The other day, I received a curious e-mail from a colleague. He was kind of uncomfortable because I had added him to my Hispanic Marketers list in Twitter. He thought that being "tagged" as a Hispanic market professional could limit his future opportunities. My first reaction was total surprise. I normally tend to organize my social media contacts with tags, lists, groups, etc. using my personal criteria, and never had a problem with that.
I understood his concern: a single tag could be misleading, showing a part and not the whole.
But I couldn't also help but wonder, why are we proud of our Latino origin but hate when we are labeled by others?
Latinos vs. Hispanic – the Origin of a Tag
Hispanic is a term selected by the government to group and track the needs of Spanish-speaking people in the country. Latino is seen as a term that originated within the community, more progressive than the other term, which is more formal and imposing. Today both terms are used interchangeably.
The origin of the Hispanic term had a huge impact, not only starting what is now called Hispanic marketing, but also creating another term (label) for the American Whites, now renamed as non-Hispanic Whites.
Tags Hide More Than They Reveal
As with my colleague, labels create different reactions when used in isolation.
Latino has a positive connotation when linked to culture (MTV Latino, Latin Grammys, etc.) as it's associated to a lifestyle, music, and aesthetic that are not only more appealing but also affect the mainstream.
The same word, used in a socio-political context, can be a synonym of "social handicap," implying lower income, school dropouts, and many other characteristics that - though present among some Hispanic groups - don't represent the whole of this segment nor its essence.
The Paradox Between Being Latino and Being Tagged as Latino
"Are Hispanics more loyal?" "What's Hispanic in this new campaign?" "Are Latinos connected to their culture or are they becoming more assimilated?"
I always hear these kinds of questions from clients who are trying to find a black and white approach to understanding Latino consumers.
The reality is that the Hispanic segment is full of logical contradictions, and understanding those paradoxes can lead to leverageble, useful insights (I will cover that in future posts).
Let's take a couple of examples:
We Must Move Beyond Labels
Here are some useful tips:
Back to my colleague, there's something I forgot to mention. As I said before, I normally use more than one tag or list for the same person, and that was the case with my friend too. But in his e-mail, he didn't complain about being part of my other groups…
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Gustavo Razzetti is EVP, Managing Director of Lapiz, the Latino shop of Leo Burnett. He has 20+ years of experience in integrated marketing communications in U.S. and Latin American markets.
A change agent, with the expertise of transforming agencies into digital at the core shops, Razzetti has become one of the leading voices when it comes to understanding the new market dynamics of US Latinos.
Former Chief Strategy & Engagement Officer at Grupo Gallegos, president of GlobalHue NY and CEO of Euro RSCG Latino. Razzetti's career is marked by extensive experience working with top consumer brands such as Comcast, Walgreens, Verizon, NestlÃ©, Chivas Regal, General Motors, Coca-Cola, and BBVA, and 200 others. He also served as CEO of Euro RSCG both in Puerto Rico and in Argentina. Prior to that, Gustavo was CEO and founding partner of WhyNet - the no. 1 interactive agency in Argentina.
Strategist by conviction, digital pioneer by choice, leader by evolution; Razzetti has received recognitions that include Effie awards, Gran Prix AMBA, Euro RSCG's CBI Award, and Strategic Planning Director of the Year, McCann Erickson. Many of the campaigns he strategically led won Cannes, Clio, New York Festival, London, and FIAP awards, among others.
On a personal note, Gustavo loves scuba diving, bicycling, gourmet cooking, and fine wines.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT