When defining the Internet as the technology of liberation for US Hispanic (as explained by Felipe Korzenny in his book Hispanic Marketing) , it is important to see that such an artifact has two sides for the same coin. Removing the boundaries and the mediators in the communication process can be very liberating in granting unlimited access to all kinds of goods and services. But this liberated status comes with a price
Marshall McLuhan, one of the greatest Media and Technology philosophers of our time, said in an interview that “all media, from the phonetic alphabet to the computer, are extensions of a man (…) such an extension is an intensification of an organ, sense or function and whenever it takes place, the central nervous system appears to institute a self-protective numbing of the affected area, insulating and anesthetizing it from conscious awareness of what’s happening to it.” (Norden, E. p. 124)
The Internet can be very liberating but it can also put the mind under a lot of stress. This amount of liberty can produce levels of anxiety when providing the user with so many options and that is the price we must pay for having that freedom to choose. Having such an access to so many options can be very liberating but it also takes some responsibility. The responsibility of actually choosing and being an active part of the whole process and the society.
Korzenny, Felipe and Korzenny, Betty. Hispanic Marketing: Connecting with the new latino consumer. Elsevier publisher. Oxford . 2012
Norden, Eric. When the medium became the message. Playboy magazine, October 2013
As marketers we face some challenges when communicating with Hispanics via the web. One of them is the language of choice. It is a fact that second and third generations of US Hispanics feel comfortable with English as the language in which they receive their media content. In some cases, those generations of Hispanics have become so proficient in English that they prefer it to Spanish as the language for entertainment and technology, specially those Millenials US Hispanics who have embraced English as their first choice for communicating with friends. We could easy conclude that English is the on-line language for US Hispanic, but this early assumption could be a mistake and some numbers can prove that Spanish could be very powerful when talking to Hispanics online. In a recent Media forum (1), Eduardo Sunol, Senior Executive Producer for Telemundo Networks, revealed some online statistics about their campaign for the coverage of the presidential election in 2012. Decision 2012, a fully Spanish coverage of recent US presidential election, ranked #5 as trending topic nationwide.
But communicating in Spanish is not the same as translating from English. A mere translation from English to Spanish won’t make any connection with US Hispanic, specially with those who prefer Spanish as their media content language. It is necessary to develop the content in the original language with the cultural insights that will guarantee the connection with US Hispanic. This is even more important if we are, as marketers, developing brand content and advertising.
There is not such a thing as a golden rule for choosing an online language for US Hispanic, but knowing the audience might help a lot. For instance, talking to a third generation Latino Millenial might be easier in English than Spanish, but if the target is the older Hispanic man or woman then the choice could be a different one. Internet comes in all the languages of the world but if we don’t use it the right way, it might end up as The Tower of Babel where nobody understood what the other was speaking.
(1) Miami Media Mixer Forum. October 25th, 2013. Intercontinental Miami Hotel.
This week (Octh, 28th) a new Cable Network was born. Fusion is the product of the joint venture between Univision and ABC.
As Gabrielle Zuckerman said in a recent Miami Media Mixer Forum, Fusion is News for the Latino Millennials. They will develop content for the Hispanic audience that enjoys receiving media in English. Second and third generations of US Hispanic have become consumers of English language media content, and that is the reason why Fusion will give those US Hispanic Millennials the content they want in the language they now understand.
But language won’t be the only different thing for these Hispanics. Content itself will also be adapted to suit their taste. Lots of humor and satire will shape the news content in this new network. From an only Hispanic hosted Morning Show to the awarded Mexican journalist Jorge Ramos, every single On-air talent will share something in common with the new audience: their Hispanic background.
Will they succeed? Only time will tell. They do have the elements in order to be appealing to the Hispanic Millennials: Language, humor, Hispanic background but talking to this audience is not an easy task. If they feel they are being stereotyped, they could reject the content and the network. It is mandatory for the network to keep a balance between what is new and trendy and what is traditional for this specific audience. It is also important to avoid any Mexican bias so present in other Hispanic TV Networks. It is true that they count for the big majority of the Hispanic population in the US, but the other non-Mexican part of the Hispanic audience might feel unrepresented.
Fusion could be the evolution of Hispanic Media. But this evolution has to be organic, otherwise it might end up as a cultural failure.