan­ic Her­itage Month (Sep­tem­ber 15th to Octo­ber 15th) acknowl­edges the cul­ture, tra­di­tions, and con­tri­bu­tions of His­pan­ics and Lati­nos, engag­ing with our com­mu­ni­ty shouldn’t stop there.

Colorful graphic that says - How to connect with the Hispanic and Latino Community Year-Round

So, how can your brand con­nect with the His­pan­ic and Lati­no com­mu­ni­ty beyond His­pan­ic Her­itage Month? We’ve got you covered!

5 Ways to Connect with the Hispanic and latino community year-round

Navigating the Diversity of our Hispanic and Latino Community

Remem­ber, His­pan­ic and Lati­no iden­ti­ties are com­plex and mul­ti­fac­eted. Peo­ple from our com­mu­ni­ty come from var­i­ous coun­tries, regions, and socio-eco­nom­ic back­grounds. They cel­e­brate dif­fer­ent tra­di­tions, reli­gions, and cul­tur­al prac­tices. Under­stand­ing this diver­si­ty will keep you from stereo­typ­ing or lump­ing the com­mu­ni­ty into a mono­lith­ic group. Con­duct research, engage with local com­mu­ni­ties, and hire diverse tal­ent to ensure your brand’s inclusive.

1. Understand Our Unique Language 

Span­ish is the sec­ond-most spo­ken lan­guage in the world and the most com­mon lan­guage spo­ken by His­pan­ics and Lati­nos in the Unit­ed States. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing in Span­ish can build trust, make your brand more acces­si­ble, and cre­ate emo­tion­al con­nec­tions. How­ev­er, not all Lati­nos and His­pan­ics speak Span­ish. Some speak very lit­tle, and oth­ers embrace Spang­lish. While lan­guage may be a part of some of our her­itage, it does­n’t make any­one more or less His­pan­ic or Lati­no if they speak the language.

5 Ways to Connect with the Hispanic and Latino Community Year Round - Image of a straw with the words "What's a straw in Spanish?" and all the ways to saw straw in spanish

Addi­tion­al­ly, you can’t rely on machine trans­la­tions to cre­ate con­tent in Span­ish. Our lan­guage is vast and diverse. Not every word will mean the same across our coun­tries. For exam­ple, we have at least 11 ways to say straw in Span­ish. If you would like to include Span­ish in your con­tent, we rec­om­mend hir­ing pro­fes­sion­al trans­la­tors. They can help you check for cul­tur­al nuances and use broad lan­guage to be inclu­sive to all of our com­mu­ni­ties. Above all, get to know your audi­ence and focus on cre­at­ing con­tent that res­onates with them. 

2. Avoid Using Cultural Celebrations to Represent our Entire Community 

His­pan­ics and Lati­nos cel­e­brate var­i­ous reli­gious and cul­tur­al hol­i­days and events year­ly. For exam­ple, Dia de Muer­tos is cel­e­brat­ed across the Amer­i­c­as, with its pri­ma­ry root com­ing from Mex­i­co. This Hol­i­day brings us intri­cate calav­eras dec­o­ra­tions (sug­ar skulls), cem­pa­suchil (Aztec marigold flow­ers) that are meant to guide the spir­its of our loved ones to the altars, papel pic­a­do (intri­cate cut paper) to dec­o­rate the streets and altars for the vis­it of our loved ones, can­dles to light the way, along with oth­er per­son­al items that con­nect to our what our loved ones cher­ished dur­ing life.

This sacred tra­di­tion is typ­i­cal­ly cel­e­brat­ed between Novem­ber 1 and 2, not all year. Cre­at­ing brand­ed con­tent or mar­ket­ing cam­paigns that are used year-round but pull visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tions from this hol­i­day will fall flat. Plus, it does­n’t include our diverse His­pan­ic or Lati­no population.

Instead, look at the flo­ra and fau­na from our coun­tries as inspi­ra­tion. Explore our inter­sec­tion of tex­tiles, shapes, and col­ors that can unite our com­mu­ni­ties with­out exclud­ing others. 

Offeraki Branding by Nicte Creative Design

The brand­ing project we did for Offer­a­ki is a great exam­ple of this! Oker­a­ki is mobile cul­tur­al mer­ca­do ded­i­cat­ed to Lati­no and His­pan­ic users in the U.S. Our goal was to design a brand strat­e­gy that empha­sized our vibran­cy and cul­tur­al needs. Every ele­ment of the Offer­a­ki brand­ing is intentional—even the inter­ac­tion design among buyers/sellers with­in the app! 

Offeraki Branding by Nicte Creative Design

3. Prioritize Diversity and Inclusion in Your Branding Efforts 

Diver­si­ty and inclu­sion have become a buzz­word for some, but it’s cru­cial to mak­ing our com­mu­ni­ty feel seen and rep­re­sent­ed. When con­sumers feel that they are well rep­re­sent­ed, their loy­al­ty to the brand increas­es, which nat­u­ral­ly will increase sales. His­pan­ics and Lati­nos con­tribute to $2.8 tril­lion in the GDP, if we were a stand-alone nation, we would be the 5th in the world.

These sta­tis­tics mean that incor­po­rat­ing His­pan­ic and Lati­no rep­re­sen­ta­tion in your mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, hir­ing prac­tices, and cor­po­rate social respon­si­bil­i­ty ini­tia­tives is more impor­tant than ever. 

