Analysis: Marketing in Spanish and/or English, the eternal question

An interesting discussion on whether Spanish and/ or English should be used to reach out to Hispanics is taking place on Portada’s Linked in Forum 

 The discussion was prompted by our article “Hispanic Marketing: Spanish and/or English? That is the Question”

(BTW there will be a panel devoted to the role of language in Hispanic Marketing at our upcoming Hispanic Advertising and Media Conference on Sept. 20th in New York City. We are looking forward to see how  panelists including Felix Palau, VP Marketing, Tecate, Marc Strachan, VP Brand Marketing, Diageo North America answer the question!)
First Comment:

Joe Ray, VP Multicultural Marketing, EB at EB Lane, Phoenix, AZ
“Excellent article! It's about content/culture, not just language. Plus, so much is going to vary depending upon where (geographically) ads/messaging are placed, as I can appreciate the mention of San Antonio, which will vary from larger metro markets like NY, Chicago, etc. This dialogue has the tendency to scare the status quo, while others embrace the opportunity and possibilities.” Comment by Joe Ray on 7/19/2012 1:14 PM

 Anita Grace, Hispanic Print and Online Specialist, President Anita Grace Adexecs, Minneapolis, MN
“Great article. I like to answer this topic by starting with my own question.
Does a brand want to speak to the heart or does a brand want to speak to the head? Think of it like this: English is my first language and Spanish is my second. When consuming media in personal time, my guard is down. This is when I'm most open to being influenced by advertising and brand messaging. I prefer English media since it is my comfort zone. Although I am fluent in Spanish, since it is not my first language, there's still a slight amount of translation work in my head, even if it's subconscious. Plus, the feeling conveyed by the brand messaging is sometimes lost in translation. It's the same thing, only the other way around for our readers. Spanish is their first language. English is their second. If a brand wants to speak to the heart and convey the feeling and emotion behind brand appropriately, Spanish language is a must. That being said. If a Spanish language version is not in the budget it's better to have an English advertisement in a Spanish vehicle than nothing at all. Just make sure text is minimal in the ads and pictures, brand names and prices are highly visible.”

 Andres Sandoval, Senior Account Manager Latam at Fox Networks, Miami, FL
I think it depends on what generation of Hispanics you are addressing. First generation, certainly Spanish, but from there on it gets tricky. There is also the consideration of the Socio-Economic level of the Hispanic user you are trying to reach, as that will define not only the language, but also the tone or wording in your message.”

Noemis “Mimi” Alvarez, Account Executive @Sinclair Broadcasting Group WTVX(The CW),WPEC(CBS12) LATV (La Teve) WTCN (My15) WWHB(Azteca America), West Palm Beach, Florida
“Great question. I think, regardless of which generation, dual cultures, dual languages , economics and where we live, most definitely creates a unique concept for each individual receiving a message. We are all living a unique experience. There is no rule which works for everyone. I am 1st  generation and have an equal appreciation of both English and Spanish ads. Honestly, I even enjoy ads that use the languages intertwined. I read them more carefully, feel it’s creative and bold. I’ve had many an occasion when I was speaking in Spanish and did not know the world I wanted to express in Spanish, however I knew the word in English and vice versa. I admit my brain is more English dominate. However if I’m in Spanish dominant setting, within minutes my brain shifts , my thoughts and language are all in Spanish. When switching vernacular, very rarely do I have to think about the words I will say, before I speak.  Currently living in South Florida, I speak with and find many Hispanics with a similar pattern. Even those which are Spanish dominate, suddenly use a English word and may even intertwine the whole sentence.”

Sebastian Aroca, Managing Partner at Hispanic Market Advisors, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL
“Although every case is different (that's why serious biz folks often pay Consultants), as a general rule we can say that to reach the entire spectrum of US Hispanics, it's best to use a combination of English and Spanish web properties. Besides, Hispanics toggle between English and Spanish web content, so easy access between them enhances user experience and the company's reputation.”

How do you see this? You can comment below or in our Linked Discussion Group.


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Editorial Staff (@portada_online)

Portada is the leading source of news and analysis on the Latin Marketing and Media space. Credibility is our biggest asset: The Portada team is very passionate about producing high-quality independent content that helps drive forward the Latin Marketing and Media space.
El equipo editorial de Portada se apasiona por elaborar contenidos de alta calidad. La credibilidad es nuestro mayor activo. La misión de Portada es ayudar a profesionales de negocios y medios a comprender y alcanzar a consumidores latinoamericanos, del mercado hispano de EE UU y España.

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