Vida Communications’ Hispanic PR Work for the NephCure Foundation is Showcased on PR Week Magazine

VIDA Communications, a New York City based boutique multicultural public relations agency dedicated to helping brands connect and engage with the growing U.S. Hispanic community, is proud to announce that PR Week magazine is showcasing our campaign for the NephCure Foundation on the publication’s “Campaign of the Month” section.

“We are thrilled and honored to have our work for the NephCure Foundation recognized and acknowledged by PR Week magazine,” said Carlos G Giron, VIDA Communications founder and president. “Our agency is small and agile, enabling us to react quickly to changing situations. We are intensely creative, focused, and dedicated to what we do. And what we do is to strategically leverage the broad array of communications an engagement platforms available in today’s hyper-connected world to enable brands and organizations to create and execute effective communications campaigns and programs, and to develop and establish sustained relationships with the growing and increasingly influential U.S. Latino community, and with other influencers and trend-setters. We do it with a deep commitment, innovative approaches and flair.”

The VIDA Communications’ Hispanic communications campaign for the NephCure Foundation featured in PR Week, highlighted the support of former boxing champion Luis Collazo, a charismatic Brooklyn-born fighter of Puerto Rican heritage. Using a multifaceted approach that included media relations, customized and original organization-owned and agency-owned content, and a thorough social media distribution effort, the campaign increased the number of unique visitors to NephCure.org from an average of about 25,000 per month to more than 40,000 between January 27 and February 8 (during the peak of the campaign activation).

The campaign generated twenty-seven earned stories (500,000 Spanish language impressions and 700,000 English language impressions), including a major feature article on El Diario/La Prensa, one of the top three Spanish language daily newspapers in the country, along with stories on New York Newsday, El Correo de Queens, ProBoxingFans.com and many other sports and boxing publications.

As a result of the campaign, the foundation gained approximately 1,000 new Facebook likes and close to 500 new Twitter followers.

“Reaching patient populations and their families is a critical mission for us,” explained NephCure Foundation’s director of PR Steve Griffith. “We hadn’t done any outreach to Latino populations. Luis’ involvement was our opportunity to take that step because he could generate the attention we needed to start messaging to that audience.”

About VIDA Communications

VIDA Communications is a New York City based boutique multicultural public relations agency dedicated to helping brands connect and engage with the growing U.S. Hispanic community, global-minded consumers, trend-setters and influencers in NYC, other major U.S. metro areas, Latin America and globally.

Agency principal, Carlos G Giron, is a versatile, bilingual, and bicultural American public relations professional and journalist. The former Major League Soccer director of Hispanic communications and Verizon Wireless PR executive, was born in Guatemala and lives in Queens, NY. In his spare time, Carlos works with local youth from low-income and diverse communities to teach them the principles of journalism and marketing communications.

[OPINION] Hispanicize Founder to Miami Beach Mayor: Technology hub is not fad or ‘dumb idea’ for the region

 Tech and social media leader Manny Ruiz, founder of the South Florida’s largest annual tech and social media event Hispanicize 2014 (http://www.HispanicizeEvent.com), issued a statement today in response to remarks Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine made this week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors where he said that the blossoming tech scene in his city is “the dumbest idea in the world.” In yesterday’s Washington Post story titled “Miami Beach mayor: Take your tech start-up gospel, and shove it”, Levine added that “People cling on to things that are not the highest and best use for their city. Miami Beach is never going to be a high tech hub. As much as it sounds great, it’s sexy, that’s not who we are.”

The following statement was issued by Ruiz, chairman of the Hispanicize platforms that also includes the Latina Mom Bloggers network, Being Latino, Hispanicize Wire, Hispanicize.com and the Hispanic PR Blog:

“As one of the region’s most visible champions for creating a strong tech scene in South Florida and the organizer of an event that brings millions of dollars to the region, Hispanicize is flabbergasted that the mayor of one of the nation’s most prominent cities believes that technology, innovation, high paying jobs, economic strength, a better education system and higher tourism dollars amount to a ‘dumb idea’.”

“Every city in the world would be the envy of Miami Beach and South Florida if we were to fuse the beauty and weather of our precious region with the power, creativity, education and innovation of technology. How can being a ‘smarter place to live and work,’ possibly be “dumb?”

“As a 44-year-old, lifelong South Floridian and former reporter I have never seen a local elected official go out of their way to nationally attack a movement that so positively moves us towards progress. Mayor Levine claims a technology hub would distract his city from its historic dependence on tourism but that seems like a copout. It takes vision to propel a city into a future that is not solely dependent on tourism and the way things have always been.”

