Inclusivity has become more prominent in business and society during the last decade. As such, it’s clear brands should establish genuine connections with audiences based on members' beliefs. Easier said than done, of course.
For instance, let's look at the Hispanic community. Actually the phrase is a somewhat of a misnomer. The Hispanic community is huge and diverse, a melting pot of nationalities.
Each ethnic group demonstrates its unique flavor of history, tradition and culture as they differentiate themselves through dialect and perspective. Its members are tremendously proud of who they are and the power they bring to the table.
Despite that diversity, this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month theme is unity: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” And unity is an apt concept for us.
For example, Latino families preach community and togetherness (unidos in Spanish). That mentality should influence how brands tell us stories via marketing and communication channels.
Indeed, our communities need a strong commitment from PR and marketing. Bring curiosity, cultural intelligence and a spirit of collaboration as we navigate complexities together.
Certainly, brands have made progress in this effort. Yet hurdles remain.
What PR Misses
- (Lack of) Awareness – Awareness, or the lack of it, remains an issue. Communicators either do not properly research and understand or simply ignore trends and needs of Hispanics.
- Robotic Messaging – Communicators must avoid developing and executing messaging that falls flat with audiences. As with other communities, Latinos can easily spot messaging that's robotic or inauthentic. Instead, companies should do their homework and employ people who know Hispanic culture well.
- Lack of Media Diversification – Diversity in media is vastly improved, yet more is needed. Increasing representation in media will encourage people from various ethnicities, including Latinos, to get involved and have their stories and views heard.
How PR Can Help
Cultural Relevancy – Whether in internal or external communication, diverse voices ensure a better chance for cultural relevancy. Real change starts from within and top-down. It extends externally simultaneously.
Internally, cultural relevancy includes collaboration between senior leadership and HR on policies, ERG creation and recruitment and retention of Hispanic talent. PR plays a role in all these activities.
Externally, PR pros can bolster cultural relevance through campaigns featuring themes that connect Hispanics, such as family.
Accordingly, communicators should employ Hispanic influencers and content creators who can produce targeted messaging for mediums the community uses heavily. This can help build community with your organization and bring powerful voices to the limelight.
Brands must understand how their stories, mission and values align with our cultures.
Similarly, brands should implement outreach strategies that reflect the diversity and sentiment of Hispanics. Whether it is in an at-home or professional setting, Hispanics like a community feeling (again, unidos).
Fortunately, the Hispanic community and PR enjoy something in common. Each understands that diversity enriches, as people learn from one another.
Moreover, they know inclusivity paves the way for breaking barriers. It unites us as we influence and constantly tell stories connected to our roots. La inclusión es parte de nuestra identidad (Inclusivity is part of our identity).
Yesenia Reinoso is founder and principal of Y Communicate. Follow her at: @y_communicate