Latin American elections 2019

2019 Elections in Central & South America: Improvement or Status Quo?

On the heels of the 2018 elections that brought Colombia’s (Ivan Duque), Mexico’s (AMLO Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) and Brazil’s (Jair Bolsonaro) new leaders to the top post in Latin America, the 2019 elections may not be seen as reaching the same level of impact on the world stage.  However, for the six countries planning elections in 2019, elections are always key to defining whether the future for which path these countries take.

Latin American Countries with elections in 2019

  • Argentina
  • Uruguay
  • Bolivia
  • Panama
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala

For details of the election timing and key concerns, Americas Society / Council of the Americas is a great resource.

While Argentina represents the largest economy and a country facing numerous challenges, for the U.S., there is definitely a focus on Central America which is a key source of the immigration debate.

For Central America, the challenge is how to combat the violence and corruption that has been a key challenge to these developing countries.  For example, Guatemalans, who in the last election elected an ex comedian on a slogan of  “not a thief, nor a crook” who has ended up in a constitutional showdown with the UN-backed anticorruption CICIG and seems to be the opposite of his slogan.  Will there be a return to politics as normal, or will the next president go beyond slogans and actually embrace international anticorruption efforts.

No Easy Answers:

There are no easy answers for many of these countries.  While Argentina is facing a recession and inflation after Macri’s first term is trying to help the country rebound from more than a decade of Kirchner’s, Guatemala and Bolivia have constitutional challenges, and countries such as El Salvador have spent so many years of violence there are questions as to whether any politician will be able to make significant changes and bring stability to their countries.

Is there Hope?

As long as the people have a choice and elections are relatively fair, the politicians at the very least have to answer to the public.  Large protests against Guatemala’s president trying to oust the UN backed CiCIG to the judicial systems still maintaining some sort of check on power there is some hope.  However the road is full of challenges for many of these countries.


Political Outreach to Hispanic Voters - HELP

Really!! Google Translate – Presidential candidates showing ineptitude in reaching out to Hispanic voters.

Reaching Hispanics in language can have numerous pitfalls that even pose a challenge for native Spanish speakers, but the errors being made by political candidates for the top job in the U.S. is an impressive show of laziness.

Politico reviewed numerous Spanish language pages of some presidential candidates and found many to be lacking.  Following is an excerpt from the Politico article: which has some excellent examples of missteps.

While Google Translate can serve as a workable starting point, more often than not it needs a human hand to produce Spanish that would pass muster with a native speaker.

As with any outreach to the Hispanic or any other multicultural audience, if you plan on reaching out in language, it is extremely important to get it right.  If you can’t, then stick to English.

According to Pew Research: Mapping the Latino electorate there were more than 29 million latinos that were eligible to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.  In states such as California (30%), New Mexico (42%), Texas (30%) among others where the percentage of eligible voters being Hispanic, reaching this audience the right way is important.

While acknowledging that Hispanic voters are important is the easy part, the effort by both the Republican National Committee (GOP) as well as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is lacking.  If the major committees are unable or unwilling to put forth the effort, what can you expect from political candidates.  Some examples of the Latino/Hispanic pages from the major political parties show a severe lack of effort to reach out to this part of the latino electorate.

 

For anyone who has written in a second language, mistakes will happen, and to some extent when you see candidates make the attempt to speak in another language, some mistakes are understandable, but if your campaign or brand is serious about reaching out to bilingual and Spanish dominant Hispanics, there are inexpensive and simple ways to do it.  There are numerous certified translators, qualified multicultural agencies, and most likely a native speaker nearby that can assist.

The Politico article evaluated numerous sites for Democratic presidential candidates and is worth reviewing.  Here is just one example to see where some candidates are missing out.

Additional Resources:

Pew Hispanic: Mapping the Latino electorate

Reach Multicultural: Multicultural Voter Resources

Alcance Media Group – Multicultural Political Advertising

Republican National Committee: GOP Hispanic page

Democratic National Committee: Latinos

 


Latino participation in winter sports

Why the ski industry needs more Hispanics skiers and riders.

In looking at the importance of key multicultural populations on winter sports and the impact they have on the ski industry, one group stands out as being poised to deliver.  While the ski industry does need to do more to draw Hispanic families to the resorts, there are already some key factors that make that easier than with other multicultural groups.

In looking at the African American market one thing that gets mentioned in articles is that there are not many African American skiers on the hill, and that lack of diversity presents challenges in making this segment feel welcome.  In contrast, at least in the West, not only is there a notable increase in Hispanic families living and visiting the mountains, but there is also an added benefit of workers from Latin America.

In California & Colorado (and many others), when you go to the resort, many of the workers are seasonal and visiting from other countries.  Every season on a chairlift or even in the parking lot I meet someone who is here for the season from Chile or Argentina and have the opportunity to speak Spanish.

