The Latino/Hispanic population has been one of the fastest-growing communities in the United States since the late ‘90s. Organizations should be actively exploring new ways of adapting to this cultural and communication shift. The perfect first step for organizations is to learn Spanish and understand how best to communicate with the Latino audience.
The U.S. Latino population recently hit a record number of 55 million people, making the U.S. the second largest Spanish-language market in the world behind Mexico. In places like California, Latinos no longer represent a minority. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in July 2014 the 14.99 million Latinos living in California outnumbered the 14.92 million whites in the state.
It is true not all U.S.-based Latinos speak Spanish, but the vast majority do. Only a quarter of Latinos use English as their go-to language, and out of this group, about 60 percent also speak Spanish.
Diversity in culture and language is a concept young scholars and professionals have been pushing for during the last decade. Businesses should be constantly monitoring their environment, and implementing strategies and tactics that reflect their customer’s needs.
Several media-oriented organizations that know the importance of embracing the voice of the market are already making the necessary changes to stay ahead of the curve, and as a young public relations practitioner who has always had an interest in bilingual media relations, this really excites me.
This is a special time for the public relations industry. We have seen how it has become more and more specialized through the years through market segmentation, and agencies have started to transition into the multicultural sector as a reflection of this.
Being from San Diego – one of the regions with the strongest binational identity – I am delighted to not just witness, but also experience how the most innovative local organizations have begun to adapt to this trend.
Some examples include:
- San Diego State University’s Journalism and Media Studies Department: The groundbreaking creation of several Writing for Spanish-language and Latino media courses
- Public Relations Society of America San Diego Chapter’s Diversity Mixer: Highlights and promotes cross-border collaboration
- Nuffer, Smith, Tucker: Implementation of a Binational Relations practice area and Spanish-language outreach strategies
A large percent of Spanish-speaking media consumers prefers to receive and digest information in Spanish, so why aren’t you providing them with content in their language of choice? Only those organizations that take the time to scan their environment and explore new ways of adapting stay alive and thrive.