“Today Hispanicize calls on all South Florida political, tourism and business leaders as well as Miami Beach’s own elected officials to stand with us and other tech leaders in decrying Mayor Levine’s remarks. Building a hub for technology in our region is critical to South Florida’s long-term growth, prosperity and tourism.

“We sincerely hope that the rest of the nation and the world know that Mayor Levine’s words do not in any way reflect the passionate commitment many of us here are making to cultivate a technology-friendly landscape for South Florida.

“Sincerely, Manny Ruiz.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: To request an interview with Mr. Ruiz about this topic, tech or Hispanicize 2014 in general, please email the media relations contact listed below.

Diversity Today: Fostering an Inclusive Communications Culture ( via PRSA)

We asked 12 communications professionals what they think about the current diversity landscape and what excited them most about the future. Here’s what they said:
What trends do you see on the horizon for diversity as it relates to public relations and communications, and what are you excited about as you look toward the future?

“The profession is recognizing that diversity internally stretches beyond race and gender. Research from young scholars is pushing ideas of looking at segmentation that use all factors to create messaging. The Cross-Cultural Marketer Association is tapping into this idea of publics and audiences that spills into multiple categories. Also, we have more scholars examining LGBT PR practitioners. I see small pockets of change and networking across the United States. Where the profession flagged in creating a pipeline of diverse candidates, others have taken up the cause.
For future initiatives, I hope the profession shifts its focus to creating a pipeline of talented PR students and professionals, and looks to mentoring and exposure programs that grab students early and nurture professional developments at key points in the lifespan.”
— Natalie T. J. Tindall, Ph.D., APR, associate professor and graduate director, Department of Communication, Georgia State University

“The term ‘diversity’ in a PR context will continue to evolve in unique and unpredictable ways. Social, technological, cultural and other trends will continue to redefine diversity, spawning new market segments that don’t exist today. Keeping a pulse on these trends in diversity will ensure that PR professionals add value by speaking clearly through appropriate channels to the segments that can impact their company’s bottom line. An exciting prospect for the future is that more businesses will be forced to embrace the benefits of an approach to diversity that aligns with key communications and business objectives, rather than obligations to achieve corporate responsibility.”
— Jesse Davis, APR, director of international public relations, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

“The landscape of our future is a dynamic, complex system of interdependent diverse communities — a landscape of challenges. Yet, this ‘future description’ contains some of the very properties that research has shown help propel innovation through diversity. I prefer to think of the future as one of opportunity — as a call to action to create bold, new research-based models for crafting such useful and interesting diversity messages that people feel compelled to talk and share, and to use environmental reminders, for example, as one means to foster more frequent use of empirically-based practical tools in day-to-day team work.”
—Raji Rhys, Ph.D., board member, National Association of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education

“One interesting trend is the increased number of women opting out of the traditional workplace setting and, instead, becoming entrepreneurs. What is being dubbed as ‘The New Women’s Movement’ by some, this mass exodus speaks volumes about workplace diversity. If women are not feeling respected and their unique contributions are not valued within a traditional workplace setting, then they are creating that environment for themselves. This particular trend excites me because having more women serving organizations as independent practitioners means greater opportunities to tell stories and create messages and images from a previously silenced perspective.”
— Dionne C. Clemons, Ph.D., M.P.A., strategic communications thought leader and educator

“Four trends stick out. First, social media has transformed the U.S. Hispanic and multicultural marketing space to the point that, for the past two years, public relations and social media are inseparable. Second, the importance of reaching and engaging with bloggers is now equal to that of pitching traditional journalists. Third, Hispanic journalists are embracing new media not just as a tool to fulfill their own employment in traditional media companies, but also as a potential gateway to their own new ventures. And fourth, employment opportunities for PR pros who enter multicultural marketing are growing faster than the number of people to fill those positions. Multicultural marketing is increasingly being seen as the new mainstream and this phenomenon is only poised to grow.”
— Manny Ruiz, founder, Hispanicize Wire & Hispanicize 2014

“Today, it is insufficient for communicators to rely on traditional demographic and psychographic segmentation principles when crafting messaging. Rather, communicators must be cognizant of the diversity within these overarching categories (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) to more authentically reach, represent and have lasting relationships with their multidimensional global audiences. Thus, on the horizon, there are continued shifts in how communicators segment their audiences and subsequently tailor their cross-platform messaging. With these changes come the excitement and challenge of reconfiguring the segmentation process, further refining communication strategies and continually mastering new platforms through which to reach audiences.”
— Laurie M. Phillips, assistant professor of public relations, University of Oregon