International Student Visas such as Vail’s program bring diversity to resort operations that can translate to a more welcoming experience for latinos.

While not all Hispanic households are Spanish dominant in the U.S.,  just imagine how it feels for someone who may be more comfortable speaking in Spanish, or even just seeing more people from similar backgrounds may make you feel.  Skiing is expensive and for most people not from a cold climate, is not necessarily something that you grew up doing.  This is where the industry can and needs to help.

Tourism boards from Arizona to Washington are actively pursuing multicultural communities to boost tourism.  Visit Denver has a site in multiple languages and actively markets to Hispanic and other communities.  Yet, there are few examples of ski resorts actively marketing to Hispanic, Asian, or African American communities.  At the very least increasing the diversity on the ski hill, will make others from those communities feel more welcome.

RRC Associates Study

So, for affluent communities with the means, the push is to introduce them to the mountains and the benefits of winter recreation.  Creating a great experience similar to that of all skiers and riders will pay great dividends.

More challenging for the industry (especially in the West) is how to involve the local communities, much of which are lower income Hispanic and in many cases undocumented.  Per a great article in Outside Magazine that discusses the issue as well as the work of the Doug  Coombs foundation who offer opportunities to more challenged, local, latino populations in Wyoming.  Many times these are the workers in the community, but reap few of the benefits of living in beautiful mountain communities, this organization helps to bring them onto the hill and further increase participation in the sport.

While this group, may not generate as much interest to resorts trying to sell luxury condos, the fact is that having people from diverse backgrounds enjoying the mountains creates a richer experience for all.

Additional Resources:

Will Multicultural Skiers Save the Ski Industry

NSAA report – Future Demographics

Alcance Media Group – Multicultural Tourism Marketing


New Luxury Car

Reaching Hispanic Car Buyers

While the numbers may vary (one projection is that the Hispanic market will represent $1.7 Trillion buying power by 2020), the consensus is that the Hispanic market is massive, and therefore the influence of Hispanic car buyers is a major opportunity for any business.  In this case, let’s look at auto dealers.

Car dealership owners in the U.S. are focused on selling as many cars as possible and as their local or regional market changes they are one of the fastest groups to react to these changes.   While there are major advertising dollars focusing on Hispanic markets from some automakers, the local focus of the dealers means that regardless of the national focus, they may create their local sites, offers and advertising to grab the attention of their market.

Below is an example of from Arlington Toyota of a vehicle walk through in Spanish for their market.

Each market is different, even when looking at the Hispanic market.  The local market in Miami is quite different than the markets in San Francisco, New York or any other.  There are numerous factors including language (Spanish versus English), to cultural backgrounds and differences in country of origin or individuals or family (U.S. born, 3rd generation is different from 1st generation family recently arriving from Guatemala) can be significantly different.  In some markets, the big sellers may be the less expensive vehicles, while in many cases the Hispanic market is purchasing high end luxury cars. (Example from Lexus below) These are the details that local/regional dealerships understand.

Above is an example from JM Lexus showing the key attributes in Spanish of choosing a Lexus.

More than ever there are cost effective options for dealers.  From managing their own sites and social media presence, to working with local publications, to working with multicultural digital specialists to reach Hispanic car buyers. To continue to learn more about reaching these audiences, here are some additional resources:


Top 5 Travel Destinations for Latin Americans Within the US.

US is a country made of diversity; one can find people from around the world in just one nation, no matter if they are from Europe, Africa, Asia, or Latin America. Such a wide variety in population translates into a plethora of different tastes when it comes to vacations.

Knowing that fact, we are here to present you with the best traveling destinations for those with latino travel habits.
So, sit tight, and read on; you may just find where to spend these upcoming vacations!

What Do Hispanic Travelers Look For?

Latin Americans are known for their strong preference towards their origins; most people from the southern side of the continent are fond of the beaches and tropical landscapes they grew up with.

Since it’s hard to abandon those tastes, many hispanics look for a better version of what they love and thus plan their trips towards the sunny beaches on the coasts of USA.

As such, when it comes to choosing a destination, a strong preference is evidenced towards warm and tropical locations.
However, there’s a significant opposite end of the hispanic market tourism!

There are also many Latin Americans (myself included) who opt to move towards the contraire of what they grew up with!
From that mindset, we also have a significant portion of the hispanic population gravitating towards the chilling and quiet spots in the US. For them, the north begins to look more attractive and they start setting aside the heat and tropic in favor of parks and cold.

Top Destinations For Latin Americans In The US.

With such a broad selection of hispanic travel habits, we have chosen quite a varied board of options for the hispanic market tourism.

1. Yosemite National Park.

This is a great choice for those whose hispanic travel habits include stepping away from the usual hispanic beaches.