Our com­mu­ni­ty is a mix of Afro-Lati­nos, Indige­nous, Asian-Lati­nos, Caribeans, and Eur­poeans. We nev­er look the same because we are so diverse, and we high­ly rec­om­mend remov­ing “you don’t look His­pan­ic or Lati­no from your lan­guage.” Mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion not only fuels bias across cul­tures, it cre­ates divi­sion with­in our com­mu­ni­ties that all have beau­ti­ful tra­di­tions and her­itage to share.

4. Provide Relevant Products and Services 

Under­stand­ing the needs and pref­er­ences of our His­pan­ic and Lati­no com­mu­ni­ties is essen­tial in pro­vid­ing rel­e­vant prod­ucts and ser­vices. Cur­rent­ly, Gen Z’s largest demo­graph­ic is His­pan­ic and Lati­no. Invest­ing in our com­mu­ni­ty should start now because we will con­tin­ue to grow. 

With this in mind, brands need to be more inten­tion­al about how they are reach­ing this mar­ket. Forc­ing a con­nec­tion can cre­ate a back­lash. For exam­ple, the NFL launched a cam­paign to con­nect to the His­pan­ic and Lati­no influ­ence. In their cam­paign, they added the ~ sym­bol over the N to make the ñfl.  They mis­tak­en­ly called this sym­bol a tilde instead of call­ing it vir­gulil­la. And whats even worse, tried to use it in a way that does­n’t make sense in our lan­guage. It may have seemed like a clever mar­ket­ing approach, but the mean­ing did­n’t res­onate with our com­mu­ni­ty. This is why look­ing at every ele­ment of your brand com­mu­ni­ca­tion is cru­cial when try­ing to reach the Lati­no and His­pan­ic market.

Appro­pri­a­tion is anoth­er issue to be aware of when mar­ket­ing to our com­mu­ni­ty. Brands like Taco Bell (con­sid­ered Tex-Mex) dis­man­tle tra­di­tion­al Mex­i­can food and attempt to re-name them some­thing more appeal­ing to non-His­pan­ics or Lati­nos. For instance, the term “Mex­i­can Piz­za” is not a type of food in Mex­i­can cui­sine. And a “Mex­i­can Rolled Chick­en Tacos” is actu­al­ly called Flau­tas. This approach caus­es divi­sion with­in our com­mu­ni­ties and tells con­sumers that the cul­ture and tra­di­tions of oth­er com­mu­ni­ties are less appealing. 

Imagine if these brands had taken a different approach. 

What if the NFL had con­nect­ed with some of their Lati­no and His­pan­ic play­ers and used it as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share about their back­grounds? And while the own­er of Taco Bell isn’t His­pan­ic or Lati­no, they could high­light how Mex­i­can cui­sine inspired the root of their prod­ucts. Or they could speak about how they want­ed to cre­ate a fusion or non-tra­di­tion­al approach while still hon­or­ing the tra­di­tion­al foods that inspired their products. 

5. Partner with Experts and Community Leaders 

Experts, cul­tur­al orga­ni­za­tions, and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers are crit­i­cal voic­es in the His­pan­ic and Lati­no com­mu­ni­ties and are incred­i­bly valu­able resources for your brand. These lead­ers and orga­ni­za­tions have a strong pres­ence on social media and at local events and show a pos­i­tive approach to tack­ling some of our strug­gles as a com­mu­ni­ty. They serve as a voice of empow­er­ment that high­lights our contributions. 

When seek­ing a part­ner, it’s cru­cial to con­nect with those who don’t cre­ate divides. Look at what lan­guage they use for inclu­sion. As a mul­ti­cul­tur­al com­pa­ny, this is a fun­da­men­tal approach for us! Inclu­sion with­in our com­mu­ni­ty should­n’t mean exclu­sion of oth­ers. For exam­ple, part­ner­ing with some­one who’s say­ing “We’re not Mex­i­cans, stop con­fus­ing us with Mex­i­cans.” could cre­ate poten­tial pit­falls and sep­a­ra­tion in our com­mu­ni­ty. If we want to cre­ate inclu­sive envi­ron­ments, a bet­ter approach might be, “We all come from dif­fer­ent cul­tur­al back­grounds and coun­tries with rich tra­di­tions, but gen­er­al­iz­ing who we are los­es out on the rich and beau­ti­ful diver­si­ty we offer.”

5 Ways to Connect with the Hispanic and Latino Community Year Round - Colorful image with the quote "We all come from different cultural backgrounds and countries with rich traditions, but generalizing who we are loses out on the rich and beautiful diversity we offer."

If your brand wants to expand into our mar­ket, col­lab­o­rat­ing with experts, cul­tur­al orga­ni­za­tions, and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, can ampli­fy your brand’s mes­sage, reach new audi­ences, and build trust. How­ev­er, it’s impor­tant to do ample research, find some­one who can align with your brand’s val­ues, and cre­ate a nat­ur­al con­nec­tion to our com­mu­ni­ty. Oth­er­wise, it will come off feel­ing disingenuous. 

As you can see, con­nect­ing with the His­pan­ic and Lati­no com­mu­ni­ty beyond His­pan­ic Her­itage Month requires under­stand­ing, respect, and authen­tic­i­ty. When you invest the time and ener­gy, your brand can build rela­tion­ships and trust with this sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing con­sumer seg­ment. In today’s busi­ness land­scape, brands that invest in diver­si­ty and inclu­sion will thrive, and the His­pan­ic and Lati­no com­mu­ni­ty is an excel­lent place to start.

About the Author

Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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