“PRSA’s focus on diversity has attracted interest throughout the PR community and beyond. We’re expecting proposals from several leading universities to our RFPs. We’re looking for ideas on research to better understand the challenges diversity candidates face and also on programs aimed at improving the pipeline with more African-American and Hispanic students choosing public relations as a major. Most of the leading organizations in our profession have also approached us about opportunities to collaborate. We are very encouraged by the response.”
— Louis Capozzi, APR, Fellow PRSA, adjunct professor, New York University; and president, PRSA Foundation

“‘Millenials equal multicultural’ is what I am hearing at conferences, from companies and from the Census. Among the under-29 and particularly the under-18 set, the population is already minority-majority. By the year 2042, it is predicted that the entire United States will be a country where the non-White population is the majority. Rather than a ‘trend’ that might change direction, we are on the path to this new reality. Diversity of people at our firms leads to diversity of thoughts and ideas, and this leads to increased outlets to success.”
— Lisa Skriloff, president, Multicultural Marketing Resources

“In public relations, the emphasis on diversity is essential because of the broad-based message that practitioners encourage their clients to pursue as they translate their community outreach and corporate goodwill. Without a wide spectrum of representation that includes people from all walks of life, the concepts and ideas that can best reflect our global environment are transmitted from a mindset that is narrow in scope, thus minimizing the message and reducing its effectiveness in reach and authenticity. A new trend that I look forward to seeing in public relations is the ability of multifaceted communities to broadcast and bridge their ideas, preferences and styles across all cultures. This is the new challenge for today’s marketers and where the shifts are currently headed.”
— Zing Shaw, vice president of U.S. diversity and inclusion, Edelman

“As organizations focus on the inclusion of people and the diversity of thought, commitments are shifting from providing support to affinity groups within a company, to also identifying opportunities for those affinity groups to contribute to a company’s business strategy, corporate social responsibility efforts and bottom line. This trend provides a very exciting opportunity for PR practitioners because as the affinity group’s activities move out of the office and into local communities, a more universally relevant story-sharing opportunity is created. Diversity and inclusion topics will finally break out of the internal communications realm and into external communications.”
— Enrico Dinges, M.A., public relations, corporate communications, Sodexo

“We are seeing communications strategies and tactics, formerly labeled as ‘diverse,’ becoming more mainstream. I think this is exciting because it shows more acceptance overall of diverse points of view regardless of race, gender geography, sexual orientation or ability. Our role in identifying messaging that resonates with various audiences can help unify these different points of view. It is amazing how many cultures you can rally around one central theme when it is positioned effectively. This ability should set us apart in the value we can deliver to our clients when compared to other C-suite peers.”
— Jennifer Darwin, APR, senior vice president and corporate communications manager, Bank of America

“For years, we at Verizon have focused on building teams rich in diverse perspectives and backgrounds. That bench strength has always been an asset, but it’s more important than ever. Communicators, in particular, must think globally and locally and do it all in the time that it takes to tweet. The term ‘glocal’ captures this need very efficiently. It’s not so much a budding trend as it is a skill that every communicator needs to develop, to constantly exercise. As our team has discovered, sometimes your biggest influencers are continents away.”
— Alberto Canal, vice president of corporate communications, Verizon Communications

PRSA mourns passing of PRSA VP of public relations Arthur Andrew Yann III

Our community joins me in mourning the sudden and unexpected passing of friend, coworker, colleague and PRSA member Arthur Andrew Yann III, APR, PRSA vice president of public relations, on Thursday evening, June 13. He was 48.

Arthur first came to my office to interview as we were filling one of the toughest jobs in public relations — VP of PR for an organization representing more than 20,000 public relations professionals.

He first joined PRSA in 1999, led his own agency, was a member of PRSA Counselors Academy, served as a PRSA volunteer, and designed a campaign that not only won a Gold SABRE and three Big Apple Awards, but also three Silver Anvil Awards. Two Anvil trophies are proudly displayed on his office bookshelf, at this very moment.

As we spoke that first day, many other things about Arthur became clear to me — his quick sense of humor, his powerful intellect and his passion for his work, which were reflected in his attention to detail as well as his commitment to excellence. And so, Arthur joined our team in August 2008.

I was never sure where Arthur got his sense of humor, but it touched us all. He had a booming laugh that echoed across the office at random moments as he found humor in the absurd. He once told us that his ancestors were Western European, and that their original surname had been truncated by a harried immigration official. As a result, for much of his life, people were “expecting (him) to be Asian” since his family had now become the Yanns…

Read more at the PRSA website.

