Once again, the LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) National Conference proved to be one of the most vibrant and worthwhile Latino/a interest opportunities available. The three-day extravaganza hosted its 2012 version last month at the Hyatt Regency in Houston. I first attended the LATISM National Conference in Chicago last year at the famed Navy Pier conference center. This year, I had the privilege of being invited as a guest speaker in a panel discussion. Myself, along with Melissa Salas Blair, Claudia Deschamps, Olga Romero-Rios, and moderator Monica Vila, discussed various marketing communication insights on the panel entitled Understanding the New Hispanic Consumer. Our Friday morning panel was lively, well attended, and set the tone for what would be an exciting and invaluable second LATISM experience for me.
The discussion began with our formal introductions as panelists. Melissa Salas Blair of Puentes Research is a Houston based research professional with experience in bilingual quantitative data management. Claudia Deschamps, also from Houston, is the proprietor of Deschamps Communications and specializes in Hispanic marketing communications. Olga Romero-Rios, based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, has extensive experience in public relations and is the international communications spokesperson for Southwest Airlines.
After introductions, we delved into a presentation of recent statistics about Latino communities. Although many of these stats – most from the 2010 Census results – initiated quite a bit of buzz when they were released last year, our discussion quickly became more engaged as we spoke about the specifics of language, acculturation, age, and gender and how they affect the perspectives of consumers in the U.S. We all agreed that Spanish would continue to influence Hispanic marketing communications in the foreseeable future. Even among young English dominant Latino/a consumers, there is still an emotional connection with Spanish – especially in the consumption of media and entertainment. Many in the audience agreed.
I was particularly pleased that as panelists, we were able to take a deeper dive in our discussion beyond the typical reliance on demographics and buying power that seem to dominate many multicultural marketing discussions. We all understood that cultural relevance ultimately delivers the most value. Also, it was enlightening to find the members of our listening audience engage in participation during the discussion. If those in the room were any evidence of a good cross section of Latino/a branding professionals, I would conclude the Hispanic marketing profession is in solid shape. In the end, the panel discussion was a worthwhile experience and I hope to return again as a participant.
The remainder of the conference proved to be equally as valuable. Like last year, the words to best describe LATISM would have to be Latina strong. Media guru Nely Galan became the conference headliner, leading the second day through a self-empowerment multimedia extravaganza entitled The Adelante Movement. The Adelante Movement is Galan’s latest venture and national tour aimed at empowering Latina professionals. Joining her was award-winning author Sandra Cisneros (The House on Mango Street) and Count Me In president Nell Merlino. What was particularly impressive about the Nely Galan’s Adelante Movement presentation was not just that it was a highly entertaining and relevant workshop, but also that it was a value-driven brand experience. Galan knew her audience well and delivered.
Once again, there were many experiences way too numerous to mention in a single blog post. Some of my fellow attendees have also written about their experiences. I highly recommend patronizing their websites and blog pages and read about their respective views.
Laurita Tellado Calderon – LATISM ’12: El desvelo en Houston (Spanish and English)
Lorraine C. Ladish (Mamiverse) – LATISM ’12: An empowering social media experience
Here is a video segment about LATISM from the popular Univision news program Primer Impacto (Spanish).
Although the quality may be marginal, below is a video containing a portion of our panel discussion Understanding the New Hispanic Consumer.
For more about LATISM and its annual conference, please visit: http://conference.latism.org/