This great, typical park filled with trees that give birth to a wonderful forest is a great sight for those who rather a cool and quiet location.

2. Alaska.

The last on the options catered towards quiet and alternative latino travel habits is the chilling territory of Alaska.
Anyone feeling tired of the Sun and heat will be happy to trade them for the cold and wonderful sight of the aurora borealis dancing in the dark sky.

3. Key West.

A very familiar sight will greet those who head over to this territory filled with beaches and fun locals! People looking for a more “cultural” hispanic market tourism can head over to the beautiful Dry Tortugas National Park via hidroplane or boat and visit the beautiful fort.

4. The Glass Beach.

A century of contamination in the 1900’s ironically gave birth to a beautiful destination.

All the trash thrown by the locals has covered the beach with glass and ceramic, softened with the years. The current sight is a very interesting one that combines the classic tropical beach landscape with the odd decoration.

5. White Sands.

What best destination for those with latino travel habits than the one right on top of Mexico?

This national park is great for those looking for a warm climate and an amazing sight, covered in white sand (hence the name) that looks like snow, coupled with a beautiful series of meadows that are just a pleasure to walk on!


canary in the coal mine Venezuala is in trouble

Asylum applications - canary in the coal mine

With pending elections throughout many countries in Latin America, the spotlight is on the numerous challenges facing the region, and specifically the Venezuela elections.  From organizations fighting "fake news" in Mexico elections to those that are a foregone conclusion such as Venezuela.  Elections have a ripple effect throughout all of the americas and one look no further than asylum applications and immigration numbers to see which countries are in the most trouble.  In a CNN article regarding Venezuelans fleeing the situation in Venezuela a couple of pictures tell the story.

Asylum applications 2017 comparing Venezuela, China and Mexico

Asylum Applications from Venezualans to US 2015-16

The key reason that individuals or families uproot and move to another country where there is still uncertainty is because they are almost certain that the current situation will not improve in the near term.  Whether civil war such as that of Colombia, to gangs such as Central America, to economic mismanagement a la Venezuela immigrants and asylum seekers are merely looking to improve their situation.

I was traveling in Venezuela shortly after the election of Hugo Chavez.  During my travels I met an executive from a global CPG company and very quickly it was evident that they saw the writing on the wall and were going to start moving many key assets out of the country.  Sure enough, the government started to implement policies that made it almost impossible for companies to do business in the country (most recently the government took over Kellogg's facilities).  For a summary of the current situation in Venezuela this segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has brief rundown prior to the Venezuela elections.

 

For the first time Venezuelan asylum seekers to the United States have outnumbered that of Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.  Just like a major influx in Colombian asylum seekers in the past (which has since calmed as the country has stabilized and prospered), one key statistic to signal where in the world major problems are brewing is asylum applications.

While the current government in Venezuela is sure to win the "election" on Sunday May 20, 2018, the more important questions is whether the people of the country will survive another six year term or if something changes.

 


Hispanic marketing - still relevant?

Is Hispanic marketing still relevant?  In all but the most remote places, latino influence in the United States is hard to miss, so of course it is.

Multicultural audiences continue to grow in size and importance and the Hispanic audience is one of the most important.  The U.S. Hispanic market has massive influence on the success businesses as well as on American culture.  Almost, if not all major cities in the U.S. have integrated latino food, music, culture, and even street signs into their metro area.    What is always being debated is how to reach this segment.  From a recent media post article there were some key points that highlighted some interesting items.

Language:  While to percentage of Hispanics that are proficient in English has risen swiftly, the percentage of Hispanics that stream entertainment in Spanish has also increased significantly (even greater among Hispanic millennials).  

Boy with Sombrero lazy Hispanic marketing.
Some hispanic marketing attempts are less than ideal.

Influence:  While the population growth is still strong, it has slowed somewhat, yet the integration of the segment into American culture is stronger than ever.  In business ownership the Hispanic community now comprises ownership of 12% of all U.S. business.

Many marketers take the approach of adding a stock photo of a latino looking person to an ad, check a box on whatever programmatic platform and call it a day.  While there are some that fully integrate a “total market” strategy” incorporating cultural relevance, language, etc with an overall cohesive strategy,  but that seems to fall more to Toyota, P&G, Coca Cola and other major advertisers.  

The U.S. Hispanic segment is one of the most important segments and represents major buying power and influence.  It is time for marketers to pay more than lip service to the importance of the group.  There are numerous factors in these decisions such as time, budget, and need.  However there are numerous options to reach this segment through focused media, and utilizing agencies that specialize in multicultural segments that are more effective and don't necessarily require utilizing an entire advertising budget.