Luis Miguel Messianu: Hispanic agencies are better prepared than general market agencies for the coming integration

Luis Miguel Messianu, president and CCO of Alma

(María Carolina Alonso, PRODU )

Luis Miguel Messianu, president and CCO of Alma, visited the PRODU stand on the last day of the AHAA, FIAP and Circulo Creativo conference to weigh in on the biggest subject of the event: the integration of the Hispanic market into the general market.

“I’m left with a good taste in my mouth – it was worth the struggle to make a reality of this meeting of AHAA, Circulo Creativo and FIAP. Aligning these distant planets was a lot of work but it was done, and I see it as the beginning of an alliance that combines the best of a lot of worlds and that is going to help all of us rise to the next level” said Messianu, who is also a member of the Circulo Creativo board of directors.

As for the main topic of the conference, introduced on the first day by Sir Martin Sorrell, about the integration of the Hispanic market into the general market and how that will influence the future of Hispanic agencies, Messianu said that in his opinion, “Hispanic agencies and ethnic agencies in general are better prepared (than mainstream agencies) for integration into the general market”.

“It’s not just a business opportunity, it’s a question of conviction, for us and for me personally. Part of our agency’s reason to exist since the day it was founded has been to raise the image, the participation and sophistication of U.S. Latinos, and I think most Latino agencies believe that, which is already a big advantage” he said.

Lo Que Siembres Cosecharás: The Law of Reciprocity and Content Marketing-HMW

A column by Court Stroud, director at content production platform Skyword ( via: Hispanic Market Weekly)

 

Dressed in a cowboy hat, flashy silver belt buckle and tight black jeans, evil never looked so good. In the debut episode of Telemundo’s new telenovela “El Senor de los Cielos,” narco-trafficker Aurelio Casillas forces a horrified youth to slay a golden retriever, assuring that the audience will be glued to the screen while waiting for the killer with the killer good looks to get his just desserts.How do we know Casillas will die a horrible death? The Law of Reciprocity, of course. Lo que siembres cosecharás. This drug kingpin rips up the Golden Rule in the first ten minutes of the series – and we all know karma can be a real bitch.Reciprocity can be found in every corner of the planet and in every area of life: politics, interpersonal relationships, religion – and yes, even in advertising.

Content marketing, also known as brand journalism, has become the rage. Tapestry’s managing director Lia Silkworth has gone on the record to say, “Content marketing is everything we do nowadays.” The Custom Content Council reports this month that in 2012, 39 percent of marketing budgets were dedicated to content marketing and total spending ended the year at $43.9 billion dollars.

In the past, the limited number of channels to reach consumers meant that marketers could feel somewhat sheltered from the Law of Reciprocity. An audience would have to be either very angry or blissfully happy in order to be moved strongly enough to respond to a message.

In today’s digital age, however, the balance of power has shifted.

Consumers now can talk back through social media, which has made keeping reciprocity top of mind much more important for those of us in the advertising and communications industry. An April 2013 InsightsOne study says that U.S. consumers are tired of bad ads, with 91 percent reporting seeing them, and 87 percent saying they will start to ignore a company that sponsors an ad deemed irrelevant.

In a Harvard Business Review article released last week by digital thought leaders Mark Bonachek and Cara France entitled “People Are the New Channel,” the duo posits that in the past, channels delivered messages to audiences. You were either a media company, which owned the channel, or you were a brand or agency, which rented someone else’s.

However, with the rise of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, consumers are becoming the most important pipeline for distributing information. Bonachek and France write that, “What used to be a hierarchy with the company at the top is now a network with the customer at the center.”

The old school  “push” form of advertising has given way to “pull.” This monumental power shift means marketers have to treat consumers better, as people cannot be owned or rented.  Brands, agencies and media companies must make a fundamental shift by talking with, not to, an audience.

In the shift from pipes to people, Bonacheck and France suggest adopting the strategy: “Don’t talk, listen.”

How can marketers use reciprocity to their advantage? Social entrepreneur and former deputy director of the Illinois Business Enterprise Program Ruddy Ortiz offers some observations to the topic of sowing what you reap in his book The Irrefutable Power of a Renewed Mind.

He names the five elements of reciprocity, all of which may be useful when applied to the world of advertising.

