The Struggle Is Real: Part I

For Hispanic Heritage Month, Put Your Batteries In

By Karina Ross (September 15, 2017)

Central Florida ranks 2nd in the nation for population growth of Spanish speakers. As such, Hispanic Heritage Month is a great way for us to connect and celebrate the different cultures represented throughout Orlando.

But, who says the opportunity should be limited to a month? Forty percent of Central Florida’s population is of Hispanic ethnicity, and the community saw a 23% growth in Spanish speakers between 2010 and 2015.

Do you have a plan to target or engage this growing demographic? Here are a few tips to help you reach out to Spanish speaking audiences all year round.

Translation isn’t enough.

A popular phrase in Spanish is “ponte las pilas.” The literal translation to this is “put your batteries in.” But colloquially, it really means something more like “get ready to work hard” or “put some more effort in”. This is just one example of a time when running copy through Google Translate isn’t in your best interest.

The clever copy your writers took so long to come up with might lose its meaning when translated to Spanish. The same can be said with puns or jokes. It’s important to translate the overall message rather than doing it word-for-word. Once translated, if the message doesn’t resonate with a Hispanic audience, it is time to rework and rethink your approach for your audience.

Aside from the overall message, there are cultural differences among different communities. In Florida, we’d say “soda” instead of “pop”, or “sub” instead of “hero”. Similarly, different Spanish-speaking countries use different words.

To help recreate an appropriate campaign for Spanish speakers, try running it by other Spanish speakers in your office, or consulting with agencies that specialize in Hispanic marketing. Testing ads and messages will give you the chance to craft a cohesive campaign and get insight into a different market.

Now what?

You’ve got an awesome campaign, all in Spanish, with appropriate cultural references. Great! But, if a primarily Spanish speaker calls into your office, will there be someone on the line to speak with them? Often, companies create wonderful campaigns, but there’s a disconnect once the customer is ready for the next step. To lead a successful campaign, you’ve got to have more than a campaign – you have to have the follow-through. Continuous effort and commitment is needed when marketing to the Hispanic community.

With Florida being the 3rd most Hispanic-populated state, it’s easier than ever to embrace and celebrate Hispanic heritage. Chambers of Commerce, festivals and the growing diverse population in Orlando all offer us rich opportunities to expand how we think through advertising strategies.

Running an ad through Google translate may be a good start, but to reach a Hispanic audience, you have to be ready to “put your batteries in!”