 

 

 


Mexico Elections: Facing challenges in 2018

In a year with multiple presidential elections happening through Latin America, the region and specifically the Mexico elections on July 1, 2018 face challenges. Just like the United States and the much publicized "fake news" phenomena, the issue is a global one and all countries are battling against disruptions in their systems whether from foreign governments, bots, or extremist rhetoric the battle is only beginning.

Slide from Latin America presentation by Le Black Room at Campaign Tech East 2018
Slide from Latin America presentation by Le Black Room at Campaign Tech East 2018

Returning from a political conference in Washington D.C. where "fake news" was a frequent discussion point, I came across America's Quarterly (free at the American Airlines lounge) and there was an interesting breakdown of the key players in the Mexico election.  Corruption, crime and of course the economy will make the battle on July 1, 2018 an interesting one.  And while the debate may rage on which direction the country should go, and each person has their opinion on which candidate would be the best, the even bigger challenge is to make sure that there is accurate information for the voters to make an informed decisions during the Mexico elections of 2018.

Political advertising itself runs a broad spectrum and each campaign will defend itself as well as work to shine a negative light on the shortcomings of the other candidates.  Now with the proliferation of fake accounts, bots, unscrupulous campaigns now even have more resources to proliferate false information so the challenge is even harder for finding accurate information.  So, what is  or can be done?

  • Don't just trust a headline or social media post.  The issues with social media are well documented
  • Traditional news sources (broadcast, print, and digital) have a code of journalistic ethics and years of experience.
  • Government voter pamphlets are a starting point for research on initiatives & candidates.
  • Fact checking organizations (again, worth reviewing process and who is supporting).  In the United States there are numerous, however in Latin America there are still some beyond the traditional media such as Verificado2018 / Verificado.MX (Mexico).

For the Mexico elections #Verificado2018 is supported by over 60 publications (from La Economista, Forbes, El Universal, Milenio, Televisa and more) and is non partisan.  While there is nothing that can replace reading and thinking about the information and sources, having these resources may help should you have questions about the information that you are seeing.

 

 


Workplace challenges for multicultural women

Throughout the world and especially in the United States there are times of the year that focus on the celebration of diversity.  The month of March is Women's History month and not only focuses attention on the achievements, but also brings to the forefront current issues regarding gender inequalities in the workplace and beyond.

One of the more interesting areas related to gender involve the influence of multicultural women and workplace diversity.  Globally, the acceptance and influence of women in the workplace is for the most part increasing.  In the U.S. the impact of women from multicultural segments (Latina, Asian, African American and others) is steadily increasing.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the increasing percentage of multicultural women in the workplace between 2014-2024 will continually increase: Black women (+11.3%) , Asian women (+24.3%), and Hispanic women (+30.3%) while that of White women will stay similar (-2.1%).

Multicultural women gaining in the workplace

While the increase in diversity and opportunities expand there are of course well known issues such as wages and underrepresentation in leadership roles that are challenges for all women, this is even more pronounced with the multicultural segments.  For example: according to the National Women's Law Center there is an even larger wage gap for women of color.   And as far as leadership positions are concerned women of color remain severely underrepresented as do women in general.  In the case of the low-wage workforce these groups are somewhat overrepresented making up almost half which also shows additional challenges.

Of course there are no short term solutions to the inequalities and challenges that exist, there is a benefit to paying attention to the contributions as well as the challenges that exist in the workplace and beyond.  Here are some other sources for additional information about Women's History month as well as our Diversity calendar for 2018 to learn more about times where there will be additional focus (and advertising) centered around diverse groups.

 


2018 Diversity Calendar of Events

The United States is rich with diversity and if there was any question, just have a look at the diversity of our celebrations. From Martin Luther King day in January, Black History month in February, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage month (May) to Hispanic Heritage month (September/October) to name just a few.

Have a look at the full break down from Diversity Best Practices and I'm sure you will find some that you weren't even aware of (ex. Krishna Janmashtami.....will let you find that one in the list).

Here are some key ones that should be on the minds of  multicultural marketers.

January

January 15: Martin Luther King Day commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for non-violent social change until his assassination in 1968.

February
February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada.

February 9-25 Olympics PyeongChang:  OK, not an officially on diversity calendars, but is a celebration of diversity in athletics, athletes and cultures.

February 16: Lunar New Year, one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration. Lunar New Year is also celebrated at this time in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia.

March
March is Women’s History Month.

May
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States.

June
June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

2018 World Cup June 14-July 15, 2018

July
2018 FIFA World Cup

September
From September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.

October
October 8: Indigenous Peoples / Columbus day.  Many cities in the U.S. have been stepping away from "Columbus day" in favor of "Indigenous People's day."  See some background here

November / December

Including the likes of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Years this period is key for marketers.  After all it seems that Toyotathon is almost a national holiday.