  • We harvest according to the kind of seed that we plant. Whatever you put out into the world will be what you get back. If you create tired or annoying ads, don’t expect good results.
  • We reap more than what we sow. If you sow negativity in your communication strategy, expect an increase in negativity. Conversely, the positive, engaging messages will result in an increase in sales and affirming brand awareness.
  • It takes time to reap what you have sown. For brand managers and marketers, it’s important to remember that it takes time for messages to resonate with a target audience.
  • The quality of the harvest depends on the quality of the soil. If you’re offering a product and/or message of value, you’ll be rewarded handsomely. If you’re intention is to fool an unsuspecting public, then getting back quality results will prove thorny.
  • Harvests show up gradually. Take time to consciously sow positive ad messages, and you can be assured of reaping increased sales and brand awareness.

The Law of Reciprocity is constantly in effect, whether we know it or not. When it comes to the advertising world, let’s leave the negativity to bad boys in telenovelas, like the ruthless Aurelio Casillas.

Lopez Negrete Communications Wins Coveted Mosaic Award

Lopez Negrete Communications, Inc. wins the Mosaic Award in the “Multiethnic Ad Campaign” category for its Dr Pepper “Vida 23: Sabor a Otro Nivel” campaign featuring Pitbull.

Leading Hispanic Agency Brings Home Prize for Work with Dr Pepper and Pitbull

Lopez Negrete Communications won the Mosaic Award in the “Multiethnic Ad Campaign” category for its “Vida 23: Sabor a Otro Nivel” featuring Pitbull. The campaign launched in 2011 for one of the agency’s largest clients, Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

“I speak on behalf of everyone who collaborated on this assignment when I express how very proud we are of the campaign’s reception,” said Alex López Negrete, president and CEO. “We consider this award a significant one because it illustrates our keen ability to connect with Hispanic audiences and furthermore develop solid strategy and powerful creative executions that tangibly deliver on our client’s business goals, always a top priority.”

The aspect of the “Vida 23: Sabor a Otro Nivel” campaign that made the biggest impression on the judges, and what Lopez Negrete can attribute their win to, is the targeting and successful engaging of young bicultural Hispanics between ages 18 and 24. With Latino urban artist Pitbull at the forefront, writing and recording the song “Vida 23″ exclusively for the campaign, the brand accomplished their goal of connecting with such an elusive and crucial market through a variety of channels.

The Diversity Achievement and Mosaic Awards & Forum present Mosaic Awards in seven different categories, recognizing successful multicultural marketing and diversity efforts. Since its inception in 2001, Diversity Achievement and Mosaic Awards & Forum has established itself as Advertising Week New York’s premier diversity and multicultural event.

Velocitas, Inc. Names Aida Phillips Hispanic PR Director


Patricia Beitler, founder of Velocitas, announced today the new addition to the team. Aida Phillips as Hispanic PR Director, who was also named a partner at the agency. “We are thrilled to have Aida Phillips on our team of experts to facilitate Velocitas’ expansion into Latin America. Velocitas is always reinventing itself and I am excited to have created this partnership.” said Patricia Beitler, President and Founder of Velocitas.

“We are thrilled to have Aida Phillips on our team of experts to facilitate Velocitas expansion into Latin America. Velocitas is always reinventing itself and I am excited to have created this partnership.” Said Patricia Beitler, President and Founder of Velocitas.

Phillips brings 16 years of experience in Hispanic Advertising to Velocitas and has worked with over 20 Fortune 500 companies like DiamlerChrysler, Ford, BMW, General Motors, Chivas Regal, Corona amongst others. Phillips has also collaborated with celebrities such as Paulina Rubio, Mana, Paulo Quevedo, and Paola Pedroza, and many more.
Her strengths include establishing long lasting relationships with the media and a passion for acquiring client results. Her strong relationships with the media and celebrities will compliment Velocitas’ current and future roster of clients.

PR Week Interview with John Echeveste of VPE Public Relations

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Heineken Invites Soccer Fans to Keep it Legendary

As an official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, Heineken has launched Keep it Legendary, a pioneering initiative that transforms UEFA Champions League game-watching into an interactive digital experience for U.S. soccer enthusiasts. With Keep it Legendary, Heineken continues to demonstrate the brand’s commitment to creating innovative digital marketing programs that speak to consumers’ passion points.

In sports and life, timing is everything. Unfortunately, for soccer fans in the U.S., the UEFA Champions League games are taking place in Europe while most of them are at work. This leaves fans subjected to spoilers via web-browsing highlights and updates during the day, ruining their evening game-viewing experience. For that reason, Heineken has created Keep it Legendary, a set of tools accessed through a dedicated tab on the Heineken Facebook page, which serves as a gateway to a spoiler-free web-browsing experience, allowing fans to enjoy the games the way they were meant to be: after work with friends and a Heineken.

