Part One: One Foot in Each Culture — Bilingual y Bicultural

January 8, 2014 | By: Joe.Ray | 2 min read

multiculturalismo3Hopefully by now it has become clear that efforts targeted toward the U.S. Hispanic audience should go beyond just taking English language ads and translating them into Spanish. It’s easy for Hispanic/Latino consumers to spot these ads. They usually drive little connection and are seen as stereotypical.

This means it’s obvious to spot who and what are real. As well as who isn’t.

US Hispanics are an important segment to focus on. Like other segments, you need to accurately focus your strategy towards them. Language is not a strategy. It’s a tactic, and not always an effective one.

The latest census numbers say a lot: a population of close to 55 million Latinos (17% of the U.S. Population) equals a trillion-dollar-plus market. You can’t overlook this.

From the C-suite down, brands are focusing strongly on Millennials. With this in mind, you should also be taking a look at how reach out and communicate with Latino Millennials. In addition to Millennials, two other Latino segments that should be considered are Latinas and Upscale Latinos.

Latino Millennials: Hecho en el USA

Think of Latino Millennials as cultural influencers who understand their clout as influencers. Their numbers and market value will continue to grow along with the trends they influence and continuously change, especially when you consider their innate use of technology. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 21 percent of all Millennials are Latino.

States with the most Latino Millennial penetration include:

  • California with 42% penetration
  • Texas with 40% penetration
  • Arizona with 36% penetration

65 percent of Latino Millennials are US born AND bilingual. This represents a 73 percent increase in bilingualism since 2003.1 English may be their primary language but they may be speaking Spanish at home. Their content and media consumption preferences will also vary.

So, are you speaking to them, or their parents?

All Latinos, regardless of what generation, are concerned about whether they’re portrayed in a good or bad light, or stereotyped in the media and advertising messages. Latino Millennials value and embrace their cultural identity. They speak English and aren’t giving up on Spanish. This is definitely something to consider, especially as their education and spending power increases.

Maybe it’s time to start thinking of Latino Millennials as bilinguals, as opposed to simply Millennials.


What’s Next? 

In my upcoming posts, I will cover Latinas and Upscale Latinos, but here’s a few snippets to consider in the meantime as you plan out your Hispanic Marketing for 2014:

  • 87% of Latinas refer to themselves as Latina AND Americanthey embrace both cultures.2
  • 74% of Latinas are under the age of 452
  • Among upscale Latinos, 75% are under age 45 and 60% live in the Southwest and Pacific regions of the US.3
  • Upscale Latinos represent 39% of the US white collar segment.4
  • The majority of Upscale Latinos speak some Spanish.5

What are the common factors here? US Hispanics/Latinos have one foot in each culture. They live in two worlds and for the most part utilize their bilingual abilities and tendencies. This influences their lives, media consumption and their spending power.

Next Up: Part 2: A look at today’s Latina.


Joe Ray is Vice President of Multicultural Strategy at LaneTerralever, a full service marketing, digital, and advertising agency with offices in Phoenix and Denver.His expertise includes connecting with Hispanic/Latino audiences through strategic and creative development of marketing messages, branding initiatives, and all forms of communication.Joe can be reached at



2.  State of Hispanic 2013 Population by Ethnicity, USA

3. Nielsen People Meter Universe Estimates, HOH Age, HH Size, Territory. P2 + Hispanic, Q4 2012

4. Nielsen People Meter Universe Estimates by Occupation, 2011-2012 Broadcast Season

5. Nielsen People Meter Universe Estimate by Language Dominance, Q4 2012, Persons 18+

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