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The 5th annual Hispanic Leadership Summit. Photo: Screenshot.
The 5th annual Hispanic Leadership Summit. Photo: Screenshot.

Striving to change the perception and narratives surrounding Latinos

When it comes to marketing, the Latino community is often portrayed in a narrow, often stereotypical, manner. It is time to change that.

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Latinos have a key role to play in shaping the narrative surrounding their own communities.

During the final day of the 2022 Hispanic Leadership Summit, a panel discussion took titled, “Hispanic Perceptions and Narratives,” and moderated by Gaby Natale. 

The triple Emmy-award-winning journalist, author, and President of AGANAR Media, made a poignant statement about the challenges that grow about not being accurately represented across different industries. 

Gaby Natale, President of AGANAR Media.
Gaby Natale, President of AGANAR Media.

“When we don’t see ourselves proportionately, or fairly represented, we realize early on that we have two choices moving forward,” said Natale.

The first choice is to embrace what she calls the “emulator mindset.”

“That is something that we're very familiar with, which is to look around, see how everyone else like me is doing, and then set my future goal based on someone else's past result,” she noted. 

While Natale added that there is nothing wrong with that mindset, she also said that the best-case scenario from that mindset is the status quo.

“The status quo is not enough, we crave more,” Natale said.

The second option is to embrace the pioneer mindset and spirit.

“It starts in the same way, to look around, see how everyone else is doing, but only this time, believing in your vision even before you have the results to validate it, opening ourselves up to the possibility of becoming a pioneer,” added Natale. 

No matter the environment of the individual, Natale believes that every time an individual chooses a pioneer mindset, “we move the world forward.”

The panelist consisted of Pedro Lerma, CEO of LERMA; Ariana Stolarz, managing director of growth and product innovation at Accenture; and Karen Vega, vice president of audience impact and intelligence at Paramount. 

The relevance of the Hispanic consumer market is apparent with more than $2.5 trillion in purchasing power

As someone who works in marketing, Vega often thinks about what this means from a creative marketing brand lens.

“We are leaving so much on the table in terms of creativity and the stories we need to tell as content creators,” she said.

“We need to look at who's out there creating and telling our stories, who's actually accurately portraying us? And some of these content creators need to need that support and us as brands can actually help surface the success of those content creators,” Vega continued.

Karen Vega, vice president of audience impact and intelligence at Paramount.
Karen Vega, vice president of audience impact and intelligence at Paramount. 

Vega wants to see Latinos present in all subject matters that impact them, and not just be portrayed in a select few. 

“We need to have more richness in the genres and the content of how we are portrayed,” added Vega. 

Given the influence of Latinos, Lerma highlighted that all brands should at the very least consider tapping into the Latino community.

Tracing back to the topic of narratives, Stolarz noted that they are usually very fragile. 

“There is nothing more profound than addressing people by their own persona,” she said. 

Ariana Stolarz, managing director of growth and product innovation at Accenture
Ariana Stolarz, managing director of growth and product innovation at Accenture

As a continuation of this point, she presented a call to action for marketers to put more dollars behind addressing Latinos individually, rather than as a monolithic group.

A key way to see this through is by more diverse creators across the Latino community. 

Vega mentioned the word “intersectionality.”

“I think the way to get to our minds and hearts… is leaning towards intersectionality,” she said. “We are craving for our stories to be told, for our lived experiences to be on the big screen and not be generalized.”

To this end, Lerma shared that “the opportunities that I see are really anything we want them to be.” 

“I think it is time that we as a community come out from the shadows of the other segments within the market,” he continued.

Pedro Lerma, CEO of LERMA.

He noted how the agency he currently works for used to be a division of a larger agency. However, it has since stepped away from that and become an independent agency. 

Using this as an example, he highlighted that it takes a change in mindset.  

Stereotypes have long existed; however, a change within the Latino community’s mindset can become a key catalyst for changing the narratives surrounding them. 

It can also be the catalyst for more Latinos to become a part of these discussions. 

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