Co-developed by The Vidal Partnership, the company’s lead Hispanic advertising agency, Keep it Legendary allows consumers to preserve game-day excitement with the following interactive, spoiler-free digital tools:

  • The Fever Keeper, a web-browser tool that blocks online information related to the UEFA Champions League games (e.g., scores, goals scored by players, etc.) until users are ready to enjoy them later.
  • The Venue Locator, an online event-planning tool that helps users find bars and events where UEFA Champions League games can be watched after work, or helps them plan their own events and invite friends.

As the tournament continues to advance, the Keep it Legendary experience and its functionality will begin to play a pivotal role in the way fans preserve their game-viewing experience. Therefore, Heineken® USA invites you to visit http://www.keepitlegendary.com now! Sign into your Facebook account. “Like” the Heineken UEFA Champions League button. Click on the start button to download the Fever Keeper and check out the Venue Locator tools.

mark cuban

Mark Cuban on PR’s Value for Startups [INTERVIEW]

In his latest book, “How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It” (Amazon.com review here), Mark Cuban lists Rule No. 11 as:
“Never hire a PR firm. A public relations firm will call or email people in the publications you already read, on the shows you already watch and at the websites you already surf. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them a message introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communication with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.”

PRSay reached out to Mr. Cuban to get his take on why he made this statement and for further insight into his thinking on the role and value of public relations.

Read the entire story at PRSAY.

MuleyHeadshot

Meet Miriam Muléy, author & vox collective’s VP of Client Services & Brand Strategy

Latinas are one of today’s fastest growing and influential consumer markets. They generate $400 billion in purchasing power, but influence $1.2 trillion in buying decision. Moreover, 73% of Latinas between the ages of 18-44 are mothers, making them a critical segment for marketers seeking to reach women who are gatekeepers of their families. Latinas also tend to skew on average 14 years younger than the general US population and have larger families than other segments. In an effort to gain a more in depth perspective on what this will mean for marketers, Hispanic PR Blog recently spoke with Miriam Muléy, VP of Client Services & Strategy at the vox collective and author of the newly released, The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of All Colors—Latina, Black and Asian (Paramount Books).

HPRB: What has inspired you to focus most of your career on the research and study of multicultural women?

MM: I’ve spent the majority of my professional business career managing brands that primarily appeal to women. In my 25 years of experience as a senior executive in Fortune 100 corporations, I found that there was a tremendous amount of data and understanding about women as consumers, and there was tremendous amount of growing body of work around Hispanics, African Americans and Asians but no one was creating this matrix approach looking at women of color. Very few companies were going beyond the marketing to women veil to understand what impact culture, race and diversity had on the needs and aspirations of these women. When you couple that with the fact that women of color represent a market as large as the population of Italy, France, or Spain, and that they generate $1.2 trillion in buying power in the United States, I felt that I needed to step in and close that informational gap. My goal in writing my book The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of All Colors—Latina, Black and Asian was to dispel the perception that marketing to women did not mean marketing to white women alone. Instead, gender and culture need to be understood when appealing to the women’s and in this case, the mother’s mark.

HPRB: We understand the value of niche marketing, but what makes targeted marketing to multicultural women so powerful?

MM: Marketing to women of color allows a brand to leverage the “power of community” to influence future purchases in a more dynamic way. Like all women, women of color are very viral. We will tell our friends about a new product or service, share information with those that we care about in a very passionate and compelling way, and warn our personal inner circle of the limitations associated with brands that do not perform.

When you consider the impact of being in this country for a short period of time, or of not having a robust circle of people to connect with to learn about the norms of a new environment, successfully marketing to closely knitted women of color increases your odds of success. Word of mouth will grow at an exponential rate. There is a need to depend more heavily on community to just survive. Therefore, when you think about women as being the gatekeepers for their families, and couple that with being a first or second generation immigrants to this country, this creates a very powerful equation for women of color to be ambassadors for brands throughout their life

Another dimension of women of color which makes them a powerful market to connect with is their youthfulness and the higher lifetime value proposition associated in selling products and services to this audience and to the families they manage. With approximately 10 years of additional life span among women of color—fourteen among Latinas versus women overall—coupled with disproportionate usage of various product categories, this makes women of color and Latina moms a very profitable segment to explore and support. Further, as diversity increases to become the majority, women of color and mothers of color will take on greater economic importance to marketers.

HPRB: Your book addresses women of color including Latina, Black and Asian. What characteristic(s) do these women share? What differentiates them?

MM: What immediately comes to mind as a common denominator is the focus on family. It is absolutely central and paramount among Hispanic families, African descended families and Asian families.

