We recently wrapped National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) celebrations, but it doesn’t mean your media outreach efforts must stop right there. For Latinos, Hispanic Heritage is all year round, so let’s make sure you’re not missing out.  

If you’re currently planning your campaign for the holidays or thinking about your brand’s multicultural focus for 2021, follow these shifting demographics among U.S. Hispanics:

From a public relations perspective, your client or company may be overlooking a big opportunity by not reaching Spanish media outlets. But, before you start pitching away, it’s important to consider how cultural awareness, cultivating real relationships, and the role of the language are all crucial for an effective communications strategy.

Below are three tips on how to effectively reach this growing market.

1. Thinking of Translating? Think of Transcreation Instead.

Did you know Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S.? What’s even more interesting is that it is influenced by more than 20 countries with different variations and dialects. Therefore, when it comes to translations, Google Translate or Alexa won’t be enough.

A literal translation will only lead to poor syntax, missing special characters, and even unintended double meanings. You can have the best intentions, but one mistake can be accidentally insulting to someone who speaks the language fluently. That can cost you a lot of money and damage your brand’s reputation.

Translations aren't one-size-fits-all. A few years ago, the American Dairy Association replicated its "Got Milk?" campaign in Spanish-speaking countries, but translated the popular tagline into "Are You Lactating?" Food is the common language connecting all Hispanic cultures, but how it’s interpreted depends on your translation. For example, "cake" in Mexico is called "pastel," but in countries like Costa Rica it is known as "queque," and in Puerto Rico they say "bizcocho."

So, what is transcreation? It is the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context.

Stephanie de Jesus, Senior Creative at Dept Agency, shares a broader explanation on how transcreation will produce far better results. “When it comes to modifying a campaign, it’s important to consider a neutral language that applies to everyone or caters to each market accordingly so that it’s relatable to their slang.” She also added that it’s imperative to “verify that your sentences not only make sense grammatically but that they are also 100% relatable and truly speak to the Hispanic audiences and families.”

2. Build Bridges with the Hispanic Community.

In addition to pitching well-written Spanish stories, connecting with Hispanic media rests heavily on nurturing and maintaining personal relationships. When you pitch in Spanish, you must learn how to navigate the language’s distinctions of formality and politeness. Many believe that Spanish-speaking skills are just enough – but they are not.

As with most successful outreach efforts, consider the three R's when you pitch: Relevance, Reliability and Respect.

One example is the usage of “you” as a second-person pronoun. In Spanish, the singular second-person subject pronouns are “tú” (informal “you,” one person) and “usted” (formal “you,” one person). Think about the impression you want to make. For instance, if you’re pitching in Spanish via email, you must always open with a greeting, introduce yourself, and explain your reason for writing (especially when asking questions or requests). Also, don’t be shy – the more information you provide (press releases, infographics, photos), the better. These simple gestures help you respectfully show the relevance of your pitch.

If possible, you can mention previous work for credibility and even offer to hop on a call. End your email by thanking them for their consideration, and don’t forget to include your signature with a phone number in case they want to give you a call. This is your chance for solidifying your relationship with them – this extra time will go far to highlight your reliability, and you may see your content in their publication.

3. Authenticity Matters More than You Think. 

The U.S. Hispanic population is composed of multiple cultural identities. For this reason, many may think that reaching out to them will always be highly challenging because each brings a complexity based on centuries of values, traditions, and customs. Nevertheless, that same diversity is what makes them unique. As a result, communicators must develop content embracing Hispanics’ authentic cultural insight.

For example, in Tide’s 2016 campaign #WashAwayLabels, Hispanic consumers hold up shirts printed with negative stereotypes. The “cleansing power of Tide” then washes away the slurs. Viewers responded positively to the campaign on social media, and it was successful because Tide took a stand on a relevant social issue. It’s also important to note that Tide didn’t change their current messaging about its cleaning detergent, they modified it accordingly to fit their diverse audiences.

Campaign ideas, no matter how good or big they are, can be modified to fit into other social groups. Your brand must truly comprehend their culture and the way its people communicate. You can do this through proper research and by having a team composed of local people or with previous experience targeting your new audience inside and out. This will help your campaign avoid falling into cultural stereotyping and ensure that they will interpret your message in a way that resonates with them,” said Sofia Ramon, copywriter, DDB Latina.

The more authentic your brand is, the more Hispanics are inclined to trust your brand. They will tell their families and friends about it, or share it on social media, or even follow your Twitter or Instagram accounts. An already established Hispanic brand loyalty can help you bond with the media in the future.

Whether you’re just starting to engage with the Hispanic market or think your media efforts should be more localized, this is the moment to expand your horizons. You can partner up with a Hispanic-owned agency tailored to niche Spanish markets or hire diversely within your in-house communications team.

Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us that now, more than ever, we’re seeing boundaries disappearing while cultural and language diversity remain strong. The influence of Hispanic cultures in the U.S. is undeniable, which means that you must have the ways and means to connect with one of the largest growing populations in the world, and you must do it effectively.

Business Wire provides the capability to target the U.S. Hispanic markets through our LatinoWire distribution, issuing your news releases in Spanish and English to leading news organizations.

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