CEO and Founder, Center for Hispanic LeadershipFollow this author
The premise of Healthy Hispanic Living (HHL) is to serve as a platform to prepare U.S. leadership for the cultural demographic shift™. The goal is to develop a culturally-relevant content and communications platform to guide Hispanics to live healthier lives and also to pursue careers in healthcare. From family to physician and from research to cures, Hispanics need to play a more meaningful and purposeful role in the healthcare industry as well as other industries.
Batanga Media is the largest independent digital media and content company for the U.S. Hispanic market, Latin America and Brazil. They deliver display advertising, video and mobile solutions across their digital properties and to an extensive network of premium partners totaling more than 140M users every month. Their commitment is to make the digital ecosystem more valuable and entertaining for Hispanic communities around the world by providing them with content and applications that are relevant to their culture, language, and lifestyles.
The cultural demographic shift™ calls for changing business models, cultural competency and know-how, and a full-scale change management strategy that better prepares an organization to leverage the diversity of their workforce and consumer groups – and the previously unseen opportunities associated with them.
This is nothing short of a paradigm shift where it’s becoming less about the business defining the individual and more about the individual defining the business. At the same time, how do you bridge the cultural divide that continues to widen the longer we fail to seize our last real opportunity to grow and compete in the global economy?
In a social media and online world where content is king, a good place to start bridging this opportunity gap is through the content we create. Content must captivate and resonate with the cultural identity and consumption habits of today’s shifting demographics – especially Hispanics whose consumer purchasing power is estimated to reach $1.7 trillion by 2019.
With this in mind, Healthy Hispanic Living.com (HHL) was developed as an in-culture content marketing and career development platform with and for the Hispanic community. It’s based on extensive research, which shows that Hispanics – whether we speak in English or Spanish or both – all communicate and behave “in-culture.” HHL reflects cultural nuances in its content and design – and guides brands that support the platform to truly understand the power of cultural fluency to create meaningful engagement through intimate connections.
Rafael Urbina, CEO of Batanga Media, says that if brands can resonate with the cultural identity of the consumer, they can convert this into opportunities previously unseen. But first we must realize that 34% of Hispanics see themselves as more Latino than American, while only 17% see themselves as more American than Latino. No wonder that almost three-fourths (73%) of Hispanics like telling others about their culture.
As such, HHL is a platform where Hispanics can come together and share their stories and experiences. For example, Rafael says that one way Hispanic Millennials are re-acculturating is through food and recipes that allow them to recreate the tastes of their Hispanic heritage. At HHL, which focuses on preventive care and fitness, Hispanics share more nutritious versions of traditional dishes and other healthy eating habits to help combat the diabetes and obesity epidemic that is disproportionately affecting the community.
And that’s just one of many examples of the types of stories being told on HHL. In the new HHL Career Center, for example, Hispanic professionals and online mentors share their personal journeys and offer career advice to students and high-potential future leaders from the community.
By sharing experiences and proven best practices, we can authentically communicate and effectively collaborate to build strong ecosystems of intel and know-how to serve the cultural demographic shift. We can also educate and inspire Hispanic students and young Latino professionals to pursue STEM and other careers in the healthcare and biomedical fields, which is a focus of the HHL Career Center through features such as the online Mentor Program and interactive Training Center.
By becoming more culturally proficient, together we can take the lead in authentically engaging with today’s new workforce and consumers. But to be proactive, leaders must prepare themselves to incorporate a new layer of “change management” intelligence, as the cultural demographic shift represents a U.S. multicultural footprint expected to reach 54% of the population by 2050. Corporations must operationalize what it means to create and sustain a competitive advantage for their brands, employees and clients – or risk losing their performance impact, influence and momentum.
As such, cultural sensitivity is becoming a leadership and business imperative that can no longer be ignored. The important role that brands must play to change consumer behavior with a strong and focused content narrative cannot be underestimated. This means brands can’t just sell to underserved communities, they must start helping them to get healthier – so that they are able to achieve their best and contribute most effectively at their jobs, as consumers, and in society at large.
That’s why Population Health initiatives must be at the forefront of brand strategies and at the core of product value propositions for brands that seek to engage with multicultural consumers. These initiatives can help brands understand cultural nuances and motivations so that brands can play a more authentic role in guiding multicultural consumers toward health and well-being – and societal advancement.
In terms of how the content is delivered, says Rafael Urbina, second-generation Hispanics are more sensitive to how their ethnicity is portrayed. Only 26% feel that companies do a good job of speaking to their ethnicity. Hispanics that are English dominant, he continues, tend to perceive companies that market and advertise in Spanish positively for deeper emotional implications, such as “respect of my heritage” (29%) and “appreciation for my culture” (26%).
Furthermore, Batanga Media partnered with Nielsen to conduct a study that found that the desire for more Hispanic-specific content has grown since 2012, especially among younger Latinas. 73% of Latinas aged 18-34 agree that online lifestyle information that has a Latino perspective is more relevant to them and their life; 74% of Latinas aged 18-34 wish that there was more online lifestyle information written specifically for Latinas like them; and when it comes to Spanish-dominant Latinas 18-34, 81% agree with both statements above.
Based on this type of research, Healthy Hispanic Living supports those who are in a unique position to change the mindset that Latinos have towards preventive care and careers in healthcare, with appropriate language and in-culture content that enables them to create meaningful engagement through intimate connections and the power of cultural fluency.