My wife and I took a vacation to the beautiful Canadian city of Toronto recently. We found that Toronto boasts having some of the finest collections of Inuit art and sculpture. The Inuit, who represent the indigenous populations of northern Canada, have maintained many of their traditions and customs for generations. Inspired, I couldn’t help think about similarities with the indigenous populations from Latin America. Like the Inuit, these populations have had a significant impact on the culture and customs of Latinos. As marketers, when we seek to connect with Latino populations, we should consider the values and beliefs held by the indigenous and understand their perseverance in Latin American culture.
When we think of Latinos, many may be prone to assume these individuals exist within the same vein of ethnicity and culture. The truth is most Latinos consist a mixture many backgrounds that include African, Spanish European, and indigenous populations that are native to the American continents. Like many indigenous populations, those from Latin America have held beliefs and values for thousands of years. Despite the fact that many indigenous customs were practically erased during the colonization of the Americas, several aspects did manage to survive.
When I lived in Mexico, I had the privilege of gaining an intimate understanding of the immense pride Latinos have in their land and regions. Here in the U.S., we have our ideals that drive our pride. In Latin American countries, where generations of families have literally had a connection to the land for thousands of years, people have an unconditional love for their nations that extends beyond patriotism. This is a unique cultural experience and one that is indicative of indigenous attitudes and values.
What does this means for marketers? An empathetic understanding the indigenous perspective can provide valuable insights when connecting to Latinos. In the U.S., a unique challenge in marketing to Latinos is how to deliver brand value in a contemporary society for communities that maintain time-honored traditions. Certainly there are other perspectives to be aware of also, such as the Spanish and African I mentioned above. The sum of these different cultures make up various layers of the Latino experience, with the indigenous providing the core. I would encourage marketers to have a well-rounded understanding of indigenous Latin America. One resource, the non-profit organization Native Planet, provides a comprehensive database of indigenous communities around the world. ¡Buen viaje!