In the Hispanic community we have larger families, and the fact that 73% of Latina women aged 15-44 are moms gives you and indication of how very much involved we are in having families and raising children. We have larger families, we start families at a much younger age, we are the gatekeepers of those families, we do all for the family, and so that puts a great amount of focus on products and services that will elevate that center of connection in the Hispanic market.

In the African American market the same is true as well. Smaller markets, but here 67% of all Black women aged 15-44 are mothers. The family is very important, the dynamic here that is probably more critical is that you have a lot single, head of households headed by black women, and that really puts a lot of demand on that woman to be mom and dad in many instances: work, take care of children at home, etc. So she is time pressed and time poor and needs products and services that bring convenience and quality to her, so she does not have to second guess services.

In the Asian community family is very important as well, and there is a multigenerational approach–as you do in the Hispanic market as well, not just a nuclear family but a generational approach to family. And in the Asian community the elders are highly respected, highly revered, which really infuses a sense of respect and deference in activities related to family.

HPRB: When it comes to making purchasing decisions, what are some key findings that you can share with us about Latinas? How do acculturation levels impact this?

MM: When it comes to making purchasing decisions, some of the findings that I have seen about women and about Latinas is that our decision making process is much more involved than a linear, direct decision model would suggest. As my friend and colleague, Marti Barletta would say, “Women are looking for the perfect decision not just a good decision.”

Attitudinally, Latinas and moms of color place a higher regard on motherhood than other groups. Latina women are more likely to state that, “having a child is an experience every woman should have.” Seventy-four percent of Latina moms would agree with this statement versus 49% of non-Hispanic White moms. That’s a huge difference between both audiences. Marketers can leverage this insight in their business plans by celebrating “family” as a positive and natural outgrowth of the cultural values of mothers of color. It’s also important to utilize diverse images of mothers and children in outreach efforts for these women.

From an acculturation perspective, it is important to understand that although she might be a second or third generation Hispanic mom, that culture is key to her. She is more likely to speak to her children in Spanish because she wants them to understand their heritage. She does not want them to disregard any aspect of the American or Hispanic heritage in the process. Companies that acknowledge the infusion of culture in their marketing will be more successful in reaching the Hispanic mom.

HPRB: How does marketing to Hispanic moms differ from other groups? What are they looking for?

MM: The parent-child dynamic between Hispanic parents and their children tends to be one of strong discipline, structure and guidance. Contrary to mainstream values which encourage self-expression, free-thinking, and challenging the norm, mothers of color tend to be disciplinarians. Among recent immigrants, the parent-child relationship also reflects situations where children are able to teach parents about new trends in the market. Children also become translators of information about various brands and services.

Another point of differentiation lies in how Hispanic moms raise their children versus non-Hispanic White moms. Art home, a mother of color will delegate more responsibility to her children in the form of household chores and do so at an earlier age than the general market. This is a perfectly respectable behavior which promotes greater independence among youth. The tendency to raise independent children at an earlier age is due to the need to prepare children to be self-reliant and able to overcome challenges that may be presented in the outside world—in school, in the neighborhood, and ultimately in the workplace.

HPRB: The Latina population tends to be younger than general market and other multicultural sectors. What should brands be doing now to prepare for marketing to Latinas in the years ahead?

MM: With the additional 14 years represented by the Latina population versus the general market comes the opportunity to generate more sales over the lifetime of the customer, who is a disproportionate and heavy user of many disposable products and services. From initial trial to repeat business, to word of mouth referral Latinas offer tremendous advantage and profitability to the retail markets. Every dollar spent on the Latina population comes back to marketers exponentially with brand loyalty.

HPRB: In marketing to this powerful demographic, which brands do you think are doing it right?

MM: When I think about brands that get “it” as it relates to diversity, as it comes to women and as it relates to the women of color market, specifically Latinas, I think of Procter & Gamble. They are a company that stands head and shoulders above many in terms of understanding the full market potential of the market segments. They understand the business case around reaching this audience in a strategic fashion with budgets and an investment that is sustainable over time. They also understand the need to leverage an integrated strategy to achieve results versus relying on one aspect of the marketing mix, for example advertising alone, to achieve breakthrough results. Powerful advertising is fueled by real consumer insights that are culturally based, media budgets that are able to break through the clutter and get your attention, products that are outstanding, really well designed and researched, that meet our needs, a channel of distribution that welcomes us when we walked into stores. Procter & Gamble gets this full picture of the market potential.

