CONTENT MARKETING: Spanish Language: What opportunities does it afford?

In this new installment in our series on CONTENT MARKETING, presented by Skyword, we asked what opportunities and advantages does the Spanish language afford when it comes to crafting business communication strategies for content targeted to the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America. What keywords should be used? What key points should we keep in mind?

Translated by Candice Carmel

Creative Commons. Cesar Potayo.

While Latin American countries shares similar cultural traits, we must take into account the specificities of each country when crafting a communications strategy.

The phrase that best summarizes the characterization of the region, while seemingly contradictory at first, would be: "We are very similar, yet very different" said Leonardo Loisa, former Regional Marketing Director for AMD Latinoamérica, in an interview with Portada.

This same phrase also applies if we think about the relationship between Latin Americans and U.S. Hispanics. Many U.S. Hispanics are immigrants from Latin America, but we still cannot say that there is a complete transfer of their culture of origin. Rather, it is a particular acculturation where original cultural traits are maintained, while adding specific traits from each person’s location. In turn, this new cultural mix is what produces both similarities and differences with Latino culture.

So then, what are these similar cultural traits that are shared by both the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets?

Basically, it’s their shared language.

Spanish is the language used in most all of Latin America and this gives us an advantage when thinking of pan-regional audiences that include the U.S. Hispanic market.

The key point to keep in mind is that a pan-regional, Spanish-speaking audience will certainly understand the content of the campaign, but the language used has to be neutral enough to not supplant the idioms, peculiarities, and deviations of the basic Spanish language (if this even exists); or, the campaign must be sufficiently adaptable, mobile, and dynamic to adapt to the local lexicon.

In other words, we should not use keywords that are both general and local simultaneously.

If we use regional keywords, we should avoid idioms such as chamba (Mexico), pega (Chile), laburo (Argentina), etc. Instead, we should use the most neutral terms possible that are actually used in the same way throughout the region. In this example, the best regional term for work would be "trabajo."

However, if we are doing a regional campaign that is being adapted to each local market, then each adaptation should follow the local lexicons in its use of keywords.

Adriana Noreña, Managing Director - Spanish Speaking Latin America at Google, told Portada that the key is to either create a strategy that considers the use of local variations or make adjustments to the campaign to ensure good localization.

"For example, in the case of an airline campaign, in Argentina we mostly use the term "pasajes" [for airline tickets], while in Mexico we say "boletos," and in Colombia we’d use "tiquetes," she said.

It is very important that a pan-regional campaign cover all variations.

Regarding how to set keywords and adapt pan-regional content to each market, Noreña told Portada that it is important to consider how users perform searches in different markets. "To confirm the different ways that users do searches, it is advisable to use Google online tools, especially Google Trends."

"Beyond the contrasts of spoken Spanish in different parts of Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, it is relatively easy to scale online advertising efforts for all of these markets," summed up Noreña. It is critical that the online advertising keywords used are replicated in the keywords used by company website editors in their articles (content marketing).

According to Gaston Mancuso, of Mindshare, the design of a communications strategy for regional content "must strike an optimum balance between channeling marketing and business objectives, and being able to adapt to the dynamics and consumer reality of each market. It cannot encompass what is happening across the whole region, nor can it be designed with only two or three major countries in mind."

Mancuso cited two case studies done by his agency, the "You can still dunk in the dark" Oreo campaign, and Kimberly Clark’s Kleenek campaign as successful examples that achieved a balance between marketing goals and local dynamics (although they were not for the Latin American region).

Think global communities

Thinking about content for the Spanish-speaking world thus implies the need to dive into the specifics of each market. But the Spanish-speaking world is not isolated from global trends.

When thinking about building audience and the Spanish-speaking audience as a whole, we must also consider the global transformations that our communication channels are undergoing, and to which we adapt as a community, especially as a result of the influence of digital media.

"We can no longer think in terms of localized communities or minorities, but of people who belong to a multitude of connected communities that share a taste or preference for certain content," concluded Santiago Durán, of Havas Media.

This series of articles about "Content Marketing" is brought to you by Skyword. Skyword provides a wide range of services so that companies may connect with their audiences and generate a higher degree of engagement via top-quality contents for online search and social networking, currently the two main sources for content consumption.

Other articles of the CONTENT MARKETING SERIES:

CONTENT MARKETING: What do we mean when we talk about "content marketing"?

CONTENT MARKETING: Flying Through the Fog: A Marketer’s Guide to Navigating Search After Google Keywords Were Encrypted

CONTENT MARKETING: What we can learn from Iron Mountain, IBM and Autotrader

CONTENT MARKETING: Should Media Firms become Content Marketing Agencies?

CONTENT MARKETING: Spanish Language: What opportunities does it afford?

CONTENT MARKETING: How P&G, Clorox and Tampico engage Hispanic audiences

CONTENT MARKETING: How Pepsi's "Cultural Fluency" concept translates into Content Marketing executions


Carolina Re (@CaroVsCaro)

Senior Researcher/Writer, @CarovsCaro Carolina has a degree in Communications from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and joined the Portada team in 2010. She is currently Editor of Portada’s Spanish-language website and print magazine. in addition, she oversees Portada’s English-language website about Latin America and also has a leading role in compiling Portada Databases. In other words, she is very busy. But she loves it! Carolina has published articles in various independent media, as well as in books and social science magazines in Argentina. Carolina enjoys reading all kind of books and watching independent movies.

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