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Learnings in Targeting the Latino Community

Ben Rindels, senior copywriter | 

Learnings in Targeting the Latino Community


As marketers, what’s the most important thing we can do? Reach sales goals? Come up with the next big idea? Perhaps it’s simply having a purpose. Acting with intention. Solving real-world problems that add lasting value to people’s lives. As a purpose-driven agency of 45 years, the ways we choose to think and act through the lens of purpose are always evolving. That’s simply because the world is always changing. 

In recent years, DE+I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) has played a larger role in how we identify as purpose-driven. Internally, we are consistently challenging ourselves to cultivate a more inclusive and diverse environment. Externally, we strive to create work that is authentic, respectful, culturally inclusive, and relevant when targeted toward diverse audiences. We also understand that we do not have all the answers on how to do so. Not even close. That’s why we turn to outside experts and our knowledgeable partners for help. 

One such partner of Karsh Hagan's is Denise Soler Cox, an award-winning filmmaker who transforms how others think about culture, identity, and what it means to belong. Denise specializes in Latino culture, specifically first-generation Latinos — one of the largest and fastest-growing U.S. populations. 

This past May, we had the pleasure of hosting Denise for a multicultural workshop. Among the attendees were Karsh Hagan employees, as well as team members from three of our clients/partners: The Colorado Tourism Office, Visit Denver Tourism, and the YMCA of Metro Denver. During this workshop, Denise offered ourselves and our clients the ability to better understand the Latino market, to create work that’s authentic and respective of their culture. 

An Opportunity to Remember 

Throughout the workshop, Denise emphasized one strategic opportunity for us all to remember: understanding what the Latino community holds at the top of their value system. Above all, they value the collective. Their family. Their group. While lots of individuals tend to think, act, or make their purchasing decisions through the lens of self-reliance (which puts the individual at the center), the Latino community centers  the collective (the group) above all else. 

That means as marketers, we can best capture the ears of the Latino community through creative work that prioritizes the collective, as opposed to providing a benefit just for the individual. 

On the other hand, Denise also offered some helpful mistakes to avoid. 

Mistakes to Avoid, a) 

We all need to understand that Latinos are not a monolithic group or a race. Rather, they are an ethnicity with different groups in its diaspora including Afro Latinos, White Latinos, and Indigenous Latinos. 

Mistakes to Avoid, b) 

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what term to use. Latino? Latinx? Hispanic? Latin? Latine? According to Denise, we should all use the formal “Latino” as a general rule of thumb. Nonetheless, it’s important to ask what’s preferred by the person to whom we are speaking. 

Mistakes to Avoid, c) 

There are multiple intersections within the Latino community. When we pose the question “How can we reach the Latino market?”, it’s important to raise some qualifying thoughts. 

What generation of Latinos are we trying to reach? Immigrants? First-generation? Second-generation? What region are we considering? Northeast Latinos? Southwest Latinos? What about pronoun identification? Binary Latinos? Non-binary Latinos? Then there's language. Are we targeting Spanish speakers or English speakers? 

These are just some of the factors that need to be considered. Messaging must be treated differently for each intersection because these groups of people are all going to interpret a single message differently. As marketers, we always strive to be specific about who we are targeting, and the same must apply when targeting Latino communities. 

Growing As Partners, and As People 

At the end of the day, what have we at Karsh Hagan gained from our partnership with Denise? And from our the perspective of our clients, how do these learnings benefit them? While we still have much to learn and are committed to doing this, we now have a better understanding of how to target the Latino community in a way that’s authentic and respective to their identities. If a client’s business goal is to build trust and relationships with these communities, we can provide informed recommendations on how to speak to these communities with sensitivity, authority, and confidence. And thanks to our partnership with Denise, we can facilitate relationships between herself and any of our clients that see the value in holding a workshop of thier own. Because ultimately, understanding the cultural values of different populations simply makes us better people. And perhaps that’s value enough.

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Watch the Highlights from the Workshop


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