Think of the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Hispanic or Latino. Do you picture a person? Food? Music? All of the above?Whatever it may be, it’s probably accurate. You probably thought of one thing that is Hispanic / Latino or maybe just someone Hispanic and not something inclusive of all Latinos. Although the majority of Hispanics are Latino, not all Latinos are Hispanic, and we come from many countries. That distinction between Hispanic and Latino helped to steer RPA’s efforts this year to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
To raise awareness of what it means to be Hispanic/ Latino, our theme was "Coming Together" to showcase our Hispanic/ Latino Associates uniting by celebrating and representing a variety of our cultures through music, food and programming.
We kicked off with our first event being a Happy Hour with food and flags from different Latin American countries that represent many of the families of RPA Associates. There was a diverse array of foods, including Brazilian,Cuban, Venezuelan, Mexican and Colombian cuisine. Our goal was to dispel the assumption that all Latin food is similar to Mexican food by showcasing a variety of Latin American foods.
We also wanted to bring attention to the impact the Hispanic/Latino audience has on advertising. We invited Eliana Murillo, founder of multicultural marketing at Google. She shared with us her passion for educating people on the diversity of Latinos and our contributions to this country. At Google, Eliana made sure her role as a multicultural expert was considered critical to the success of the marketing. She works with internal marketing teams to make sure what they’re marketing is culturally relevant and can reach diverse audiences because, as she said, being culturally relevant is more important than translating marketing.
After attending Eliana’s chat, I was inspired to research the contributions Latinos bring to our economy. There are nearly 60 million Hispanics in the U.S.—not including those who identify as non-Hispanic Latinos. So, the number is even larger. Frankly, we have a lot of power. According to a Nielsen report, “the Latinx population’s purchasing power is expected to top $1.9 trillion by 2023.” This reinforces the importance of being culturally relevant. Hispanic/ Latino consumers want to be represented and represented accurately. If we don’t have conversations or educate our colleagues or those around us on the depth of what it means to be Hispanic/Latino, we may not see accurate representations.
Not only do diversity and inclusion programs help those in our industry feel represented and a sense of belonging, but they educate everyone and that is an important first step. During her talk, Eliana encouraged: “instead of being frustrated, be strategic.” We have the power to increase awareness in order to see change.
I believe creating these events did help increase awareness. Alina Woo, digital strategy intern at RPA, said her takeaway from attending all the cultural events was learning about the enormous amount of depth,complexity and variety to Latino/Hispanic culture. “It's a region that's incredibly rich with history and every country's heritage is completely unique,”she said.
At RPA, we are driven by a mission to create ideas and experiences that put “People First” and in doing so, the purpose of our events was to not only to bring people together, but to donate to a local charity. Our fundraising dollars went towards the United LatinX Fund LA (ULF)—a prominent philanthropic organization in the Los Angeles area and one among a few Latinx-specific funds throughout the United States.We’re proud to have raised $1,782.73.