In the direct selling industry, which is a very different distribution channel from Procter and Gamble, I think about Avon as a best practice diversity company. Avon is not only a company that markets products for women of color; they also offer an earning opportunity for women. They offer this earning opportunity as a Sales Representative—a micro entrepreneur—a woman can control the amount of time they spend on their business as they manage their family and personal needs. Moreover, Avon invests in targeted product, communication vehicles and programs to reach women of color in a meaningful way.

Is there a recent Latina marketing campaign that has caught your attention?

MM: I have to say the use of Sofia Vergara with the Pepsi creative has caught the attention of the marketplace. It is a humorous use of the actress with strong crossover appeal to the general market, as well as the diverse markets. Pepsi uses her beauty, her charm, and her comical style in a way that makes you feel proud to know that she is also Hispanic, but she is also appealing to the general market.

HPRB: In which ways can social media be most effectively used to meet the specific needs of Latinas?

MM: There is a good deal of information and research that shows Hispanics are absolutely involved in digital and social media, very hungry for that connection and looking for opportunities to stay connected. Where companies can step in is in offering content that the audience can then use as the trigger to be able to connect more effectively. This is growing, but I think there is probably more work that can done around just making sure there is quality, fresh content always available in terms of social media feeds for the Hispanic market on topics of interest and relevance in language.

HPRB: What other insights on marketing to Latinas would you like to share?

MM: It is important to acknowledge the importance of not only having sound marketing strategies built on the cultural insights of the market, but also to ensure that the individuals working on your brands represent the nuances of the market itself. I am talking more about workforce development and making sure that your senior teams, your management and operational teams, your R&D labs, your communications specialists and business teams reflect the marketplace

On a more personal level and to get to know you better…

HPRB: What was your childhood ambition?

MM: My childhood ambition was to always do well academically because I knew this would make my parents proud and education was a value that was highly emphasized and valued in our family. From a career point of view, I remember my love of exploring and learning new things. I actually wanted to be an astronaut at one point because I felt that was the ultimate adventure. While I did not follow through on that dream, I did go on to become the first family member to earn a college degree and go on to graduate school at one of the country’s top Ivy schools-Columbia University to earn an MBA. I spent 25 years in corporate America ascending up through management ranks, launching new products, managing the P&L for many brands and leading cross functional teams to success.

HPRB: What is your favorite life or business quote?

MM: What comes to mind is a quote that my father shared with me which is that, “You have to be the captain of your own ship”. No matter what, despite choppy waters, uncertainty and unrest, you always have to be in control, navigate a path, know that you are in control and steer your life on the course you intend.

HPRB: How did you start your career in PR and where has that taken you?

MM: I actually started my career in marketing. I have a graduate degree, an MBA from Columbia University in business–marketing and finance. I started 25 years ago at Frito-Lay, in Dallas, Texas, in marketing as an Assistant Product Manager… I progressed to other companies such as Johnson & Johnson Baby Products Company and Clairol where I worked on new product development and on existing brands. I was handpicked by the President of Avon to join as a Director and was promoted to General Manager for the Women of Color business unit. Ultimately at General Motors Corporation I was the Executive Director for the Diversity Growth Markets managing the women’s market, Hispanic, African American, Asian, Youth, and LGBT markets across all divisions (Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Pontiac, Saab, Hummer) for the United States. Since then I’ve written a book with a focus on The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of All Colors—Latina, Black and Asian. Now I am very excited to be a part of The Vox Collective, where I get the chance to really zero in on the Hispanic opportunity while staying connected to multiculturalism on a broader scale.

HPRB: What is the biggest Hispanic marketing cliché that you would love to see go away?

MM: What I would love for marketers to understand is that the Hispanic segment is much more than the stereotypes that you see portrayed. We are not all struggling, blue color workers. There is a growing class of middle class Hispanics; in fact 46% above Hispanics are in the $35,000 to $70,000 household income range. We are entrepreneurs, we are successful business men and women, we have wealth building aspirations and we have the funds to buy prestige products and services. Latinos are not all struggling. While there is a segment of the population across really all groups that are in that group, Hispanics are not all there. I would like to see that myth dismantled because it will give marketers permission to reach the broader spectrum of Hispanics that is large and growing.

HPRB: What are your top do’s and don’ts when it comes to Hispanic marketing via social media?

MM: The number one “do” is to be intentional and consistent with your outreach to Hispanics. Particularly as it relates to social media, there is a need for constant, vigilant response to consumers who may blog or tweet. When a tweet comes in you have to follow up and make sure that you are providing a meaningful, speedy response. The response must be consistent with the brand character yet also provide a value-add response to the audience. The brand DNA must be protected and consistently conveyed across all digital media to ensure and enhance brand equity. Paying attention to this level of detail will ensure a responsive and engaged consumer.